Limping chicken now can't walk at all:(

Henny Many

9 Years
Oct 17, 2010
Hi all,

I have a 7 month old hen who started limping about a week and half ago. She wouldn't put weight on her left leg and hopped around. She was still willing to walk to forage out in the yard. The hens have been roosting on the open top of the coop and we thought maybe she hurt a leg flying down from there. We couldn't feel anything broken or see any obvious swelling. I called my vet and he said if it was soft tissue damage, it could take several weeks to heal, so we were giving her time. She didn't seem to be getting better, but wasn't getting worse either.

This morning, she can't walk at all. She seems like she's not wanting to put weight on either foot, but is using her left wing (the side originally hurt) to hold herself up when she does scoot some. She is alert and up to until today she has been eating. Her bottom is a little wet, but not gooey-icky and it seems the right color (no blood). She fussed a little when I felt her underbelly, but didn't flinch when I stretched her leg of felt it. We've put her into a dog air-kennel to restrict her movement for now.

Any ideas would be welcome. I don't know what to do to help her!!
Check the bottom of her feet for bumblefoot. It will look like a dark in color round scab on her footpads or toes. If it is reddish looking or swollen, minor surgery will be required to remove the infected bumble.
However, I agree with you and your vet's assessments. It sounds like she jumped down from a high place and sprained a ligament or tendon. You did the right thing by putting her in the dog kennel. Make sure she has feed and freshwater at all times. The best thing for her is total rest and relaxation so that her injured leg will heal. If she's out walking around on it, she might injure it more severely. The vet is correct...these injuries take time to heal. I've had them heal in a week or two, I had one that never healed on a Black Star. After 2 months in the hospital cage I let her out with the others, big mistake, she was immediately attacked. I removed her and put her in a smaller pen and she was as happy as could be hobbling around on one leg. She laid eggs almost daily too.
You can go to any pharmacy and purchase vitamin B complex tablets. Crush one or two of them into a fine powder and sprinkle in on her feed. Do this for about a week, then see if there's any improvement...if not, continue for another week, then stop after the second week. Also, to help avoid stress, you can provide her with scrambled egg (extra protein) mixed with buttermilk (probiotic.) This will help her immune system stay strong. Do this for about 3 or 4 days if you wish. Good luck.
I'm sorry t say that I am experiencing the exact same thing with my hen right now. Up until yesterday, day 12, she was doing fine but today she is really lethargic and not doing much. I have her outside in a sling right now but I have a feeling she is on her way out
Thanks for the replies:) We looked at her foot and didn't see any symptoms of bumblefoot last week.

Do you think this could be Marek's?? I was reading on the forum this morning and several people had a hen that started limping and ended up with full neurological symptoms.
If she injured herself, pain relief will help. Aspirin water: one baby aspirin (81 mg) crushed per cup of drinking water, fresh batch at least daily. To get her started on it, cut up into bits her favorite fruit and dunk in the aspirin water and hand feed the fruit - this may start to take the edge off the pain and enable her to want to drink and eat more.

Set her up so she can't jump up to or or down from things - this may mean she needs to be in a large dog carrier with all her creature comforts (as it sounds like you have already done), ideally near her buddies to keep her happy.

It may take several days to a couple weeks to see notable improvement.

chickschool, start a thread about your bird if you haven't already, also in the Emergencies section and with as much detail as you can think of - sounds much more serious than a strain or sprain injury.


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