Limping hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tobit, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. tobit

    tobit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My cream legbar pullet started limping this morning. She seems healthy apart from limping and preferring not to walk. As far as I can tell she has no bumble foot, and when I feel higher up on her leg she doesn't react (which you might expect if she had swelling or a fracture etc). Any ideas what might be wrong with her?
     
  2. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lameness can be a sign of a number of diseases like Mycoplasma synoviae, Tenosynovitis, or Mareks. Or it could be a sprain or strain. Could she have hurt herself jumping off of something? I have a hen going through the same thing. I think my girl hurt herself jumping off the high roosts I had. So I lowered them. Watch for any other symptoms to develop. Hopefully she will heal up in a few weeks.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Sometimes leg injuries occur when a hen is trying to get on and off a roosting perch. You'll see signs of bruising on the shanks that look like green or blackish patches. This can be painful.

    Baby aspirin can help alleviate the pain and it should solve the limping.

    If the leg bone is fractured, though, it will probably keep getting worse.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi. How old is she and was she vaccinated for Marek's Disease when she hatched? Marek's is an extremely common virus in chickens which often shows initially as lameness or wing paralysis. It is a herpes type virus and outbreaks are often triggered by stress.... at this time of year it can be persistent attention from a rooster or just the hormone changes as they come into lay. It affects mostly birds under a year old. There are many other symptoms and some chickens die suddenly and without showing any real sign of illness, whilst others start with asymmetric paralysis of limbs or neck. Keeping them calm, happy, well fed and stress free is the best treatment in my experience.... as there is currently no accepted medical treatment. The bird may improve or even completely recover, but may succumb to a second or even third attack. It is a heart breaking disease and some forms are much more virulent than others. Thankfully my flock has a less aggressive strain but I have still lost a few birds to it..

    Other possibilities are vitamin deficiency and it certainly can't do any harm to give her a vitamin supplement.

    Good luck with her and the rest of your flock.
     
  5. tobit

    tobit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm, would the symptoms for these diseases be lameness in one or both legs? Well our roosts are roughly 5 feet off the ground, would that be high enough to injure herself when jumping down in the morning?
    She hatched on the 4th july, so she is exactly 6 months old today! no she wasn't vaccinated - I hatched her out at home, I'm not familiar with marek's disease, how is it transmitted? Hmm she isn't particularly stressed, although we do have a cockerel (also 6 months old) with her and 3 other hens so maybe he is causing her stress due to overmating (she hasn't started laying, but I've seen her be mated several times)? I'm not sure where you are situated, but it is the "middle of winter" (very mild right now at 10 degrees centigrate) here, so I wouldn't expect any hens to come into lay? Okay thank you ever so much for the general information on marek's! I guess I will just have to monitor her condition. So if I understood correctly, there are no treatments available even if she had mareks, correct? If it is marek's, would the rest of my flock also have it?
     
  6. tobit

    tobit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I couldn't see any bruising/dark patches on her shanks[​IMG]
     
  7. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roost was 5 feet high. My hen that is limping is a newly acquired brahma. She's much larger than my other chickens and she lands very heavily when she jumps off of something. I lowered the roost to about 14 inches off the floor for her. She may be slowly improving. But I'm still not certain what is the cause of her lameness.

    Here are a couple of article for you on diseases:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/poultry-diseases-1

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

    tobit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm my CL is fairly small for a large fowl (and a decently good flyer) so I would be surprised if she had injured herself coming off the roost - we've had chicken for 10 years in this coop with this roost and not had any problems (with birds that were her weight/slightly heavier). Thanks for the links I'll have a look!
     
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi

    I'm in the north east of England so experiencing the same weather conditions.... mild and wet.... yuk!

    Marek's is spread via dander dust from an infected bird which is then inhaled by other birds. It can be carried on the wind, on birds feathers, on your clothing, shoes and hair. Possibly even as simply as picking up a bag of feed at the feed store that someone else, whose flock has Marek's, has brushed against..... it can be pretty much everywhere. A bit like cold sores with people, birds can be infected and appear perfectly healthy but are carriers for life and shed the virus when they have an outbreak. If however, you have added new birds in the past few months, they are the most likely source.

