Paralysis in 5w old pullet. Any ideas?


8 Years
Apr 26, 2011
I know this is my first message. I promise to introduce myself when I get a chance but my main concern is the pullet right now so forgive me.
I've posted on a local chicken forum and I am still stumped so any ideas are really appreciated.

1) What type of bird , age and weight.

Five week old dark brahma pullet. I don't know her weight, sorry.

2) What is the behavior, exactly.

She seems to be paralyzed, mostly on the left side. Her toes on her left side are curling and that's the side she is falling on. She also holds her neck all the way to the left, but she can lift it and move it around. It's like she is trying to balance with it and failing. I have to hold her up and she'll eat and drink that way. I haven't seen her poop all day. She cannot get up but she can scoot herself around, flap her wings, preen, etc. She cannot walk or stand on her own and lists to the left.

3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

She was fine yesterday but I found her on her side in her coop this morning.

4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? No

5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

No. And she is kept separated from any older chickens who could have gotten her.
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.

No idea.

7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

She has been eating and drinking chick feed and water. I hold her up and let her eat and drink hourly. Appetite seems normal.

8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

I haven't seen her poop all day.

9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

I've checked her crop and vent and kept her hydrated and fed. She is vaccinated against merek's. It has been rainy here and she free ranges during the day but I am really careful with food and water. She seems to have a lot of energy for it to be botulism. Will an Epsom salt/molasses treatment hurt her if it's not botulism?

10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
I'd like to do something at home. I do not plan vet treatment.

11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

I don't but it would just be a photo of a chicken laying on her side if I did.

12) Describe the housing/bedding in use.

She's in a coop with pine shavings. It's very clean. For now I've separated her and she's in a crate with pine bedding. I am considering putting hay on either side of her so she can stand.
With one side being affected, I think it might have been a stroke. This does happen with chickens sometimes. You could just continue to take care of her as you are, feeding her and making her comfortable and making sure she doesn't get picked on.

Chickens can recover from a stroke, but it does take patience. You'll never really know for sure what has happened...but with one side weak like that, I'm betting it's a stroke.

Sounds like you're doing a great job with her,

Good luck!

I thought maybe stroke but then I talked myself out of it because she's so young. But it totally makes sense to me, poor girl. Thank you for your input.
You are welcome! My friend had a young hen who also suffered a stroke, and the hen did recover. She really babied it for weeks. My friend is a retired lady though.....I know all of us don't have the time to do that.....
Well she pooped and it looks normal.

A follow up often during the night should I feed her? I've been feeding/watering every 1-2 hours today.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom