Skinny, Small + Stumbly.. Sophie's Story -Will she walk again??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickieMandy, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. ChickieMandy

    ChickieMandy Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Long Island, New York
    Hi Everyone,

    My name is Amanda, and I'm new to the Chicken Mom life.. but have learned a lot in the last 3 months.. mostly from coming on here and reading ENDLESSLY! So to start - thank you for all those avid posters out there, and story sharers!

    I plan to post more on my flock, building our coop, and other things in time.. but today I'm here to talk about our little Sophia (aka Sophie-Butt, Lil Princess.. etc)

    Sophie is a Brown Leghorn, we picked her up when she was less than a week along with some friends and the journey began.

    1 wk- 7 wks
    From when we first got Sophie, she was always the smallest one. Very cute, and very sweet, but smaller than the others. I took the chickies out every night to play, she was always one of the first to hop on my lap and snuggle. Ate whenever I gave her food, hung out with the group, and acted quite normally.

    ~8 wks - May 6th
    Just shy of 8 weeks, I come home from work one night to find her upside down wedged between the side of the box and a cardboard box. For a second I was afraid she was dead, but when I flipped her over she popped right up and seemed fine, maybe a bit wobbly.

    Later that night:
    I took out the chickens for play time and could immediately see Sophie wasn't doing well, stumbling and falling over. At first I thought perhaps the others pecked her when she was upside down or maybe the blood went to her head and she was struggling getting her equlibrium up. We brought her upstairs by us for isolation and careful watching that night.

    May 7th
    Her spirits were good and I watched her closely for symptoms:

    Symptoms May 7th:
    - Disorientation/Imbalance - stumbling, but still getting around.
    - Slow development - others feathering was a bit further along, baby fuzz sticking around.
    - Comb was very small and coming in floppy and crooked
    - Scary skinny, she was always so small, but its as if she never gained the weight. Shes all feathers and this is so sad. (She weighed ~ 1lb, 4oz maybe at this point)

    Poop normal,
    Personality Normal,
    Eyes normal,
    No bugs/mites/ticks found
    Checked for injurys on both legs, and tried to determine if it was one leg of both she was fall on (both)
    Appetite strong

    I feared Mareks or another disease, but after almost 2 weeks her condition remained pretty unchanged! We were leaning mostly toward malnourishment and vitamin deficiency.

    Some adorable pics of Sophie from between May 6th and May 11th:









    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  2. ChickieMandy

    ChickieMandy Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Long Island, New York
    OK So although her spirits were good we kept her isolated to watch the wobbly...

    May 7th- 19th
    She had been staying up in Hotel Our Room, mostly in a big cardboard box but when we were around we would let her out.
    She would follow me between rooms, If I left her in the room on the floor on towels or laundry, I would come back to find she made her way up on to the bed. She could run, jump and more... but still not balanced.
    I took her outside on the 14th and she spent the day happily with the other chickens free ranging (supervised), just a bit wobbly, and the other chickens were happy to see her, (especially Serenity!).
    I took her out again on the 19th, and this time our rooster wanted nothing to do with her, and chased her two times (even from across the yard when I had her!)

    May 20th-
    Her ability to stand/walk rapidly was diminishing... she would get herself up on the bed, then go towards the end and fall off and other crazy moves! We stopped letting her roam as much...

    May 22nd
    Within a few days walking stopped altogether. She seemed weaker than ever, unable to even stand/hold herself up. Still scary skinny, at this point only weighing about 1lb, 4.5 ounces. As the other chickens started bulking up and getting meatier there has been little improvement in Sophies weight. Hope was at its lowest at this point. Constant fear of losing her any day.

    Dewormed her at this point using a couple drops of Durvet Safeguard 22nd, 23rd and 24th.
    Giving her Electrolytes and Probiotics in her water sporadically.
    Feeding her as much as possible, including a mash of:

    -Organic Chick Starter/Grower
    -Egg yolks
    -Rolled Oats

    Made a few variations of this over the weeks.. Yogurt was good during the deworming process.

    Some photos of Sohpie during this time:

    Chillin with her peeps
    Sophie and Serenity have always been close :)

    Sophie and Willow are sisters


    One of last photos of her standing... :-/ I miss those days!

