My 1 year old hen will hardly walk and she moves her head up and down

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jamidesign, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. jamidesign

    jamidesign New Egg

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    Aug 15, 2011
    I've read the chicken health handbook and can't figure this out! For the past 3 days, my 1 year old Rhode Island Red hen will hardly walk and she moves her head up and down slowly and repeatedly. It looks kind of like when you have vertigo and your eyes track from right to left except her head moves up and down.

    Her feet look a little swollen and feel warm but there are no sores. She can walk a few steps at a time, but is very unsteady on her feet. Her comb is bright red and looks fine except for a scratch she may have gotten from falling over. I keep food and water in front of her but I have only seen her drink a few drops here and there. Her crop feels kind of like her breastbone - just kind of pointy.

    Her droppings (I've only seen 2 small ones, about the size of a large marble) are darkish green and have a little white on the outside and are dense. I gave her a bath yesterday as she consistently has had a dirty rear since we got her 3 months ago and that seemed to perk her up a little.

    She has never laid an egg that I have seen. I took her to a regular vet about 2 months ago for this problem (we have no vets really that will treat chickens) and he gave her with an antibiotic pill she took for 14 days but she never laid despite this. She free ranges every day and has a coop she shares with her sister at night. She can't make it up on the roost so she lays under the coop instead. During the day, she just sits on the ground and occasionally moves forward and couple of inches but the head is always slowly moving up and down. She can look from side to side.

    Any clues? Please help!
     
  2. Jerseyjack

    Jerseyjack Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2011
    Admittedly, I know little about chickens. I have 14 healthy RIR, just turned 20 weeks and all are now laying. I think my girls, being able to free range has a lot to do with their health and happiness. What do you feed them? Where did you acquire her? Perhaps with a little more info, someone will be able to help, good luck
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  3. jamidesign

    jamidesign New Egg

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    Aug 15, 2011
    She is a free range chicken but I keep a commercial laying feed mix in the coop which is accessible to her all day. This evening I picked her up to take her back into the coop for the night and she finally ate and was pretty excited about it but I had to shove the food under her nose. This made me think she might be going blind?
     
  4. chicktwins

    chicktwins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2011
    Eastern Shore
    It does definitely sound like she may be blind. The not laying thing makes me think maybe something underlying has caused the blindness unless it is a normal thing for blind chickens not to lay. I am pretty new to chickens so I have no idea on that. I would make things very easy for her to get around and not change things up on her too much. Things should stay where they are especially food and water so she always knows where to find things. Good luck with her.
     
  5. jamidesign

    jamidesign New Egg

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    Aug 15, 2011
    If she is blind, it is recent and came on with the difficulty in walking. I wish I knew the humane thing to do. She doesn't seem to be in pain but she is also not enjoying the life of a normal chicken.
     

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