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Older hens loose balance

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by shaun14, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. shaun14

    shaun14 In the Brooder

    Nov 14, 2014
    I hope someone can help me. I have about 40 chickens and one of the groups of sexlinks is a very much older group (only a few left). We do not kill our chickens, so they just die naturally. The hens from this bunch all seem to have the same fate. They puff up for a few days, and don't really feed or forage, then loose their balance. They seem healthy except they can't stand up. They seem to have a day or so when they are lethargic and not too interested in food, but then they eat and drink ok but I have to help them as they can't stand up too well. I keep them in a dog crate separated from the others.

    The hen who has it now seems to have her feet working well, it's just the balance. Some of the other ones had curled feet at this stage but she doesn't. She has a good appetite and her stools seem fine. Some of them recover for awhile. I've been reading all the threads but can't find anything the same.

    I have been just putting Apple Cider Vinegar in her water and feeding her some probiotics in addition to her food.

    Any ideas?

  2. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Since they all are incurring the same symptoms, I would suspect a similar cause.

    While they are older, I would investigate the Marek's thread here on BYC.

    It may be that as they age, Marek's is catching up to this particular strain of birds.

    Or something else such as a similar toxin.

    Older hens tend to waste away and finally become so weak they have trouble walking. Often it is due to ovarian cancer likely caused from the genetics selected for over production.

    The last "Hail Mary" might be to try vitamin supplementation. Older hens can become very depleted in calcium after many years of laying. Sometimes a calcium shot will help. Or it could be vitamin B deficiency or even E (although that usually creates wry neck).

    Those are my thoughts.

    Good luck on figuring it out.

  3. shaun14

    shaun14 In the Brooder

    Nov 14, 2014
    I don't think it is Marek's after reading up on the symptoms. Thanks for your thoughts. I hope others will answer this thread too.

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