    Straggly looking... but featehrs improving over the week prior

    Sweetest little snuggling chickie...




    Two weeks after her being up with us we noticed some improvements in her physical appearance, ecen though so skinny! Will report more in next port!
    More to come...

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  3. ChickieMandy

    ChickieMandy Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Long Island, New York
    May 26th
    We get determined for her to start showing improvement, we gave her a few days of rest, but really need her to walk again. It's as if she never knew how. Cant hold herself up even just to sit. For a day or two I held her outside and helped her "Walk" but was starting to hurt myself bent over chasing the chicken and decided to get inventive by making a "Chicken Harness".

    Since she is so small a typical chicken harness wouldn't cut it, so I decided to make something custom.
    Using a piece of strong tapestry fabric with cording I was able to create a little custom harness for Sophie to get her moving again.
    Nothing fancy, but this did the trick of allowing Sophia to feel like she can walk, and therefor continue to try!

    The first few times in the harness I felt like I was dragging her along a bit and it was clear to tell she wasn't using her toes properly, curling in and walking on curling feet, only occassionally straightening them out.

    May 30th
    Memorial Day we had family outside with us urging the little chicken to walk!! I felt like this marked the day I really felt like she was pushing herself up on her own without my help! So proud of her!

    Along with the harness... I had been doing some other workouts with her.
    "Physical Therapy" moves
    • Leg extensions - I would push her feet up into rest position, then open again, over and over again so she felt the motin to :get up:
    • Snuggle Incentives - I started to realize that often her biggest motivation was getting back into my lap and used it to our anvantage! One of the best workouts I do with Sophie and putting her down facing me a few feet away and watching her try to push herself up and stumble back in my lap. Helped her A TON in the beginning, keeping her balaned when sitting, then helping her feel her way "up". Often she pushes herself back instead of up and ends up on the hocks or on her side.
    • Clicker Training - I started this before she could'nt walk at all and for a few days feared I couldn't do training with her ever again. After seeing a smidge of improvement after a few days in the harness I gave her another shot at Target training using a clicker. The cracked corna nd mealworms are quite the motivator!
    • Chicken Harness - When using the harness I try my best to let her feel like its her doing the work, watching her body language closely for cues for which direction she wants to run (watch the head) and alternate holding it higher up and lower to let her feel the wieight of her body. I can tell when she gets tired cause he gets a bit fussy with the harness. ALSO - simply holding her up in the harness to simulate standing is helpful as well!

    (Did I ever imagine I'd be a crazy chicken mom doing physical therapy with one of her little chickens?? No... but I wouldn't change a thing!)

    June 1st:
    Comparing her to when she first came in isolation we felt a bit better seeing some development happening, regardless of weight. Physical Therapy is going slowly.. but I feel bits of progress here and there...

    Some positive changes we noticed at this point:
    • Her comb was bigger, and had straightened out from the little crooked thing that started!
    • The feathers on her face and body were coming in fuller and better now, While still skinny she doesn't look quite as straggly. People who see her randomly always comment how beautiful her feathers are now!
    • Tailfeathers - more and longer
    • Still holds her wings up pretty strong! But not flapping them often.
    • Her beak had grown, and her tiny tooth FINALLY broke off!!
    • Her wattles started coming in, plus I can see a red tinge coming in

    Some photos for this time...

    i Love my little chicken!!



    Comb bigger and straight, beak larger, face feathers looking lovely!!
  4. ChickieMandy

    ChickieMandy Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Long Island, New York
    So looks like this is turning more into a "Crazy Chicken Mom Journal" lol... but I will continue....

    My last update was just about 2 weeks ago...

    June 2nd-5th
    Regular physical therapy seems to be helping! She seems more able to push herself up at this time.
    • Weigh In- 1lb, 5.2oz
    I have been weighing her pretty regularly... seems to stay around 1lb 5oz... Would really feel better knowing she was gaining weight!!
    After a nice big feeding one night, she was even 1lb 6oz!!!
    • Weigh In - 1lb 6.0oz

    June 6th-9th
    I had to travel for work, and wasn't around for all the extra chicken care! My BFs mom came and checked on Sophie during the day, while BF cared for her at night, but during this time she was not getting the food/exercise she had been getting...

