my prize hen can't stand up -- help


9 Years
Jun 12, 2010
My hen is a small baney and has been thriving. She is about 2yrs old and was doing excellent until about two weeks ago. I noticed that she wasn't eating as much and that she didn't seem to get "excited" when I came to her coop. She is a very friendly hen and was laying some very beautiful and small delicate eggs. I just thought that her lack of appetite was because she was laying so well, but I also noticed her mate Rocky also wasn't as eager for the fod anymore. I even got some of my medicated starter food and mixed it with water and fed them some of that, still no enthusiasm. About 5 days ago I went to the barnyard to feed and noticed that Gracie was laying beside her hen box, ahen I threw the food in she didn't move. I opened up the coop and when I went to pick her up she didn't even move, she was just laying there unable to do anything. I brought her to the garage and put her in isolation and began to try and figure out what has happened to her. It appears that her left side is not working. I watered down some more starter feed and put it in her mouth, and gave her water after about 3 "bites" she had a huge bowel movement something like you see from a hen that is settin, except after the big one came ALOT of diarreah type stuff, it poured out of her. I thought well maybe she was constipated, but why wouldn't she be able to walk or stand up, she can do neither. I keep feeding her and giving her water and she is still not showing any progress towards getting better, I even exercise her legs, and work her little feet to keep them from drawing up. The foot and leg on the left side is drawn up and she dosen't even try to move it, or maybe she can't. I don't know what has happened, I do know that she has the saddest eyes that I have ever looked at and I don't want her to suffer. I've given her antibiotics but that's not gonna help her legs and make her able to walk again. Her wing on the left side dosen't hardly even pull out.
This is my baby, I love her like people love their dogs, if she dosen't show some progress soon I know I will have to put her down. The thought of that breaks my heart, I probably sound crazy but I believe that she knows who I am and that I am trying my very best to help her.
Does anybody have any suggestions as to what might be wrong with her or has anybody had anything like this happen to them? And IF I have to put her down what would be the most humane way? Please help me, I can't stand to watch her suffer, she's too beautiful to watch her just lay there with only her eyes moving.

Has anybody ever heard of a chicken having a stroke? I'm just trying to figure this one out!
Could she have got into some kind of mold, i.e moldy leaves or something like that? I've read similar symptoms for botulism.

Put that into the search window and see if any of the symtoms match.

I am so sorry she is not doing well.
I hope some one can try to help me make sense of this, it seems such a waste of a beautiful hen!!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR CARING THOUGHT'S!
I will check on that botulism.
I did find some mold in some corn that was ground down as fine as starter food is, but my chickens don't like it so I have never really given them any, only when "chicken George" brought it to me and I didn't like the texture of it myself and the chickens don't like it at all. So it is going in the garbage and there's no way she got any of that. The paralysis thing is whatis getting me, I just don't understand that. I am going to call the vet school at University of Tennessee in the morning and see if they will look at her and find out what's gone on. I love her but I can't let her suffer!!!! I wish someone out there had a suggestion or two! Thanks anyway!!!!!!!
Sounds like poisoning of some kind. Either mold or some chemical. Do they free range at all? Do you feed them scraps? There are actually some kinds of wil nuts and berries that can cause strokes, temporary and permenant paralysis and drunken behavior in wild birds, so I would assume they could affect chickens the same way if they got them.
Also, if you have to have her put down (and I REALLY hope you don't have to
) call a local vet or animal control. Many vets that handle livestock only charge around $20 or less to put down chickens. Some animal control places will perform lethal injection for free and some cost $20 or less. Lethal injection in a chicken so lethargic should be pretty painless. The only thing in many animal control places do not allow you to be present for the injection and some will not return the body to you after the animal has passed. Id rather pay someone to put my animal down then do it for free with my bare hands or a gun.

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