Silkie leg trouble

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TurtleFeathers, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. TurtleFeathers

    TurtleFeathers Fear the Turtle!

    842
    16
    151
    Jan 9, 2009
    By the Chesapeake Bay
    Hi all -

    This could get alittle long, so let me apologize in advance...

    Let me start by saying, I have a group of 8 silkies who hatched last October - they have never been outside because of the cold weather over the winter. I'm waiting on my chicken house to be completed as we speak (we're running a bit late because of construction delays).

    Anyway, back in late January, I found my beautiful 3 month old grey silkie pullet sitting on the floor of the indoor pen, and it looked as if she was sitting on an egg. I thought she was a tad too young for eggs at that point, but I'm new to chickens, so I wasn't sure. I tried to get her to move, and wasn't surprised when I didn't find an egg - but I was surprised to find that she couldn't stand, and was having trouble moving her legs. She didn't seem to be able to use her feet at all. Her legs and feet looked absolutely normal - no cuts, no sores, no bleeding, no swelling, no redness, nothing, so I was very confused.

    I separated her from the flock immediately, and not knowing what to do, I put her in a hospital cage on heat, thinking she was probably going to die, if not from whatever was wrong, but from the stress of it all. She sat in a basket with food and water right in front of her and slowly improved.

    It was about late February before she started to walk again. By mid March she had improved so much, I thought it was time to introduce her back into the flock. I did so at night while it was dark and everyone else was asleep. The next day, I found that the whole flock was nervous, and my grey pullet was limping on her right foot - of course, I separated her from the flock again, and put her back into the hospital cage and turned on the heat. Her foot and leg appeared to be absolutely normal, same as last time.

    And here we are in mid April (she's 6 months old now), and she's still in the hospital cage. She IS standing on her own, but she has a little trouble balancing on one leg - she's still not using that foot, except to lean on. Her foot and leg look absolutely normal, and her muscle tone is the same as in the other leg, but its like she can't control her toes - sometimes they're curled, sometimes they are spread out like normal, but she doesn't use the foot to walk.

    I don't know what to do - its been almost 4 months now since all this started. I'm having trouble finding a vet that will even SEE chickens, and anyone I talk to with chicken experience tells me that I should put her out of her misery (afterall, "its only a chicken" grrrr....). I can't bring myself to put her down because she eats and drinks like a little feathered pig, her eyes are bright and her attitude is good - and needless to say, she's become *extremely* tame with all the extra attention she gets. She improved once, so I have it in my head that she could improve again. My other silkies will be going outside very soon and I would very much like her to go outside with them, but I'm afraid to put her back with the flock, for fear they'll beat her up (I guess its that "survival of the fittest" thing).

    Does anyone have any experience with such a thing? Any advice or suggestions? Am I fighting a losing battle here? Or is there hope for my little grey girl?

    Thanks so much -

    Kathy
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    460
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I don't know the answer to you question, although I am wondering if she might have Marek's. Lots of good info on here about it, it can cause paralysis, it is a herpes type infection.

    There are several questions folks will ask: type of feed, treats, have they ever been outdoors or do you bring grass and dirt in for them, type of bedding that occur to me offhand.

    Here is a link to one of the threads here that talks about what is claimed to be a treatment for Marek's (I have no knowledge of whether it is effective:)

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=135247

    And this will bump your post so hopefully others will chime in.
     
  3. TurtleFeathers

    TurtleFeathers Fear the Turtle!

    842
    16
    151
    Jan 9, 2009
    By the Chesapeake Bay
    I looked up Marek's when this first happened. I'm not saying its not Marek's, but these chicks have NEVER been outside. They hatched last fall and by the time they were old enough to go outside, it was entirely too cold. They've never been exposed to other birds, and to my knowledge, the flock that their eggs came from had been vaccinated. I understand that there are different strains of Marek's tho? Kinda like the flu in humans and kennel cough in dogs? So its possible that if you vaccinate for one or several strains, there could be strains that won't be affected? Can Marek's be transmitted thru the egg?

    I'm sorry, I forgot to include info on diet, etc... My chickens are all eating non medicated chick starter, and have been since they hatched. We started out on crumbles, but last time I had feed delivered, they sent pellets by accident, and my chickens didn't seem to mind, so I kept them on pellets. (I'll soon be switching over to layer feed - we're just using up the last of the starter feed as we speak).

    As I said, my silkies have never been outside - and as "indoor only" birds, I don't tend to give them treats other than alittle cracked corn now and again, because I'd rather their droppings not be loose for cleaning purposes. I'm waiting on my hen house thats being built - once they go outside, I was going to start varying the diet and giving treats more. As of right now tho, their bedding is pine shavings, and they've never come into direct contact with grass, hay, straw, dirt or anything else from outside. Not to mention, my other 7 silkies are fine - I have no reason to believe they're in anything other than excellent health. But now I'm wondering, can I transmit Marek's to my chickens on my skin, clothing and/or shoes?

    Very interesting link/thread, BTW. If this treatment is effective, its a shame that its not widely publicized. But then again, many vets simply don't believe in homeopathic treatment and dismiss herbs and such as nonsense - and because chickens are cheap and easily replaced, I guess some keepers won't go thru the trouble to save a sick one. I think its worth a try tho!

    Thanks so much for your information - oh, and thanks for the bump, too!

    Kathy
     
  4. spydertoys

    spydertoys Chillin' With My Peeps

    933
    3
    141
    May 19, 2008
    Munfordville, Kentucky
    I had a young Roo that had a similiar problem. He could not stand on one of his legs at all. I thought he would have to be culled but I caged him for more than six weeks so that the others couldn't keep running him over. He of course ended up with the name "Limpy"..lol.
    He is now a big beautiful boy with no limp whatsoever. I never did figure out how he got injured so badly, but I'm glad I kept him.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    460
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:You're most welcome. And of course I am not saying it IS Marek's, either. I don't have the faintest idea.

    I do recall reading here recently that once you get chicks that have been vaccinated, all future ones must be, too, because the vaccination actually causes the vaccinated chick to shed live virus which the unvaccinated can then get sick from. I have no way of verifying whether this is true, and can't even come up with where I read it. I do recall that, yes, there are several strains, and vaccination does not protect against all. I have no idea whether you could bring it in on your clothing, etc., nor do I know about what can be transmitted thru the egg. I just never had a problem like yours, so bits and pieces of info have stuck, and others have not.....

    Yeah, and vets are not the only members of the medical community that tend to dismiss alternative therapies like herbs, chiropracty, and many more, at least til they have to accept them....

    I do wish you the best of luck with your chicks!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by