    June 9th:
    I returned from my trip, beyond excited to see my chickens! Everyone outside was happy... but going inside this was a very hard night with Sophie...
    Not sure if it had to do with stepping away, but all of a sudden it was clear to see just how pathetic she was and it broke my heart. This was my saddest day so far:
    • Weigh-In: 1lb 4.0oz
    After that weigh in I felt SO DEFEATED. It had been a month and she hasn't gained anything... being away for 3.5 days felt like losing a whole month of progress...
    At this point, BF and I finally started talking about a timeline for her, and if she will ever recover, and how long we should wait to see improvements....
    As if she heard our whispers... that chicken ate herself back to 1lb 6oz THAT NIGHT!

    June 10th-13th
    Since my return from FL I feel like this chicken has been eating to prove a point!! Her weight has stayed close to 1lb 6oz, if not exceeding it!
    • June 12th - Weigh In - 1lb 7.7oz!
    • June 13th - Weigh In - 1lb 7.4oz!

    WOW!! First time in a month the weight is truly increasing. I can finally start to feel a little bit of meat on her bones (just a little!) plus Sophie has been trying to use her legs more, (aka launching herself up or pushing ferociously to get in my lap... etc)

    Some people have been calling me crazy for spending so much time nursing this little chick back to healthy... Maybe I am, but who can just give up on this face??
    [​IMG] - Me with the chicken Harness going for a walk with Sophie!

    [​IMG]She LOVES snuggling with us at night

    [​IMG]she is finally TRYING to use her legs more... need to build more strength!


    [​IMG] #chickieobsessed
  5. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2016
    What a touching story. Please don't give up on her. She clearly wants to get better. Could her symptoms be sure to a vitamin deficiency? I am sure having to do so much extra to keep her going is a hardship. I an verymuch rooting for her and watching this thread closely for developments.

    Edit: There is nothing crazy about spending time and energy saving a life that wants to live. You are doing the right thing for your peace of mind and for the bird, that little chicken clearly is in good hands.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  6. Woobsie

    Woobsie Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is very sweet. Please keep doing what you are doing. Egg yolk, yogurt or butter milk soaked in some bread does wonders too.
    I just spent a huuuge fortune on 2 of my 50 chickens trying to figure out what is wrong and nursing them bith back to health and they are doing very well! Tehy know when you love them and they know when you give up on them
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  7. mbphotos09

    mbphotos09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2015
    Watching Chicken TV...
    She is precious! [​IMG] You are doing a great job with her. She knows she is loved! I will be following this story.
    1 person likes this.
  8. suzannef

    suzannef Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 16, 2014
    Don't worry crazy chicken lady - you are not alone! I get it too. Lots of us do. I just spent a month nursing one of our beloveds until finally last weekend I had her euthanased. We were soooooo sad. Now nursing another one, in lots of the ways you are describing. I dont' care what people think. I love my chooks. LOVE them :) :) Your birdie is super cute. Good luck with her. I'm sure she'll make it. The loving energy you give is so healing. They know...
    2 people like this.
  9. ChickieMandy

    ChickieMandy Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Long Island, New York
    Hi all!!

    Thank you soooo much for the responses! They totally made my day and have come when morale is low... so THANK YOU!

    Her weight has been pretty steadily over 1lb 7oz which is great! I think now the strength training will be the most important!

    The harness is great for when I'm around, but tonight will be working on a "chicken chair" for her to stand in all day with access to the food/water. I can tell that she is definitely getting stronger, and tries to use her legs a lot, and seems to want to stand... GO CHICKIE!
    1 person likes this.
  10. ChickieMandy

    ChickieMandy Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Long Island, New York
    Hi Woobsie!! Your chickies look so sweet! I notived your Columbian Rock, so is my girl, Serenity, and she is the absolute BEST, Sweetest chicken!

    I've done all but the milk soaked bread!! Will add that into the mix to spice things up!
    Also, been taking her outside for some good foraging! Some days she is more into it than others! lol

    So glad your chickens recovered, gives me hope :)
    I know its been a long time, but I'm not giving up on Sophie until SHE gives up!


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