Need some advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by srfjeld, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 7 1/2 month old chicken who has had a bad limp in one leg the last few months. She recently started laying eggs and it appears she's also gone into a molt b/c her throat area is bare. A few nights ago I noticed that she is no longer roosting and is instead sleeping on the floor of the coop at night. I don't get to seem them much right now b/c of the lack of daylight and my schedule. This morning when I went to let them out I noticed all but my little Loretta (girl with the limp) came running out. Upon further inspection I saw that she was having a hard time standing up. So... I brought her in the house to feed her. She ate like a horse, which tells me she's not able to get around much to eat. I can tell she's lost weight b/c her breast bone is rather noticeable and she just feels so much lighter. My first instinct (after losing 2 others to sickness months back) was to have her euthanized but my boyfriend thinks we should keep her in the house and see if she gets better. I feel she's gotten worse and now it's cold outside... ugh. It was hard to lose the first ones but I don't want her to get to the point where she's in extreme pain or starves herself or falls trying to get down the chute in the run and hurts herself worse.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Some possibilities are a viral or bacterial infection, injury, congenital joint problem and Marek's. It would no doubt be expensive to learn the reason, and then it might very well not be treatable. It might even take a state vet necropsy to know for sure. It could even be related to the other two deaths.

    I've had this flock about 3 years, and have had 2 go lame. One I just left in the flock and she returned to normal after maybe 6 weeks. I knew the cause in her case, predator attack, and she never completely stopped walking. The other is still lame and it's been long enough that I doubt she will improve any more. I have to keep her separate to prevent their attacking her. It's not a good life for her.

    Really, "old time" chicken keepers would make dinner out of any lame chicken, and that may be the fate of mine. I don't think it's likely yours will improve if this has been going on for "some months." I'm afraid it's a decision you have to make, and I don't think there's a lot to go on out there.

    I sympathize.

    Scroll down this link to the charts at the end:

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
  3. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your reply. I thought about Marek's back when we first noticed the limp but I found that the place we got our chicks vaccinates for Marek's. Plus, she doesn't show any of the other symptoms. I'm wondering if she doesn't just have a lot working against her. She was getting around fine before she started laying and I know that takes a lot out of the birds, then throw the onset of a molt and the cold weather into the mix and it seems she doesn't have a chance. She isn't showing any signs of being ill other than the inability to really get around. Maybe keeping her in the house and feeding her and giving her vitamins over the next day or so will allow her to rest and be warm in a stress free environment. Then we'll go from there. Try as we might we just haven't had the best luck with the little chickens we've had. We've lost 3 since May. So stressful and depressing.
     
  4. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's been pretty mellow in the house all day but I took her out when the other girls were out earlier this evening and she hunkered down when they came near her. Then I saw one of them going for her feathers on her neck. So, now I'm not so sure she's molting. I think they were going after her b/c she's been having a hard time getting around. She ate really well today and didn't lay an egg... Probably from the stress of a new situation? Will she even lay in the dog kennel? It's all we've got. Ugh... I'm still considering putting her down. I just don't think she'll gain her ability to walk again, and how will she stand a chance with the other two picking on her?
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    If you think she's suffering and won't get better, the kindest thing would be to put her down. It's never easy to make that decision, I know. It's up to us to do what's best for our animals. If you decide to give her some time to heal, could you put her in the dog crate in the coop instead of the house? My thinking is - if she's in the coop where the other birds can see her, it might make retintegration easier. Also, I don't know where you live, but if she's in the house she won't be acclimated to cold weather (if you get it) when she gets better and that could be hard on her, too. Oh, and yes - the stress of the situation could affect egglaying. Chickens will often quit laying when moved from one location to another. Being sick or injured could also have an effect.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I am new to chickens this year, but I think your chicken is being feather-picked because of her injured leg. We had a young roo this year that had a leg injury, and he was mercilessly picked on by the others until he hid in corners and the next boxes. Occasionally a chicken will still get Marek's even after receiving the vaccine. It would be nice if you could weed out the bully feather-picker, and separate her, but that might not solve the problem if the others follow suit. If you could separate the one with the problem and another mellow chicken, they could maybe get along together. Hope you have a good outcome.
     
  7. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am worried about her not being acclimated to the weather as well. We've had a few nights/mornings in the high 20s and some pretty brisk days. She was out there and managed to do alright those nights and days. Her limp is now so bad that her foot is just curled up and she rests on the hinges of her legs. I'm pretty sure I know what I have to do. And I probably should have done it today. grrr... upsetting. I may have my boyfriend take her in tomorrow, but I've been the one who has had to handle putting the others down when they were too far gone and I feel kind of used to it now. I don't want him to feel sad. He wants what's best for her, though.
     
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I had one that wouldn't walk either. I gave her her own special place with food and water she could get to for about a month. She did improve. When I put her back in with her flock the other birds would pick on her so I kept her separate for another week or two but let her out with the others when I let them out to free range. Eventually the other birds quit picking on her. She still has a slight limp but is back with the flock running around with her slight limp but actually gets around very well now.
     
  9. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After hanging out with her tonight and seeing that she seems healthy in every other way, except getting around, we have decided to "wait and see" it's just tough to know the right thing to do.
     
  10. roxysly

    roxysly Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 2 cats in my garage and they use a black kitty box house we bought from Target. It looks like a mock dog house with an opening in the door. My two skinny leghorns always come in the garage and peck at the cat food and the other day when I went out into the garage cause she was making a bunch of racket...I saw she laid an egg in the cat box. I might add that the cat box has a leopard blanket in it and now I find my chickens in there quite often making themselves at home. My chickens have become like mushy house pets more or less. I understand how hard it would be to have to make a decision like that.

    I think your plan to give her time, is a great one. They respond so well to lots of attention and alone time ( away from the ones giving her a hard time)

    Im so sorry your hen is having such a hard time. I just wanted to share that they will lay in a cat or dog box. I watch my girls constantly and they are very unusual chickens in that they love attention, soft blankets, warm water and hot (warm) oatmeal on cold mornings. Even on occasion the morning news with me on the couch and one of the lucky ones on my lap in the cozy warm house...[​IMG]

    I will pray she makes it thru for you

    Rhonda and her crazy hens
     

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