My chicken has a broken or dislocated leg... Help? :(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RocknChickn, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. RocknChickn

    RocknChickn Hatching

    Apr 13, 2009
    My 5 year old Barred Rock hen hurt her leg right at the point where her scales turn to feathers.. I guess it would be like her knee. the entire scaley part of her leg and foot just flops and her toes are just curled and useless. I dont know if it's broken or dislocated... I dont feel any broken parts, just that it flops.

    When she hobbles about, she can sometimes lift it somewhat, using her hip I suppose, and other times just lets it drag.

    She is in a cage on her own and eats and drinks just fine. She is awake and perky, and still clucks to me in greeting when I walk by. Which breaks my heart.

    What can I do to help her? Seeing a vet isnt really an option my husband is willing to try, and ours vet wouldn't give any advice on the phone or even make an appt for her, being a chicken, anyway.

    Is there anything I can do for her? Or is putting her down the most humane thing? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  2. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    Orthopedics for Poultry Made Easy for Beginners
    "D. C. Townsend" <[email protected]> onto your browser location bar. It IS there
    D C T
    By D.C. Townsend

    These treatments have been tested and proven effective. I developed them for peafowl but they
    may be used for any poultry. The key to success is to begin treatment promptly. In some cases delay
    will kill or cripple the chick.

    Sometimes a peachick hatches with toes rolled into a fist. They may straighten out on their own
    in the first day of life. If they do not do so, I make a CHICK SHOE (see illustration below) from
    black pipe cleaner available in the crafts department at Wal-Mart. I use black ones because
    bright colors are more likely to be pecked by other peachicks. One packet of Westrim Crafts Chenille
    stems costs 89 cents and will last for years. Any kind of half inch wide tape can be used to attach the CHICK SHOE to the toes, but I prefer Johnson and Johnson First Aid clear tape. I cut a piece a quarter inch long for the middle toe. I cut another piece the same length and split into two quarter inch-wide pieces for the other toes. Eight hours of treatment is usually enough time to end the problem on a day-old peachick.

    Not Actual Size
    Not Actual Size
    In the 1995 hatch, I had a number of peachicks with a kink in the outer toe of one or both feet.
    They were well past a week old when I decided that I must do something about it. I made HALF SHOES of black pipe cleaner. I tore off a quarter inch-wide stripe of duck tape several inches long and secured
    the HALF SHOE to the middle and the outer toe. Several days of treatment were needed. Some of the
    HALF SHOES came off and had to be taped on again, but all treated peachicks had straight toes at the
    end of the treatment. There is a young peacock that I missed treating. Now it is too late and he will
    always have a kink in his outer toe.

    This problem can occur even if you take the precaution of having quarter inch hardware cloth
    under your peachicks. Sometimes it is caused by the struggles of a chick with its toes rolled into
    fists. In that case, both problems must be treated at the same time. I cut a piece of tape four or
    five inches long and from the HOBBLE BRACE with the legs far enough apart so that the peachick can walk. The tape must go the whole way around and cover its sticky side so that it does not stick to the
    peachick's fuzz when it sits down. Usually 24 hours of treatment is sufficient, but sometimes more is
    required. CHICK SHOES and the HOBBLE BRACE can be used at the same time.

    When the Achilles tendon slips out of the groove on the hock joint, a peachick will not be able to
    straighten its leg. The problem needs prompt attention because the struggling peachick will put
    its weight on the hock joint which will damage the skin and cause swelling in the joint. The tendon
    can be pushed back in place with just one finger or a very gentle squeeze between the thumb and index
    finger. Sometimes just one treatment will give a complete cure that seems like a miracle. Other
    times several treatments are needed. Stubborn cases require advanced treatment that is too difficult to
    explain here. I treated both legs of a peachick for two weeks; She grew up to be a healthy peahen.

    RELATED MATERIAL: ORDER THE VIDEO! The author of this article has an instructional video available. It would be prudent to order yours today and have it on hand BEFORE you actually need it. To order your VHS video, send a check or money order for $25.00 made payable to: D.C. Townsend. PO
    BOX 11. Kite, GA. 31049-0011

    This article was originally published in the May
  3. RocknChickn

    RocknChickn Hatching

    Apr 13, 2009
    Sorry, maybe I missed it. I read that whole thing, and the link but I dont see anything similar to my problem on there.

    My hen is 5 years old.. not a chick.. and it's a dislocated knee... ??

