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Limping Hen/ Dead Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mathiasc, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. mathiasc

    mathiasc New Egg

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    I have 3 hens (all of them 2 years old) and one of the hens I noticed started limping for more than a day now. I'm especially concerned because we had lost our 4th hen about a month-ish ago, and that hen started off limping as well. The currently limping hen has always been healthy, and never been around the hen that was starting to die. Oddly, she never lays any eggs, but we've never seen any signs of her health degrading.

    On top of that, I'd like to know what happened to the 4th hen.. I never knew what had happened to her. As stated, she started off limping and that happened for about 2 weeks. I didn't see any signs of bumble foot. She only laid one tiny egg in the span of her sickness and never laid again. We gave her baths, cleaned her up and gave her her own space to live (separated her after she got bullied and pecked at a lot. at one point her head was bleeding). But, it didn't seem to effect her condition. In that time span, I believe she lost her eye sight. She didn't know where she would walk, and didn't know where to peck at to eat her food unless she was pointed into the right direction. I also noticed that she had erratic head movements from time to time. It was like a girl giving me sass with that neck movement... except this involved violent up-down-side-side and circle like twirls. Then after a full month, her health plummeted, she stood in one spot all day... white insects (perhaps lice) and tiny ticks grew on her. In her last week, her head movements became body spasms. At that point we didn't know what else we could do. So we hid her from the other three.

    I live in the suburbs, my neighbours think I'm crazy. We made the shed their home, and half of the backyard as their place to roam. They've all been healthy and never had any signs of health degradation until the recent death of the 4th hen. I would like to know what happened to the 4th hen, and if anyone has any idea why my hen is currently limping?

    thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Since your hen that died was covered in lice, the first thing I would do is check the rest of the girls for lice. If you find lice you must treat them immediately with Poultry dusteor Sevin garden dust. Lice can kill your chickens.

    Have you wormed your chickens?

    I have no idea why your hens are limping. But using some preventive methods to help them be healthy may help us figure out what is causing the limping.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
  3. mathiasc

    mathiasc New Egg

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    As of now, I haven't found any lice on the rest of them.

    No. I've researched worming methods/ products.. and I've found quite a few. Products like Flubenvet, diatom for feed, crushed garlic but I've never done anything like this before. Do you have a preferred method in worming chickens?

    This is the rundown of everything I do with the hens. I've always kept the coop as clean as possible. Same goes for the places where the hens like to lie around and lay their eggs. The area in which they roam is a bit messy at times when the hens start throwing food around and dig up dirt. We feed them bird feed, lettuce, corn, watermelon, dig up worms for them to eat and in rare occasions ham (pork). We've had some rainfall for the past month and they usually fill up the holes and become mini puddles which last for a day or two, which could be a health issue, but I've never given it much thought until now. Every now and then the area gets fly infested from area in which the roam, most likely from the feces, but it is cleaned away by rainfall or manually removing the dirt. I check their feet often to see if their bumble foot, and they don't have it. That is basically what I can think of..
     
  4. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you read up on Marek's disease? Some of the symptoms you described sound like Marek's. BYC has a very good FAQ page on it. Never had to deal with the lice issue. I would think that if she had lice that bad, the others have it too. With the mention of all the flies, are you sure they were not maggots? Maggots will eat a chicken alive.
     
  5. mathiasc

    mathiasc New Egg

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    Now that you mentioned it, all of the symptoms of Marek's disease relates to the one that died a month ago. It loss a lot of weight, vision was lost, pupils looked massive, skin and feathers were all very rough and it was very stationary for the most part. However, it still doesn't explain why my hen had extremely violent spasms. I would guess that it was desperate to get those ticks/ lice off. The others were mobile enough to take dust baths, and I'm not sure if lice would easily be effecting them, but for insurance, I will examine them closely. I'm certain that there were no maggots, I've never spotted them anywhere near the coop or where the hens chill.

    Thanks for the heads up and info.

    also, is Marek's disease contagious?
     
  6. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, Unfortunately it is. It is spread through feather dander. Also, the spasms you mentioned could have been from Marek's attacking the nervous system which it sometimes does. I don't have a lot of experience with it, but I am pretty sure I have lost a few chickens from Marek's. I had a speckled Sussex hen last year that I had only had for 2months. She developed a blue eye, then within a week she had a dropped wing. I isolated her & thought that after a couple weeks of antibiotic she was better. After letting her out to free range one day, she had a seizure. She never recovered. I did not get a necropsy, which is the only way we would know for sure. But her blue eye and dropped wing never went away. I also bought 2 more Speckled Sussex from another feed store this past spring. I don't know what they died of, but one day they acted like they couldn't see their food. I only had them a couple of months in the garage in a brooder box. I don't sell my chickens, we just breed them for eggs and meat, so I basically have a closed flock.

    What breed was your chicken? Speckled Sussex is well known for getting it. Even if chicks are vaccinated, they can still get it.
     

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