Need Help Diagnosing A Disease


In the Brooder
Nov 26, 2015
I occasionally get chickens that seem to suddenly become ill and are unable to walk. They don't have the one leg in front, the other in back, but rather just unable to make much use of the legs at all. They eat and drink. The ones who have become ill will linger for a long time. The are coop chickens - the free range ones do not seem to get the problem. I have been dosing with Sulmet, Wazine wormer, antibiotics but nothing has worked. I would really love to know what this problem is and how to treat it. Thank you.

Free Spirit

The Chiarian
Oct 21, 2015
Hi alameda. We will need much more to go on to begin to help you.

They are coop chickens so how much room do they have per bird? How often is their coop cleaned? What type of feed do they get? How old are they and are they laying eggs? What does their poop look like? When was the last time they were wormed? Which antibiotics were they given and why? Have you checked them over and looked for lice or mites?

Are there any other symptoms that can help narrow it down? Here is a list of things you can look for:

* Wazine only treats roundworms and you would need another wormer for most other worms that chickens can get.
* Antibiotics don't always work because many bacteria are resistant to many types of antibiotics. Therefore you should know what the problem is so you can dose with the correct one in the correct dosage for the required amount of time that will work on a particular strain. Antibiotics are ineffective on viruses.
* Sulmet treats Infectious Coryza, Coccidiosis, Acute Fowl Cholera, and Pullorum Disease. If none of these were the problem then it would not be an effective treatment.

Is there a possibility that they could have ingested lead or zinc (i.e. galvanized metals such as chicken wire, shotgun lead, fishing gear, or any items containing lead or zinc)? Could they have ingested a toxic plant (such as a bad mushroom or weed or plant)?Hardware poisoning or plant toxicity can cause symptoms like you describe and is treated with a flush solution.

Here are some links from the BYC Learning Center that may help figure out what could be the problem(s):

Any additional information you can provide would be helpful.
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