    6 months is a prime time for it to exhibit especially at this time of year and adolescent cockerels have almost certainly been a significant factor triggering outbreaks in my flock.

    Mine started with a lame pullet and I too assumed she had injured herself as I have very high roosts, but a few days later I had two more lame. Some got better pretty quickly (a matter of days) and a percentage of those had secondary attacks up to a year later. Others deteriorated and had to be culled. I also had some young birds which died unexpectedly without lameness which I now suspect were also Marek's.... perhaps visceral tumours that caused heart attack. When I have time. I now do post mortem exams on the ones that die as it helps me understand the disease and how best to deal with it's vicitms.... I feel better when I have culled a bird and then find huge tumours inside it....it kind of vindicates my decision.

    This last season I have only had only one chick exhibit symptoms out of 28 broody reared chicks, 5 of them have just started laying and I've processed 8 of the cockerels that were all healthy. The sick one presented with a dropped wing this time. It has improved and is holding it's own but not growing and thriving although it eats and poops normally,.... it still free ranges with the flock though the day though, so not an invalid as such but I put it in the infirmary at night where it has easy access to food and water without risk of bullying..... I've found that Marek's sick birds benefit hugely from the company of other chickens.... having 2 sick with it at once is a blessing as they motivate each other to eat and fight it. Isolation causes them to get depressed and they eventually give up fighting it. It affects the immune system, so being happy and eating well is very important. I had one last year that was on her side and couldn't get up. I had her in the infirmary which is inside the hen house but through the day she was in there on her own and after a couple of weeks I was on the point of culling her.... she was propped up in a nest and constantly soiling herself etc. O put another lame pullet in with her one day and to my shock and amazement she attacked it, despite being badly disabled. Thankfully, once they sorted out the pecking order they became firm friends and both showed dramatic improvement over the next few months, so that when spring came I was able to put them out on the grass in the sunshine in a cage.... after that improved even more quickly and a month or so later they were gimpy still but free ranging with the flock and even laying the odd egg....just so you know there is hope.

    Marek's birds will often be bright eyed and eat well but waste away as the tumours develop. I had to euthanize a legbar cock a few weeks ago that had his first attack a year ago and fully recovered a few days later. He has been absolutely fine for a year but went down with it again a month ago and this time he succumbed. You get to know when to give tlc and when it's time to end their suffering. Usually, if they are keen to eat and show some fight, I will give supportive care.

    Anyway let's hope it isn't Marek's but at least you are now reasonably genned up if it is. Hopefully I have answered all your queries on it but shout up if I missed anything. There are several extensive threads about Marek's on this forum and from reading those and talking to other poultry people here in the UK, it seems that the Marek's here is not as virulent, whereas people in the US have lost over 50% (some 100%) of their young birds to it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  10. tobit

    tobit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah I see, I'm in Leicester so pretty central! Hmm I see, so if it is marek's then my flock have all been exposed to it and would all be carriers... My cream legbars are my latest addition to the flock - and they came as chicks from a CL breeder. If it is marek's then my cockerel is probably what caused the outbreak, this is good to know for future situations.

    I'll have to monitor the other hens, and check her wings for lameness. Should I separate her from the flock? She would be without her flockmates & rooster (who she grew up with and hangs out with), although in her current run there are 4-5 foot objects (a tiny coop, branches etc) that she may try to fly onto and hurt herself, although i did see her on them this morning, and later on around noon she was limping when I let them roam the garden.

    Can an outbreak in one bird cause an outbreak in another? Or is it just the common environment e.g. immature rooster that causes several to break out at once?

    Ah, sounds like the english marek's isn't "as bad", but it still sounds horrible... I guess I will just have to wait and see.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions in so much detail!
     

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