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!

Sore foot turns into lame dragging leg...help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sonya9, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,250
    144
    191
    Feb 7, 2014
    Jones County, Georgia
    I have a 1 year old ginger bantam. Very healthy and beautiful little hen.

    About 4 days ago she started limping, I checked her foot and it was fine (no sign of injury or bumble foot). As the days progressed she wouldn't use that leg, now it hangs and her foot drags when she walks. She lives in a small flock of 4 other bantams and 2 standard laying hens, no one picks on her and she is eating just fine.

    I do NOT think this is Mareks (long story but I think I have had Mareks in my small flock and this isn't the same). She eats and is very alert, and manages to get on the 6' roosting pole at night but her leg seems well..."dead" at the moment.

    She had a band on that leg from the breeder, it didn't seem tight but I cut it off nevertheless. She is very alert and this does not seem to be a coordination/neurological problem. No obvious signs of injury, no obvious swelling, I can handle the foot fine BUT she complains if I touch her upper leg/hip.

    What should I do? Is this common? What is the best treatment?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,204
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    You stated that she gets on a 6' roosting pole at night. I suspect she injured her leg hopping down off the high roost. High roosts and/or other high places where birds can jump down is the main cause of leg injuries. Lowering roosts down to about 18 inches, eliminating other high places will resolve leg injuries. If they free range, check your property as well.
    Your hen has most likely strained or pulled a ligament or tendon. Put her in a cage and provide her feed and water. She needs rest and relaxation to allow her leg to heal. If she's up moving around there's the possibility of further injuring her leg.
    You can purchase vitamin B complex at a pharmacy, crush a few tablets into powder and sprinkle the powder over her feed to eat. The vitamin B complex may or may not help speed up the healing process depending on the severity of the injury. Do this for 5 days, then release her from the cage and observe for improvement. If there isnt any improvement, recage her and continue the vitamin B complex for 7 days. Then release her again and observe for improvement. If not, stop the vitamin B complex and recage her.
    Leg injuries may take a week, several weeks, or months to heal, sometimes they never heal. Leg injuries then become a quality of life issue and you'll have to decide what's best for you hen.
    I have had good success with hens, not so good with roosters.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,062
    319
    186
    Oct 23, 2014
    Michiana
    Since her roost is so high and her leg seems dead, I would be concerned that her socket is dislocated. Is there a local veterinarian that knows about chickens that you can take her to? I wouldn't want to guess on that or try to move it around myself.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,204
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    A x-ray might help identify the problem, but could be cost prohibitive.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. saltandpepper2

    saltandpepper2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I went through something very similar last month. I'm almost positive I have mareks in my flock, but it didn't "quite" fit in with the other cases. The rooster was in with some bantams, and had not high roosts, no sharp objects, didn't even free range. I went to check on them, and he was limping severely. I finally caught him and checked out his leg, the joint seemed a tad swollen, but no heat, or pain. Thinking it was a pulled tendon, I put him in isolation with feed, water, etc.... and he literally just wasted away. He would eat a bit, but not much, he lost energy, and became so emaciated and fatigued that I just but the guy down. His leg never got better ( actually got a bit worse) in this three week period. I'm now wondering if it was another case of mareks. Hopefully someone can help you, and perhaps I'll get an answer as well!
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,250
    144
    191
    Feb 7, 2014
    Jones County, Georgia
    Yes, thank you. I think when her foot seemed tender she may have injured it further as a result. She can move it, so I think it likely is a torn tendon. Since she can move it I sure hope it isn't dislocated from the socket, my regular vet doesn't see chickens and the other vet in town is ungodly expensive and I can't afford a few hundred for that right now (plus I don't trust her).

    Will think about adjusting the roosting pole, there is a poop shelf underneath and the poll is high because it keeps the bantams above the laying hens who would push them off. They do not free range, they have a large 40 x 40' pen with netting on top to keep predators out, the birds do not get rough with each other either.

    I will put the little missy in a cat crate in the house for a few days, she won't like that at all but it will rest her leg and she will be warmer. I have a couple of different avian vitamins and will put that in her food.

    Thank you all so much!
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,955
    2,933
    471
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Hopefully it is just a leg injury, but you said you think you have had Mareks in the past. Mareks doesn't go away--it stays in the environment for many years--probably more than seven. Dragging the foot sounds more like paralysis which could be Mareks, but nerves can be affected in leg injuries too. Leg sprains may require caging for 2-3 weeks. I hope she gets better.
     
  8. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,250
    144
    191
    Feb 7, 2014
    Jones County, Georgia
    Yes I know it doesn't go away, it is a herpes virus and infects individuals forever. Those birds with little to no immunity will get sick, and many young birds are very susceptible when stressed. I have heard that if people stopped vaccinating for Mareks it would stop being a problem (i.e. breeding for resistance).

    This bird is a year old and not stressed, I don't think it is Mareks, she isn't losing coordination she is just limping badly on one leg. The breeder I got her from also said she thought she had Mareks in her flock, she had a hundred or more beautiful bantams of various ages. Both of us have very healthy birds, but that doesn't mean the birds weren't exposed to it and carrying it. I have two 8 week old EE's now and because they are so young and susceptible to stress I am being very careful to introduce them slowly to the flock, stress in young birds is the most common cause of fatal Marek incidents.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  9. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,250
    144
    191
    Feb 7, 2014
    Jones County, Georgia
    Update, after a week and a half she is showing real progress.

    At first I was worried it could be a Mareks flair up, but after 2-3 days she started standing on one leg which takes quite a bit of coordination. I was also worried about a dislocated hip, I gently felt both hips to compare and they both felt/moved the same way, never seen a dislocated hip before but I would expect it to feel and move differently (accompanied by a lot of pain).

    Today she started to uncurl her bad foot for the first time so she seems to be progressing well (I think the injury is at the top of the leg or hip though, and the curled foot is just a symptom of weakness/pain). I also ground up some oyster shell and a collagen tablet and add a little to her food to give her bones/tendons a healing boost.

    I hope another week or so in isolation will do it, though she is being very very good in her little cat carrier and doesn't complain, when the weather is nice I set her out with the flock so she can get some sun and visit with her friends (and also so they remember her when she returns full time).

    Thanks again for all of the great advice!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  10. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,062
    319
    186
    Oct 23, 2014
    Michiana
    Glad she is doing better. Thanks for letting us know.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by