re-habbed hen can hop on remaining leg -- now what do I do for her?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by klutterer, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. klutterer

    klutterer Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 5, 2011
    Hi -- My EE/Maran hen, Helga, was injured by a predator 12/30 and has been indoors ever since.

    Thanks to much help from the forum, she has made a pretty fair recovery. She is alert, eats, drinks, purrs and even chuckles when she gets favorite foods. She has returned to tossing her food around and will not let me get into her beak with my syringe of medicated water. (The feistiness is back! Yayyyyyyy!!!!)

    What should I do next?

    Physical Therapy? Alas, not much has changed with her left leg. The "knee" remains swollen to almost golf-ball size, though it looks less raw. She does not touch the ground with that leg, though she can control it. We tested with a pin, and she can feel to about her ankle, but can't feel (or move) her toes. She can stand on her intact right leg for increasing periods of time. She can hop about 10 feet at a stretch, and will maneuver her wings to change direction (for example, if I'm tempting her with a treat 90 degrees from where her body is pointing). While I had her in a sling, I tried to make a leg brace out of bubble wrap, but it quickly fell apart. Ditto bamboo sticks and packing foam, attached with twist ties. I tried making a "shoe" with packing foam, and it came off after 10 minutes or so of free-ranging. Should I try to make another kind of support for her left leg, or just leave her alone to figure out how to get around on her right leg?

    Diet? She still feels thin, but she'll eat 20 crickets, several mealworms, a handful of leaves and a quarter-cup of cooked rice twice a day. She won't deign to eat scratch, much less laying crumble (she'll even shake it off blueberry halves). If I mix rice and scratch, she'll just peck out the rice. She won't eat catfood/crumble casserole anymore -- just bugs, greens and rice. I'm not sure if I should keep catering to her palate, but I want her to get stronger, and fear she'll waste away if I withhold everything except crumble and scratch. How long before I start applying Tough Love?

    Medication? I've been dosing her with the antibiotic Agrimycin in her water. How long should I keep this up? I hoped the swelling would reduce, but it hasn't, and after 3 weeks, I don't know that it ever will. I can't tell if she's in pain -- but since she does make frequent happy sounds, I haven't been giving her aspirin these past few days. Should I continue the aspirin?

    Shelter and Society? I've had her out in the yard when her two coopmates are free-ranging. The first few times, one of them pecked Helga pretty hard -- there was much swawking, and Helga's comb looks a little tattered. Before her injuryk, Helga definitely ruled the roost, but now the others bully her. She keeps her head down when the other two chooks are around, and generally just lays down. Although they have a large yard to roam in, they generally migrate near her -- so I worry about what will happen when they are in close quarters. So far, I've been close by and have preventer or broken up the bullying incidents. Today, they were peaceful with each other, and it seemed order was restored. When I lured the 2 healthy chickens back to the run with scratch, Helga hopped along after them. I didn't let her stay, though -- I want to keep her clean and protected for awhile longer. But for how long?

    Helga won't be able to perch, and probably won't be able to get up into the henhouse (18-inches up). She could settle in under the henhouse, which would give her protection on 2 sides. Is this good enough? I'm still not sure what attacked 3 weeks ago -- probably a raccoon, which could figure out how to open the gate. I now shut the henhouse at night, so there is protection within the fence. A rat could get in thru the chainlink, and Helga would be vulnerable. Any ideas??

    When Helga is ready to go back outside, would this be a good time to add a 4th hen? The pen is 4x12 feet, and the house is 2x3x3.5. We don't "need" a 4th, and I certainly don't want to crowd the girls. But would it dilute aggression toward Helga if I introduced another chicken then?

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Good to hear she's improving.

    If you could post up another shot (put link in post and I'll place shot in my reply), in this thread:

    It is helpful to stick to one thread (almost didn't see this one).

    Keep her separated for the time being. Once she's out and `about' , a ramp or steps in front of coop door should be enough for her to get in and out.

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