Limping chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RoseCassFarm, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. RoseCassFarm

    RoseCassFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all!

    I have five hens. They're nine months old. Three Easter Eggers and two Buff Orpingtons. Yesterday was our first snow storm of the season. No one was brave enough to venture outside -- only two of the girls stepped out onto the ramp to check it out -- Nugget and Lucy (super original names, I know, lmao). They quickly went back in. They spent the day in their coop (with the door open to let them out if they wanted to go); once in a while I'd see Nugget standing on the ramp, but that was it.

    This morning when I let them out, Nugget wasn't the first one out the door, which is odd since she's a bit of a brute and loves to be the one standing there to greet me. Oddly, the three more timid of the bunch were the first ones out and my two toughies -- Nugget and Ethel -- were still inside. Ethel came out and Nugget still wasn't hurrying.

    When she finally stepped onto the ramp, she was crouching low on the ramp. I thought she was wary of slipping because it was a little icy. She sort of slid/flew down to the ground. I was ready to lock up the door when I noticed that she was standing with her tail feathers tipped down and poop on her back. Especially strange for this girl. She's also usually the one knocking her sisters out of the way for a taste of whatever it is she thinks they have, but this morning, she was still. I watched for a minute and when she started walking, I noticed she was limping.

    Right now she's in the house (in my shower on a towel, actually, lol; I have two little ones who needed breakfast so she's in the bathroom next to the kitchen, relaxing; lmao). I quickly felt her legs and nothing seems to be broken or anything like that. She didn't try to peck me when I touched her, which I take as a good sign (I'm a newbie to chickens but previously had guinea pigs and a bunny, all of which eventually had injuries I needed to look at and all of which were not pleased to have me poking around, resulting in some nips).

    I gave her some banana and sunflower seeds and she gobbled them up like the little piggy she is -- another good sign, I would assume? An eating animal is usually an otherwise healthy animal, right?

    So now the questions are -- what caused this? how do I fix it? and, of course, what is the best method for getting poop off of her back? lol

    My two main guesses are that when I wasn't paying attention, she went outside yesterday and slipped on the icy ramp; or she jumped off of the roost and hurt herself. She's always the rambunctious of the pack, so I also wouldn't put it past her to have spent the day yesterday flipping out in the coop, trying to stick her nose into her sisters' business, and managing to whack her leg on the cinder blocks where their food and water are.

    I've got a few questions floating around out there on the boards that I've yet to respond to, so please bear with me if I don't reply right away -- with a one year old and five year old at home, I'm often more flighty than my hens are (cue the rimshot, lmao). Still, I greatly appreciate any advice you can give. Thank you in advance!!!


    Okay I need to add -- I went in to check on her and noticed her eyes are going back and forth from dilated to not -- is this normal?? I've never really noticed before.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Fpr the poop, just give her a bath. Warm lightly soapy water in a basin. Usually they relax, once they get used to the idea.

    For mysterious leg injuries, usually the way to go is just have them rest it for ast least a few days, in the hope it will resolve with reduced exertion, resting the muscle or tendon or whatever. A shower stall is as good a place as any. Obviously, a chicken isn't likely to rest much unless she is confined.

    They can get unusual pupil changes and leg problems with Marek's, but I have absolutely no idea whether this is what she has. Perhaps you will want to read up; this is a good writeup on it:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
     
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    She probably injured the leg, this is not uncommon among chickens (right now, I have a bird with the same problem). As long as it is treated soon, it should heal fine. The best cure for leg injuries is rest in a warm, well-bedded cage, vitamins, and other supportive care. Don't let her roost or jump around too much, as that could re-injure the leg. But don't keep her from not moving at all--the leg needs some exercise eat day to prevent its muscles from deteriorating.

    There is a possibility that her limping is not because of an injury, but instead is because of something like Marek's disease. In that case, there isn't any real treatment, though you could try giving her some St. John's Wort/Hypericum, and see if that helps. (here is a thread on that: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/135247/st-johns-wort) Do you know if she was vaccinated as a chick for Marek's?

    As for cleaning her, you could try spot-cleaning the dirt with a wet rag and some warm water. If that fails, though, the best thing to do is to give her a bath. Make sure the bath water is warm, but not too hot (90-95 degrees F. is a good temp). Just use some mild shampoo (human, dog, or other animal) and massage the water into her feathers. After the washing, if you want, you can blow dry her, but she'll dry fine on her own, too.
     
  4. lbrykowski2011

    lbrykowski2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just read on another post, sometimes they start limping if their beginning to get frostbite also.
     
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, that too.
     
  6. lbrykowski2011

    lbrykowski2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's been in low 20's and teens here and my 9 chickens have been fine, but might drop below 0 tonite, so debating on putting vaseline on them tonite or not. So I was just reading up on frostbite and it did say to watch for limping. I think I will to be on safe side.
     
  7. RoseCassFarm

    RoseCassFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, so I double checked and she was vaccinated for Mareks as a chick, but does that mean she definitely can't get it, or she's just less likely to get it?

    I tried to examine her legs, which wasn't super easy to do since I really don't know what I should or shouldn't be feeling, but it feels like her joint is a little swollen. What, if anything, can I do for that? Do I wrap it for support or just leave it alone? I've read that infant vitamin drops are good -- anything else? I was at petco last night for our cat and glanced in the bird aisle just to see what sorts of vitamins they have on hand but I didn't know if any of those would be safe and/or helpful for a chicken. The only feed store around here that I know of is Agway and I haven't seen any vitamins for them there recently.

    Random note -- I noticed this morning that my sweetheart hen, Jojo, (my other Buff Orp) is being quite the toughie all of a sudden -- she pecked me hard enough to break skin yesterday morning when I took her sister away, and today gave me another good nip when I let them out -- can a pecking order shift that quickly or is she just in a mood? lol
     
  8. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Vaccination will usually prevent a chicken from actively developing Marek's (they may become infected/become carriers, but will not actually become sick), but about 5-10% of vaccinated birds will still show symptoms of the disease. As for your hen's leg, the swelling could be a sign of injury or frostbite. You could wrap it if you want, but rest is really the best cure for an injured leg. Vitamins are good, too. Polyvisol infant vitamins can be used at a dosage of 1-2 drops/day, or you could use poultry vitamins, like Sav-a-Chic.
     
  9. RoseCassFarm

    RoseCassFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I've just noticed that she's started panting, which I'm assuming is from pain. She's really not trying to walk now and really doesn't want to put any weight on that leg (though she CAN, she just doesn't want to try). Can I give her anything for the pain or is it best to stick with a warm bath and rest? She's still eating and drinking. Her comb is super red, if that's a telling sign of anything?
     
  10. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She probably injured her leg,try epsom salt soak,great for sprains/sore muscles. Panting could be from pain or she may be too warm in house,for pain you can give her a baby aspirin(81mg)or a reg(325mg)aspirin,dose is 25mg per lb of body weight,crush and place in water or sprinkle over feed.

    In answer to your question about pecking order,yes it can change very fast,head hen is not around so the position is open for someone else to fill.
     

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