pullet with leg trouble


11 Years
Oct 19, 2012
Does anyone know what is causing this sudden change in our hen's legs? this is a standard cochin 5-6 months old who never had a moment's trouble until suddenly 2 weeks ago we found her hobbling, slapping her feet rather than placing them and turning her knees in. as an immediate reaction we isolated her and added vitamin/mineral mix to her water. She still has good weight and eats well so whatever is causing this problem is not causing her to lose her appetite yet. Her color is still good as well. Is this a vitamin/mineral deficiency? or just a congenital malformation? Is there anything to be done to correct it? there doesn't appear to be any bone breakage or trauma as far as we can tell. she still has use of her feet so they're not floppy and both feet can still grip. Any advice is most appreciated.

I'm new to chickens (that's my disclaimer) so take what I say with a grain of salt.

What is her regular diet? Brand and ingredient list with percentages of protein, etc would help.

Does she free range at all?

What vitamin/mineral mix are you giving her IE: exactly which vitamins are in it?

Does she have oyster shells, crushed dried egg shells or another calcium source readily available to her?

If she's 5-6 mos of age she's either POL or close to it...they need to be on calcium at that age. Per an avian veterinarian: POL pullets and laying hens can and will draw the calcium out of their bones at any lifestage if they're not given enough in their diet(s). In extreme cases this will cause softening of bones and legs can cave inward, causing a bow-legged appearance.

If you don't have access to oyster shells or are unable to buy them - you can always take the egg shells from your other hens (if applicable), wash them with hot water, dry them out completely, crush them - and feed them back to your hens.

[Edit] - I'm not saying that is your hen's problem...just saying it's a possible culprit.
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these are her soluble vitamins http://www.jefferslivestock.com/vitamins-electrolytes-plus/camid/LIV/cp/A2-V5/

her diet was medicated chick starter until maybe 3 months ago and Walpole layer crumble ever since.

no she doesn't free range because we are in a wild area so she wouldn't live through a day. all our chickens are in a large run so they're on the ground, partially covered with a roof and the rest covered with wire. we'd love to have them on grass but there are too many predators

they do get scratch maybe once a week and whatever insects crawl into the run.

haven't offered her any calcium supplement because I thought that would be in the recipe of the layer crumble, but live and learn, maybe not...

I'll get the oyster shell immediately and try that.

many, many thanks for any and all advice

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