1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Silkie with partial paralysis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RoxyBird, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. RoxyBird

    RoxyBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2012
    Sorry for the long post- just trying to include all symptoms up-front. I'm hoping someone can help diagnose this for me.

    I have a silkie who has sudden hindlimb paralysis but no other signs of disease (bright eyes, alert, eating a little, poo is normal, abdomen feels normal/don’t feel an egg stuck/not straining to pass anything). I put her in the bathtub on some folded towels with food in easy reach, so she has some friction/can move around a little. She doesn’t seem to be overly poofy (for a silkie) or in pain… just can’t bear much weight on her legs. She does have a grip reflex when I touch her footpad, and she pulls away if I pinch her toe. She is lethargic, but able to flap & spread her wings for balance when I hold her upright.

    She had a full crop yesterday evening when I found her unable to move, and was acting normal yesterday morning when I left for work, so I know she had been eating recently. Crop was basically empty this morning and she had normal droppings overnight.

    Should I just keep her separated and treat it as an injury/see if she recovers, or should I be getting her tested for Marek’s right away? Her vision is fine from what I can tell and her eyes look bright and normal (they are black, so can’t really tell if there is color variation). Are there other diseases that cause hindlimb paralysis in poultry?

    My flock is from Cackle hatchery- I don’t know if our feed store has them vaccinated for Marek’s or not, but could find out. The other 10 chickens (all are larger, heritage breeds) are healthy and normal. I’m hoping one of the bigger girls just stepped on her and sprained her back or something of the sort- she is always under foot. None of them are aggressive towards her, or any of the others, really… all pretty docile.

    I am lucky enough to work with animal experts- including a large animal vet who sees chickens and a PhD in poultry science, so I have sent emails to them. If I don't hear back I will call my family veterinarian, who does see pet birds and the occasional pet chicken. Thought I would check with the poultry experts first, though.

    Any other ideas/advice?

    Thank you for any help!
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  2. RoxyBird

    RoxyBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2012
    Update: our poultry faculty says that it is extremely unlikely that it's Marek's. Phew on that one.

    Anyone know if birds get back injuries very often? Is it possible she could be egg-bound and not straining?

    She is small (even for a bantam), and she tends to lay eggs with thin shells despite the free access to oyster shell and crushed/dried egg shells in the coop (which she eats both of), so I'm hesitant to mess with her vent or poke around if I don't have to. Not squeamish about it though...

  3. etammy

    etammy Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 10, 2012
    Try putting vitamin B12 and vitamin E in the water for two weeks. Seems they can get vitamin defficent and or Merke's sympthoms which are often neurological, both can benefit from the extra vitamins. Try to keep her eating. Give the vit. B everyday or so and the vit. E less often. The vit. E stays in the body longer, not to muh of eah either. Feed stores sell electrolyte soltion with vitmina also.
    2 people like this.
  4. ilovechickens2

    ilovechickens2 New Egg

    Jan 14, 2013
    Hi RoxyBird, I logged on this afternoon, because I have a hen with a very similar problem. I'll follow your post to see the answers. Our hen is acting like her legs can't support her weight. She walks a short distance, stands, then plops down. She's eating, but not scratching. She is favoring her right leg. When I touched it, she was vocale and squirmed. Not sure what we can do for her. ~Sarah
  5. RoxyBird

    RoxyBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2012

    Thank you for the suggestion! I will stop by the feed store tonight and pick up some vitamins for her water. She was picking at her feed earlier- I thought I'd give yogurt and some cooked eggs a try tonight to see if she's a little more enthusiastic.

    Good luck to you too Sarah!

    Of course, this is the kiddos' favorite bird... which makes the situation a bit more upsetting. *sigh*
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  6. chipolariver

    chipolariver New Egg

    Dec 29, 2013
    Hello, its late December and we have a 2 year old Americana with very similar symptoms. She did have a very soft egg near by when we found her. She could not stand and we have isolated her in a dry warm area. It has been several days with no improvement. We help her eat and drink. This keeps her alive but its no way to live.
    So I am wondering what became of your hen and hoping to hear good news. Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by