Older Hen Not Using Legs


5 Years
Oct 15, 2018
Hi, This is my first post. I have an older hen (5 or 6 years), she has been apparently normal and healthy. When I went to close the coop the other night, I found her lying just outside the door (in the rain, poor thing) unable to stand up. I tucked her in the safe box inside the coop with some food and water, but figured she probably wouldn't make it till morning. Well, that was 4 days ago, and she is still eating and looking alert. However, no use of legs. She is moving her wings and tail. I am obviously worried about Mareks and can't find online if that has such a sudden onset (my daughter is in the run daily and would have reported a chicken seeming unwell or off). My other thought was a predator injury, although nothing seems obvious. Any thoughts? Thanks so much in advance, I know she is an older chicken but if there is something I can do to help her, I would like to.
Glad you joined our flock! We are sure you'll love it here, so pull up a roost!

What are you feeding her? What is her shelter like? Does she free-range? Has she had any history of Mareks? If so, what did you treat her with?
Thanks! They normally eat regular feed and have a huge run and sometimes free range, she wasn't super interested in regular feed but she has eaten greens, pumpkin 'guts' and seeds, and mealworms. She is with 10 other hens in a pretty spacious coop. We've generally had good luck with the hens but in the past two years have lost two younger hens to unknown illnesses (neither had lameness, they both stopped eating and sort of gradually declined). This particular hen has no history of illness. Thanks for replying
Check her over for any injuries/wounds. Check her crop make sure it is normal. Basically just do a through check-over and tell me what you find. What does her poop look like?
Last edited:
It is hard to say if it might be Mareks or not, but it is possible since you have lost a couple of birds in the last 2 years to an unknown cause. It usually affects young chickens, but older birds can get it 3 or more weeks after being exposed to a carrier.

I would give her mostly chicken feed with only a small amount of egg, liver,or tuna for treats. Start some poultry vitamins that have riboflavin. Do her toes curl under?

Does she have any enlargement of her lower belly? How does her crop feel, and is it empty first thing in the morning? Has she laid eggs recently?

Here is a link for slings:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom