Strange chicken disease?


9 Years
Oct 13, 2010
Hi folks,

Something seems desperately wrong with one of our hens and my landmate--who's raised chickens most of his life--has never seen this before. She's a 2-yr old Americauna/Araucana. The first time she was found like this I'd been away the whole time, now it's happening again. It begins with her unable to move. At first my landmate was convinced she'd broken her back, but on palpation, nothing seemed "wrong" other than she was lying as if she'd been paralyzed. Fully feathered. Fine appetite. Alert and oriented. He separated her, gave her food and water, and expected her to be dead in a few days. Over the course of the next two weeks she gradually began to walk again and when I got home, I couldn't tell which one he was talking about--they all seemed fine. That was in August. Now she's down again. Started by standing funny for a few days. Today I found her laying outside, barely able to get on her feet (though occasionally able to). She was laying in a way that suggested her right side was hurt. Upon picking her there was no pain upon palpation, but we discovered something weird--she's ENTIRELY bone, absolutely NO meat on her. Granted, she's a layer not a fryer, but I'm telling you there is absolutely no muscle mass on this chicken. Not on her breast, not on her legs --nowhere. Feels absolutely weird. Both my landmate and I were entirely puzzled. Her body felt so unrecognizable that it was difficult to check things.

Since she's still alert and oriented and from what we can tell eating normally, we're wondering if she's got some strange nutrient absorption problem. Perhaps not able to assimilate proteins? (The brain runs on sugar and her brain functions seem normal.) All other of our chickens seem normal, including her 3 hatchmates (same breed). Anyone know anything about this and if there are any interventions we can do for her?

Any help appreciated,


co-keeper of 6 Americauna/Araucanas, 5 Americauna/Araucana mixes, 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Australorps, 1 aging Rhode Island Red, 2 Golden Wyandottes, 4 Golden Sex-links, 1 Plymouth, 1 Leghorn, 1 Cornish-cross, 1 Araucana mix rooster, 4 Old English hens and 1 rooster, and 2 chuckers.
If you're sure she's eating normally, i would consider whether she might have worms or mites.

I don't know about the paralysis thing, so there maybe something going on that i have just never heard of.
I don't think it's worms or mites. My land mates familiar with those and says she's presenting totally differently. It's the inability to move and the lack of mass on her that's the most startling. At her worst (which is right now), she looks like she's been stepped on (but shows no sign of that when palpated and recovered fully from the last time this happened....or so we thought).

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