Lame chicken that isn't improving after 2 months

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by freedak, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. freedak

    freedak New Egg

    Jun 10, 2011
    Okay, I'm a total newbie here, but I wanted to get this question out as quickly as I could. I wish I would have done more research on whatever this is a while ago, but we discovered the sick chicken the same day I came home from the hospital after a c-section. Needless to say, figuring out what to do about Big Red was not at the top of my priority list. So here's the deal:

    1) What type of bird , age and weight.

    Rhode Island Red, almost 3 years old. Not sure of weight...just average RIR weight!

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.

    Big Red has been completely lame for the past two months. Her legs just aren't supporting her. She can take a few steps, so she's definitely not paralyzed. She just stays collapsed on her belly all the time and can only take a few steps at a time. She can't step over anything, though.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

    Almost 2 months exactly.

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?


    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    No, everything looks totally normal (with the exception of her poor belly which has become raw and swollen from being on the ground all the time [​IMG] ) No swelling, cuts, splinters, or anything.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.

    No freaking clue!

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

    Eating and drinking normally. She just eats the layer crumble from Southern States.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    Totally normal. Maybe a tad runny, but not too far from normal.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    Umm...not much. We separated her from the flock immediately and put her in a dog crate near the other chickens. That's it. Oh, I also added a bit of vinegar to her water a few times.

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?

    I would prefer to treat on my own since it seems to be IMPOSSIBLE to find a vet to treat chickens out here. I tried finding one when I had a chicken that I thought was egg bound, but no one could help me. I eventually talked to a vet long distance, and he was pretty helpful. Problem with that chicken disappeared when she got picked up by a hawk [​IMG]

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    I sent my niece out with my iPhone while I was nursing my baby. I'll try to get a better picture tomorrow if need be.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use

    She usually hangs with the rest of the chickens in the mobile coop. It's a small coop with pine shavings as bedding and a large run enclosed by chicken wire. There are a couple of wooden roosts. I isolated her in a metal dog crate and left the bottom open so she could still graze on grass and bugs. That's all she has right now. I covered the top with the tray from the bottom to give her shade.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I am no expert on these things. However Mareks disease can cause severe leg weakness and eventually paralysis. There are several other symptoms but they may not always show. She is older than the average chicken that tends to contract Mareks, however again, I don't know too much about poultry diseases. I am going to give you a link to common poultry diseases and maybe you can put all this together. I am so sorry about your hen. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011

    LOVEIGEE Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2010
    Hey Freedak,
    I'm dealing with the same thing. Cuddles will be a year old next month. At first she started limping and then squatted. We have her in the basement in a dog crate. I have been giving her vitamin B complex powder on her food and vitamin E with a little selenium. I read it in a post here.....she is at least standing on her on and taking steps, but I swear it's like it's neurological with Cuddles....I have no idea what happened.......Congratulation on the new baby.........Hope this helps a little.........They are so strong.....Cuddles is trying so hard to be a normal chicken......I just hate it.....
  4. Chicken Chickita

    Chicken Chickita Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2010
    Middleboro, MA
    It could also be a genetic problem. For example, there is a recessive gene problems that affects the ligaments. I have a 2-year old polish hen that I adopted from a woman who couldn't keep a "special needs" chicken. She lives in my bedroom in a cat box and can't be around the other chickens. I totally dote on her and she's a great pet, but demands lots of attention. (I'm on my way upstairs now to sit her on my lap and watch NCIS while feeding her treats.) I took her to a vet once who confirmed that she had this genetic problem with ligaments. My hen, Clover, isn't in any pain and leads a happy life, but mostly because she is not with other chickens and I spend a lot of time with her. From what I understand, the disorder shows up a few months after birth and will not improve. Your chicken may have something else, but I thought I'd let you know about mine. Clover is my favorite pet chicken even though she can't walk. Good luck to you and your chicken!
  5. Chicken Chickita

    Chicken Chickita Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2010
    Middleboro, MA
    Also, regarding the vet, it can be hard to find one. If you lived in New England I could point you to one. I took mine to a vet at a wildlife animal rescue. Such places tend to treat a lot of ducks and geese that get hurt during their migration. They are qualified to treat chickens. Also, large animal vets that treat horses will sometimes treat chickens if they are used to doing so on other farms.

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