Limping chicken - Suggestions please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chicknmom, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. chicknmom

    chicknmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all. I am a relatively new (under 1 year) chicken mom to 21 layers. I adore my 'chickie babes' and love the treasure they give me every day. I've enjoyed it so much that I have started my second batch of chicks and the whole flock is doing well. Sort of...

    One of my Welsummers (about 10 months old) suddently started limping about a week ago. I have been keeping an eye on her. I inspected the foot, leg, hip for any sign of visible trauma, but couldn't see anything unusual. No sign of bumblefoot that I could see. She didn't signal any distress or discomfort as I examined her, so no clues their either. She still makes it onto the roost in the coop at night, and comes running (hopping/hobbling! :)) when I come near.

    I have allowed her to stay free roaming with the rest of the flock, because she doesn't seem to be being picked on, and she is hobbling around and eating and drinking and scratching okay, although I do see her going off alone sometimes and sitting quietly by herself. Her feathers still look great, she doesn't seem to be losing weight, her eyes look okay.

    I have spent about 6 hours reading a zillion posts on BYC and all over the internet, and I am still not sure what course of action to take. In fact, I feel more confused than ever. Should I give her aspirin and watch for any change in behavior / should I isolate her and keep her warm and spoiled / should I wait longer and just keep monitoring things / should I try to bandage or splint her leg / should I treat her with antibiotics or something just in case .......? I am worried about her suffering, and I don't want contagious issues to spread to my other chickens, yet I also don't want to put her to sleep (I know I'm going to have to face that one day, but it is a dreaded part of owning chickens for me). I am not keen to use meds for no good reason.

    There is an avian vet not too far away from me, who will be open on Monday, but it will be a major struggle to pay the fees, so I have not yet made an appointment.

    Can I immobilize the whole leg from hip to foot with a splint for a couple of days? Would that be a good idea? And where can I find specifics on how to do something like that?

    I can post a video if that would help, but really, she just looks like she is limping when she walks, and when she is stationary, her problem leg is held lightly and off the ground.

    Suggestions, opinions, please??? Thank you!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    It's unlikely to be anything contagious, unless she has Marek's, and if that were the case, you should be seeing illness in a lot more than one. Probably the most likely cause is an injury of some sort. Perhaps she got the leg caught somehow and it is a sprain or strain, perhaps it was injured in a squabble, etc. Personally, as long as she is dong well with the flock, I would leave her alone. You could isolate her for a few days to let her rest the injury, if that's what it is if you want. I wouldn't try to splint it unless I were certain there was a fracture. Aspirin is OK; the dose is in a sticky in the Emergencies forum.

    Most people here do not use vets for their chickens. We support each other and do the best we can. That's always a personal choice, of course, but you certainly wouldn't be alone, or even in the minority, if you chose not to.
     
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  3. chicknmom

    chicknmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My sweet chicken is still the same - she's now been limping, or even hopping occasionally, for > 2weeks.
    I've bathed and re-examined her super-carefully, and can still see no visible clues. She can only scratch a little, with her beak, because she has to stand on the one leg that is working! She is still eating, but I'm not sure how well. I brought her inside for a cpl of nights, but let her be with the flock during the day. No change.
    It has been very cold here - down to 17 degrees F during the day. I worry about her only having one leg to stand on, because she can't switch feet when one gets too cold. But she insists (they all do) on being out and away from their warmer coop! And she still goes off alone and sits in a fluffed up huddle quite a lot of the time.

    So - continue watchful waiting / alter my care in some way? What do you think?

    Thx!
     
  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd continue watchiing her and making sure that she's getting enough to eat and drink and that the other birds aren't picking on her. If she seems to be getting worse, you might want to isolate her in a small crate so that she can't move around a lot and injure the leg. I'm not sure exactly what is wrong with her leg-- it could be a sprain/strain, or possibly Marek's Disease. If its a strain or sprain, rest should help. Leg injuries sometimes get worse if the bird uses them a lot. I'd start giving her some vitamins, as vitamins can help with leg injuries and leg problems. Check her for lice and mites every few days. Chickens that can't scratch themselves very well or have leg problems are often more susceptible to parasite infestations.

    Good luck with your bird! I hope she gets better.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. chicknmom

    chicknmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To my immense relief, my limping girl seems to be slowly mending! Woo hoo!
    Thanks for the support along the way. :)
     

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