Pullet can't walk

TillyFeathers

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 30, 2010
9
0
7
Yesterday I found my white rock pullet sitting on the floor not able to walk. She would try to stand but her right leg seemed hurt, she tried to brace herself with her wings but just toppled down. I checked both legs, no sign of injury or pain in them that I could find. Her crop was empty so I gave her water and food right away. I put her in a dog kennel overnight with food and water.

She is eating and drinking fine and laid an egg this morning. Her droppings look normal. She is alert and bright eyed, just can't stand and is panting heavily at times - though it is warm out and several other pullets are too. They all had merricks vacc. at the hatchery. They had medicated feed until about six weeks ago, have been laying for three weeks and are on layer pellets.

Can anyone give me advice on how to nurse her? Any ideas on what's wrong, what I should check for? Thanks.
 

Winsor Woods

Songster
10 Years
Jun 14, 2009
378
5
121
Cascade Range in WA
I'm very sorry to hear about your pullet. It sounds like life is not very enjoyable for her right now. I have noticed some of the same symptoms with my cornish crosses. Because those are meaties, I've just processed them right away. I've never seen any signs of leg injuries or any sign of pain when I palpate and manipulate their legs. What I do notice however, is that all them had a large amount of fluid around their hearts. The fluid was contained in the pericardium but it was present in every one of my meaties that had walking trouble with no apparent injuries or leg pain. All the rest of my meaties that I processed had normal hearts/organs.

Because Cornish Crosses are 1/2 white rock, I'm thinking this could very well be the case with your poor pullet. I think you've done a great job for her so far. The most important thing is to make her comfortable. In addition to providing food and water where she can access without standing, I would add some electrolyte/vitamins to the drinking water. You might also look for wheat germ oil which provides vitamins A, D, and En through a different medium.

I must be frank though, I've never had a chicken recover who couldn't walk and was apparently free of injury and had no other symptoms concerning the legs/feet. Play it by ear and see if her condition improves. I sure hope it does! Make sure she stays very hydrated. I've even gone as far as using a syringe with plastic tubing to put water straight into their crops. Just make sure it doesn't go into the airway by accident. If it is a heart condition, you'll know soon enough.

Sorry for not having a reassuring response.

Dan
 

TillyFeathers

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 30, 2010
9
0
7
Thanks for your reply. I am still hoping that she will recover, but I am also very concerned that she might have something contagious. Her condition is the same today. I just went out to check her and she laid an egg. It is extremely thin shelled and fragile, almost white when she usually lays brown eggs. It crunched when I picked it up. Could this be a vitimin deficiency? They have layer pellets, grit, oyster shell and I feed them greens from the garden and occasionally leftover veggies. Anyone have any ideas? What do I do?
 

Winsor Woods

Songster
10 Years
Jun 14, 2009
378
5
121
Cascade Range in WA
Hey Tilly,

It can be very hard to watch a loved bird degenerate. My best wishes go out to you. The more I read about your bird, the more it sounds like some internal problem. She's trying to be a normal chicken by laying an egg, but her body is just not up to the task. Whether it's a lack of nutrients or just a lack of energy, it's having a marked effect on her. Just continue to make her comfortable and post any changes in her situation.

Also list specifically what additional things you've done to treat her and if you've taken any of the suggestions.

Dan
 

TillyFeathers

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 30, 2010
9
0
7
Well, it has been a month and a half and I thought I would let you all know what happened with my puillet. I isolated her in another part of the barn just in case she had something infectious. I gave her a few treats occasionally; spinach, yoghurt, garlic, ceyenne and vinegar. She ate most of my weird concoctions if they had yoghurt and fruit in them.
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She ate her layer pellets and drank just fine. After a few days she stoped laying completely and just sat all day. She would attempt to walk using her wings for support to flop over to her food. After four or five weeks of that she started exercising, bracing herself with her wings and standing for a few seconds. Then she took a few crooked steps. I would walk into the barn and see her standing, with her legs crossed weird and panting with exertion. That is one determined chicken. I finally decided that she wasn't contageous and put her back in the chicken house. Two weeks later, and she greeted me at the door this morning, begging for scratch with the rest of the hens. I have found her sitting on eggs, not sure if they are hers or not. She still doesn't roost with the rest, prefering the floor and she takes frequent rests. However, it appears that she will make a full recovery! When I first put her in with the others I was amazed to see how much bigger she was than the other white rocks. Seems she gained a little weight being sedentary, but has since slimmed down. I have some trouble picking her out of the crowd now.
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