Lame Hen


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 24, 2010
Hello everyone, first I want to say I love the new look. Will take some getting used to but I welcome the change. So, I have a hen that has been lame for quite a while. She had started limping and I thought she hurt herself. Looked her over and don't see anything really wrong. Her leg was just being held up. Now she has just been hopping along on one foot! It appears her other is just getting useless. I was hoping it would get better but just did not. She hops around quite well. I have not been letting her free range because I am afraid she is going to get hurt and can't really protect herself. So, she stays in the run. I just keep looking at her and wondering what to do. She is not quite a year old yet and so young. Can she live like this? Is there something else I can do? If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. Thanks.
Lameness is common in chickens and there are a lot of reasons. But she should be resting it. If you have a pen that is smaller with no perch, but where she can still see/ hear the others, that is best. You don't want her jumping on and off a perch, or moving around a lot.
Are her legs normal looking, does she have any sign of scales? Can you feel the leg and foot and see if you can find any sign of heat or tenderness? Feel both legs and feet from hip to toes and see if they feel the same. If she does have scales on her legs, that is scaly leg mites and that would be what is causing the lameness. Most likely she just pulled something and she will just have to rest it and it takes a long time. could also be a dislocated hip, if you have a rooster; some roosters are too rough on the hens and can cause this.
Thanks for the info on lameness.
I have a wonderful little Rhode Island Red layer named Gertie who was really getting hounded by her boyfriends. 2 roosters, maybe one too many but I haven't crossed over to the cull side. Maybe the other hens were jealous, because they also picked on her.
Her back was really bald, so we got her a hen saddle. Great produict. The feathers were coming back but then we noticed she was hiding out a lot. Very skittish. Figured it was just fear of the boys.
Then she went lame. Poor Gertie. It must have been progressive. Could even be Marek's... Fatal and contagious. But I cannot just kill her on suspicion.
Not knowing the cause, I decided to isolate her and add tetracycline and aspirin to her water. It could be staph infection, it could be a tumor, it could be a pulled muscle, arthritis? or bad hip. No way to know! Shotgun approach. It seemed that only one leg was affected.
I was afraid she would die on me, but she had good appetite! So I hand-fed her some organic bread soaked in the medicated water four times a day. She gobbled it down.
But the lameness was not improving and she was thrashing around in her box unable to feed herself.
I decided to try putting her in a body sling with an overhead runner. I wanted her to be protected from the flock, but able to see them and cluck back and forth. So I built a wood and chicken-wire rehab hotel for little Gertie and got her supported from above. I just used a stretchy cotton shirt cut into an X for the body-sling.
Wow, now she can feed herself and drink fluids! Hopefully, being able to stand up and hobble around (well actually in a straight line) will allow her to feel more like a chicken and want to get better.
Try some vit E and vit B, I used this on a chicken with similar problems, she started a little lame and got worse until she could hardly stand, after a week in a cage on her own resting as I assumed she had pulled something there was no change, found info on this site, I gave a crushed vit B tablet every day and the oil from a vit E capsule every other day, don't think it was a coinsidence that after a couple of days she got better and better, she is the healthiest looking hen of all now!!
Wow how caring are you thankyou so much i will follow your advisr and pray my girl will recover soon

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