    I still have her in a cage in my living room eating biscuits and feed, but really dont know what to do with her... I guess we have to put her down. [​IMG] As far as I can tell, she'll never be able to walk or sit on a roost again. What kind of life would sitting in one spot in a cage be? [​IMG]

    My poor little Henrietta.
  4. tommys0112

    tommys0112 Hatching

    Feb 12, 2009
    I had this happen once with a turkey in the same location. When I examined her I could actually feel the bone was broke. Other than hobbeling she did not appear to be in any pain, and didn't even flinch when I was examining it. I did put her down, because I wasn't certain she wasn't in agony and the other birds were picking on her. I'm sorry about your situation, I hope this helps.
  5. carress

    carress Songster

    Mar 26, 2008
    Orange county NY
    Keep in mind my answer comes from supposition and a few classes 10 years ago.

    If it seems to be a dislocation, I would try to 'relocate' it before putting her down. The joint seems like it sits together simply- during my rotation in an ER, I saw the doctors relocating a dislocation. It seems that you basically hold the larger body stable, and another person pulls the dislocated part beyond the 'edge' of the joint (it shouldn'e be far b/c of the joint type and the fact that the dislocaiton isn't obvious- meaning, the dislocated bone isn't 'far' off of where it shoudl be) you should then be able to 'line' the bone up and allow the muscles to pull it back into place.

    Hopefully, you'll get some more qualified opinions before you have to make your decision. Good luck, and I feel your pain.

    Here's a visual of the joints. page 21
    Denise Plush likes this.
  6. RocknChickn

    RocknChickn Hatching

    Apr 13, 2009
    Thank you carress... I'm gonna try to put aside my incredibly squeamish tendancies and try to put it back in. Just in case.

    tommy, I tried to feel for broken bones.. but I dont think it is. The only broken bone I've ever seen, it was very obvious.. and even after feeling her whole leg (she didn't even mind me holding and pressing on it, she sat quietly for it all) I couldnt' find anything except that the whole bottom section just flops as though it's not attached.

    Oh man.. I wish I were better at this sort of thing. [​IMG]
  7. RocknChickn

    RocknChickn Hatching

    Apr 13, 2009
    I thought I should update this, since I got a reply on it.

    I didn't have the heart to put down this chicken, Henrietta, she is one of my favorite hens, definitely a pet and well I have become way too attached to her, I know.

    So I tried putting her legs back in and stuff but really I just think it was broken and I really dont think I ended up doing anything helpful for her aside from seperating her from the others who would've pecked her to death.

    I put her in an extra large dog crate, and gave her fresh food and water every day. Dragged the giant cage into the fresh, shady air in the daytime and back into the barn every night (which was too hot during the day, she would pant). Luckily it was summertime and I didn't have to keep her in my house. I used hay for bedding so she always had a soft place to lay and she basically didn't move much for the entire summer. About halfway through, she had started limping around her cage a little bit. By about July/August we let her out into the yard a little bit for short supervised periods, (cuz she couldn't get away from dogs, other chickens etc). By October I tried putting her in the coop. I have to admit I was scared to do it. I refused to put her in the coop with the rooster who I think broke her leg in the first place.. just with a few older docile hens and two young ones.

    I made her a nesting box with a very short roost on the floor which she used for a short time, but before long she was on the lowest roost and now she's up on the top with all of her friends in a tight warm little row.

    Aside from not being able to run, and having a noticeable limp, she is very well recovered and comes to meet me when I pull into the driveway. I open my car door, and there is my little Henrietta, clucking up at me. I'm glad to have her. I know she's old and her time will come, but I'm really glad it wasn't last April because of a stupid accident.
  8. Terri O

    Terri O Crowing

    Well see? You did save her! I read your thread since I am a Newbie here...GOOD JOB! Chickens seem to be pretty hardy creatures and if we give them half a chance they get better by themselves. Take a look at my thread "Charlie the House Chicken" for pics of my roo that has NO legs! I too was advised to euthanize; but he is in his third year living in my house in the winter...he is having a little problem now but I am sure it will sort itself out with all the help available here! Terri O (PS) give Henrietta a hug from CHarlie!
    1 person likes this.
  9. hayley3

    hayley3 Songster

    Aug 16, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    Thanks that gives me hope for my chicken :)
  10. Henhousequeen

    Henhousequeen Hatching

    Feb 24, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    One of my favorite hens, Alfredo, has an injured leg. A neighborhood dog jumped our fence and ruffled up some of our hens, but Alfredo seemed to be untouched. The next day she never left the coop, but did switch boxes to lay her egg. She did not leave the coop today either, and just stood on her R leg when we placed her on the ground. She is eating and drinking well and does not seem to be in severe pain. I have called the local farmer vet, but they weren't in today. I am very worried about her and want her to walk again so she can peck around with her friends. Should we take her out of the coop? Any advice would be much appreciated!!![​IMG]

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