In the Brooder
6 Years
May 8, 2013
Hi all,
I've been having all sorts of trouble with my ISA Brown - she wasn't forming shells on all her eggs, so couldn't lay them (sometimes up to 4 in one day) She was wormed, and was on antibiotic, which we realised last week wasn't working, so the vet gave her a hormone implant to stop her laying for a while. On Sunday morning she was really wobbly on her legs, she seemed a little drunk, and was dropping one wing. We took her back to the vet on Monday and he thought she most likely has rickets and gave her a shot of vitamin D, and we've been giving her extra calcium since. He said she may have something else (like Mareks or I think Leukosis) and that we would be able to tell in a few days.

Today, Tuesday, she's much worse on her feet, tips backwards, rolls over and is having real trouble walking. She's still eating and drinking.

I was just wondering if anyone had experienced anything like this? Can rickets get worse after treatment before it gets better ? I love my chook, it's awful to see her like this, and not know if she's going to die. If anyone's had any similar experience it would be really wonderful to hear it.
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Do you have her on a poultry vitamin pack?

I don't know what is causing her imbalance but thought this link might be helpful.


I would try feeding her scrambled eggs as they are very nutritious.

Hopefully it isn't Mareks or avian leukosis.
I don't have her on a vitamin pack, I'll look into it. The vet thought what I was feeding her should be enough (she gets organic mash, greens, grated carrot & beetroot, yoghurt & free ranges all day). I've given her some scrambled eggs with powdered shell in it. She's on a calcium supplement and had the vitamin D shot. I'm just hoping that it's possible she could have gone downhill after the shot. I'll look at those links too, thanks so much.
does this look like Marek's or leukosis to anyone? She tends to keep both legs partly under her, so I'm hoping it's still rickets, but if anyone's had Marek's & knows for sure, I'd be grateful.
The way she is holding her feet looks like how mine did (Marek's) - does she curl them up when you pick her up? But... I don't know if that is something specific to Marek's or if it has to do with how weak they were.

One thing I would suggest is to weigh her if you have a digital kitchen scale. It's useful to know how much she weighs and if she is gaining or losing weight.
Thanks for replying. Sometimes she does curl them up when she's picked up. She weighs about 2kg, hasn't lost any weight yet, but she's eating less today. I'm terrified of Marek's. Rickets causes weakness too, I think. What does the curling up mean?
Thanks @ChickensAreSweet. She doesn't look like the birds with vit e or vit b deficiency, but I started mixing nutritional yeast in with her yoghurt yesterday morning just in case. This morning she is very quiet and pushes back on. Her legs in a way that just pushes her backwards, if that makes sense. I,m going to stay home with her again today (I'll end up losing my job over this chicken I've spent so much time home and and at the vets with her!). If she pulls through I'll make a post of everything that happened (she's even had an implant to stop her laying) in case that's halpful to anyone. Her neck is really bunched up, it's a bit like she can't straighten it. She looks up at me quizzically when I cry, she's so sweet I'd hate to lose her.
I am on a phone so can't post at length at the moment but if you have time you might look at the Trousers thread linked in my signature... not his first symptoms, but the ones after he developed leg paralysis. See if they sound like your hen or not? I know how you feel... :(
That was absolutely heartbreaking. It does sound a bit the same. I keep hoping she'll come good and seeing positive changes, but I think I might just be imagining them. Thanks for letting me know about Trousers. My Tunes does eem to be pretty similar with her legs. I have her in a laundry basket so when she has to poo she backs up into the plastic and that keeps her upright and pretty clean. Her legs seem a little stronger today, but she's not eating much and maybe they're stiffer than they were. It's so awful how there's hope and then none. Thanks for sharing.

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