Paralyzed chicken - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ntxmama, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. ntxmama

    ntxmama In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2013
    Euless, Texas (DFW)
    Went out to feed the flock this morning (I have four) and found one on her back, flapping one foot/wing. Picked her up and discovered her tail and vent were crusted with poop,'so brought her in, gave her a warm bath and a feather trim. I figured I'd start with the most obvious issue first.

    She is still paralyzed on one side, rolls onto her back when you out her down and flops uncontrollably.

    I wrapped her in a towel and have her under a heat lamp since she's damp. She's still since she's loosely bound, but I'm not sure what to do from here.

    She's about five months old, a Cornish (so much smaller than my three regular-sized hens). She hasn't eaten, drunk or pooped in the hour or so since I found her.

    And OF COURSE my husband is away for the weekend, so I'm having a little freak out dealing with our first sick chicken alone.

    I'd love some advice/opinions. Thanks!
  2. toritori

    toritori Chirping

    May 2, 2011
    Saranac Inn, NY
    You aren't alone; I had my first significant sick chicken last night. Make sure there is water nearby, dehydration won't make anything better. BYC member Eggcessive gave me a few links on Marek's disease and one has a bunch of photos. They helped me out.

    I wish I could do more. I'm not a very religious person, but we'll say a little prayer for you.
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Oh dear. Well, it could be Marek's... or it could be something else. There are a few things that can cause paralysis ... some are treatable, some not so much.

    Keep her warm (not overheated) and as mellow as possible, while offering her food and water while we brainstorm.

    Where did you get her, and do you know if she was vaccinated for Marek's?
    What has her diet been like-- what feed?
    Once you have her in for a while, can you tell us if she is eating or drinking? She may not for a while after her bath, but should at least show some interest before bedtime. Do you know how to feel her crop to see if she has food in there?
    Once she poos, can you tell us how it looks?
    Have you introduced any new birds, or yourself been physically to anyone else's yard that has chickens, since you got her?

    Can you get any photos for us of her posture that demonstrates her paralysis?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    If it just came on suddenly, it could be Botulism. Botulism is caused by a chicken ingesting feed containing the bacteria. It causes paralysis of the neck, legs, and wings, droopy wings/neck, and incoordination. Botulism kills within a few days. Treat Botulism with a molasses flush consisting of one quart water and four tablepoons molasses. Give the flush for no more than twenty-four hours, making sure that the chickens drinks a lot of it.
    1 person likes this.
  5. toritori

    toritori Chirping

    May 2, 2011
    Saranac Inn, NY
    My Silkie went very quickly. Being Silkie and just going through a gigantic molt, she was never a great egg layer and often layed "egg in a bag" or none at all. We just saw symptoms on Saturday and then she died Saturday night. If it was Botulism what should I do? They are free range. Scrub out coop? Toss remaining food? I feel like I should be doing something to protect my 5 remaining girls.

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