Possible Leg Injuries or Neurological Injuries - Any help appreciated

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by urbaneggs, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. urbaneggs

    urbaneggs New Egg

    Nov 27, 2011

    My 20 month old (not sure of breed: either rhode island (orange) or buff orpington) has had a permanent dislocation/lame foot injury for several months that she limps around on. Yesterday we noticed that she now had a severe limp on her other foot and was using her previously injured foot as her leveling foot. It appeared to cause her severe pain to move around, but yesterday she could still stay upright and move herself through out the yard. She was using her wings by placing them on the ground for additional balance, the way humans use a cane. Last night after dark we checked on her and she couldn't get herself up into the hen house or onto the roosting bar. My husband placed her on the roosting bar but she wasn't able to balance herself, and we found her in the same spot we left her on the floor of the hen house this morning.

    This morning and today she was unable to move on her own. We checked her body for injuries and couldn't find anything external. She appeared to be in so much pain that she can't even lay normally the way they do when they roost or brood. She lays on her side to prevent pain similar to what it looks like when sunbathing. We were able to get her interested in water and food early in the day by carefully picking her up and placing her at the watering dish and feeder. We decided to separate her by about noon and monitor her. I now have her in our house in a crate, with pine shavings bedding. The crate is covered up with a towel to provide a bit more darkness, but she isn't active, and doesn't seem to be able to sleep.

    I can't determine the site of her injury. Because she was walking yesterday (with obvious limp), I am hesitant to classify this as a spinal injury. I am led to believe from her behaviors and the way she was favoring her legs that this is either a muscle or joint injury in her leg, or a neurological injury. I can't think of anything that could have happened to her other than a branch falling on her (we have had some wind) or she somehow had her leg stuck in the chicken wire fence early yesterday. I am really concerned, and not sure what to do. There is no bleeding, and I can't find any obvious fractures or dislocations. She favors the leg to the side of her body, and lays on her side.
    No other birds are exhibiting the same symptoms.
    She laid an egg some time last night, and her poop looked normal.

    Any help is appreciated. There is only one fowl vet in the area, and at this point, I'm not sure we can afford to take her in. It's breaking my heart to see her in so much pain. She is my favorite bird, and I hate the thought of having to put her down, when she was such a trooper with her other mystery foot injury.
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Hi Urbaneggs,

    Welcome to the forum. I am so sorry to hear about the struggle your hen is encountering.

    I recently lost a pullet to Marek's. It is a virus, that is highly contagious. One of the symptoms is paralysis. For the safety of your other chickens, attend to that flock first, and wash everything between doing anything with the sick chicken and the rest of your chickens. It is recommended that you shower, change clothes and shoes. I will put in a link to the Merck Vet Manual. Marek's is uncurable should your chicken have that...so as painful as it is, you are ending her suffering if you do put her down. The virus can travel on feather dander among other things, airborne, -- you name it.

    I am so sorry if that is what she has.

    Here is a link:

    The only way to definitely conirm Marek's is a Necropsy. There are other chicken diseases that have symptoms like you are describing. A chicken owner could drive himself/herself insane reading up on all the things that can afflict chickens. Most important, IMO is to treat what your chicken has as if it is contageous, until you find out otherwise.

    I hope your future forum posts will be about happier news. Good luck with your situation.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  3. urbaneggs

    urbaneggs New Egg

    Nov 27, 2011
    Thank you ChiKat,

    I hope that's not what it is. I only have four hens, so hopefully they haven't contracted anything. I will follow your instructions immediately.

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