Pullet cannot walk - found her lying on her back tonight!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dlagrave, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. dlagrave

    dlagrave In the Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hi All -

    I am new here and fairly new to chickens. I have a 34 week old BLW pullet who has been limping for over a week. We noticed that she was flapping her wings when she walked last Saturday (9 days ago). That night we moved the chickens to their new coop, and they were locked in for several days. I hoped that being locked up would limit her movements enough to let the leg heal. (looked the leg and foot over carefully and saw no sign of swelling or heat. Both legs moved thru their normal range of motion with no complaints from her). She holds the left leg out to the side a bit.

    While everyone was locked up, she was getting picked on by a young randy roo, so I gave her a crate inside the coop so she had her own food and water and could get away from him. After a few days, when the others were allowed out, I let her out and she still limped. She seemed to want to stay in the crate, so I left the door open, and left her alone. I have done that now for 4 days and she mostly hangs out in her crate and does not come out even when all the others are playing outside.

    Tonight when I came home I went to put some treats in her crate, and she was lying on her back!! She apparently tried to walk or turn or whatever and lost her balance and fell over. Being in the crate, she apparently could not right herself. I picked her up and she seemed OK. She did start pecking at the corn I had placed in her crate. I don't know how long she was like that, but she was apparently hungry!

    My chickens are kept on a thick bed of straw. They roam the backyard and small pasture area. They are fed a 20% layer pellet and get veggies and meat scraps for treats.

    None are sick. This little girl (Powder is her name) shows no sign of illness. She is apparently eating/drinking. At least the treats I place in her crate tend to disappear. [​IMG] The only other bit of info that may or may not be relevent is that she has never laid an egg. I have another Wyandotte, silver laced, who is 6 weeks younger and she began laying 8 days ago and has already given me 6 eggs!

    Anyway - I am really concerned about her. I am not sure what to do. As long as she is eating and drinking, should I just let her stay where she wants? Poops seem normal.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Danielle in Utah
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    I do not have a cut and dry answer for you but it would seem to me that keeping her separated and providing general support measures (incl. a good complete poultry supplement) and monitor her for any further symptoms for the moment would seem to be the best... hopefully there is no permanent damage .
  3. kricky777

    kricky777 Hatching

    Jul 19, 2008
    Sandy, Utah
    I am very sorry to hear about your girl. [​IMG] My roo has been limping as well and I was very scared so I posted a topic and nobody responded so I tried chickencrossing . org They were all very helpful and welcoming! Give them a try! I wish I could be more of a help but I too am new at this.. Just winging it [​IMG]
    Christy in Utah
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  4. mikarod

    mikarod Songster

    Sep 28, 2008
    Sounds a bit like Marek's. Especially since you say she is flapping her wings when she walks. Can she use that leg at all or is more "limp" than anything?
  5. Nala

    Nala Hatching

    Nov 19, 2008
    Hi Danielle,

    I am a first timer and logged onto this site for answers to the same chicken problem. My chicken Phoebe completely stopped walking. It was gradual but she still had an appetite.
  6. ewesfullchicks

    ewesfullchicks In the Brooder

    Sep 27, 2007
    It sounds a little like Marek's to me too.

    I lost about 5 out of my 46 Freedom Rangers to it in the spring. Two of them died after some pretty gruesome looking convulsions, 3 of them just stopped eating/drinking, so my husband euthanized them for me.

    After the "kill off", the rest of the flock did just fine.

    Good luck.
  7. dlagrave

    dlagrave In the Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Thanks for the replies folks. We ended up humanly euthenizing her tonight. [​IMG]

    I spoke to the state poultry vet today about her. He thought that Mareks was a possibility, even though she wasn't paralyzed as much as had little strength or control over her legs. Based on my description of her symptoms, he felt that the most likely explanation was an accident where she hurt one of her vertebre... like a ruptured disc. Since this was affecting her legs and not her wings, and affecting BOTH legs (even though it started with one) he felt this fit her symptoms the best. Inflammation would explain worsening symptoms. He felt that she would not recover and was probably in pain.

    I did look for any sign of tumors after killing her, but her organs looked really good.

    Thanks again for the help.

    Danielle & Powder
  8. mikarod

    mikarod Songster

    Sep 28, 2008
    Did you check the Sciatic nerve in both legs?

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