My chicken can't walk!


In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2020
My year and a half old americauna, daisy, can't walk, but she tries. I noticed a little over a week ago that she would just sit around and stumble a little when she tried to get up. I wasn't too worried because I thought she felt sick from parasites or the heat, so like I do with all of my other sick chickens, I brought her inside and gave her lots of food and water. This is when I noticed how extremely skinny she was. Daisy has never been a very small chicken, pretty average. But when I picked her up she was so light! She ate and drank water normally and seemed very perky and normal, besides the fact that she wouldn't stand. I thought that she might be too weak to walk and maybe all the weight loss was from parasites? So I've been giving her extra care and attention for a week, giving her parasite medication and making sure she is eating plenty. But she has made no progress. I checked her legs to see if there's any injury, but I can't imagine any injury that would effect the whole body, and effect her ability to balance or stand or flap her wings. She has tried to fly before but it ended up in a pathetic little jump with wings out and falling on the floor. When she tries to walk she loses her balance and either sits back down or does the splits. When she does take steps, they are very weighted and her feet slap the ground. It looks like she has zero strength to do anything, or maybe there's something wrong with her nervous system? Also whenever she loses balance it's always sideways or backwards, never forwards. I am so confused and worried about my little girl! She has gained a tiny but of weight this past week but is just the same, if not worse. Her poor little knees are all soft and tender from sitting on them 24/7.😥 Im baffled! What could it be? I don't think she has mareks because shes not a baby anymore. Please share any advice!🙏


Nov 10, 2019
Northern California
I’m sorry your birdie is sick! I have geese and ducks, no expierience with chickens so I don’t know how much my information is worth but no one else has commented so I’ll try to help if I can.

There are other diseases that can cause nervous system problems. Avian Leukosis virus and Mereks can cause tumors that can press on nerves and can cause progressive paralysis. Mereks might not show symptoms until later in some cases, but I’m not really sure.

Then there are bacterial causes. Strep and staph if they’ve invaded the spinal cord can cause weakness and nuerological issues.
Then there’s enteroccocal spondylitis “bacterial kinky back” which is an emerging disease, it causes progressive weakness and paralysis due to inflammation around the spinal cord.

Another possibility is clostridium/ botulism. Low bacteria lodes can be harder to recognize because it’s slower acting and doesn’t necessarily cause respiratory disfunction but will cause nervous system disorders because of the toxins slowly building up.

There are a number of bacteria’s that can cause nuerologIcal disease by either attacking the nervous system, either the spine or by causing some sort of encephalitis, some can come from ticks and mites, others can come from wild birds, rodents, insects.

There’s also the chance she’s deficient in vitamins, the Bs, A, &E because of another illness and it’s manifesting as nuerological issues.

The last thing I can think of is actual kinky back, which is a spinal injury, or an abscess near the spine.

The best way to treat the cause is by determining what it is through testing. If a vet is an option I would strongly recommend it, though I understand if that isn’t possible.

Nuerological issues are tricky because they can be caused by so many things, I have a gander who has been going through bouts of similar symptoms since March. I haven’t had much luck figuring out what it is because of really bad vets in my area and circumstances, but I’ve narrowed it down to some sort of bacterial issue that keeps manifesting whenever he’s stressed as a secondary infection to mycoplasma, but ultimately I don’t really know, the issue resolves quicker when I put him on antibiotics the moment he starts “wobbling” it’s slower to go away if I wait for it to get worse.

If you’re not able to get your chook seen by a vet you could get fish antibiotics and try to treat yourself but that’s jumping down the rabbit hole of often unrewarding guesses and treatments, I know from experience unfortunatly.
Amoxicillin, baytril, and cipro are good choices, azithromycin is a really powerful antibiotic but can cause heart issues, it’s a last result option in my opinion personally. Metronidazole can treat clostridium, I’m not sure what it’s effectivness is on the botulism strain though, but it can also be used to treat giardia.
Doxycycline can treat chlamydiosis and various spirochete type bacterias which can cause encephalitis.

You might try giving her a liquid B complex and some sort of multivitamin. B vitamins are water soluable so overdosing on them is really difficult, E & A you do have to be more careful with, but a good dose of something like poultry nutri-drench or rooster booster poultry cell for a few days would be good. B vitamins can help protect and repair the nervous system and liver, so they’re a big help in recovery.


Nov 14, 2020
Very good information from @Goosebaby
Besides everything mentioned, I would recommend taking pictures of her and her legs and post them here. I would also check for bumblefoot and any enlargement in her hocks
Also you can try to make a sling for her, cut out leg holes in a box and elevate the box somehow so she can have a break from being on her legs, you can also cut holes in a towel and fasten it in laundry basket holders so she can be comfy

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