temporarily paralyzed chickens, what is this?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by howlingwoodsfarm, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Ok I am starting to worry. Last week one of my BLRW pullets jumped down from a roost like 3 ft off the ground, she landed and just laid on her side. I am a nurse, so I could tell she had not broken anything. I stood her up and tried to get her to stand on her own and she just fell over. I put her in a carrier and thought she would not make it through the night. The next AM she was walking around. Her legs acted weak, no limping, just walked normal then after a few minutes had to lay down as if she was tired. She is fine now. Yesterday we found a different girl laying on her side, she was not dusting her self, she just could not get up. We put her in the carrier, left her in the coop and within a few hours she was walking around. I did some research including using the search button on here and found merek's and botulism has paralysis as symptoms but would they show like I described? There was no head tilting or spasms or anything, they laid their on their side, eating cracked corn, alert, They are just under a year old? I would like to know what I am up against and have a clue on where to start to make changes. Some background. the girls are inside the coop all day most days. We have like 3 feet of snow on the ground most places and even with theirs and the goats outside area shoveled they don't go out most days. they are on layer pellets with some cracked corn in the evenings on cold days. They get free choice calcium all they want. any other questions needed to give ideas I will certainly answer. Thanks for any help you can give.

  2. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    How very odd - especially that they also recovered after. Usually when a hen won't stand the end is near.
    My only thought would be mild poisoning of some sort, which they then recovered from. Are you sure your feed isn't moldy, etc.?
    Good luck - hopefully someone will be along who can be more help. Chicken health issues can be frustrating!
  3. HMM mild poisoning? I started to use PDZ (stall drying agent) in the chicken coop, I use deep litter method and with warm weather a few weeks ago it was getting moist in there since it is a dirt floor and the melting snow seemed to be getting in. I read someone else used PDZ with their chickens fine. I wonder if it could have been that. My feed is bought a bag at a time since my fiance works at agway and then brought home and stored in a sealed tupperware container, no mold that I can see. I imagine I would be able to smell/see if anything was wrong with it. hmm
  4. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    I know a lot of folks on here use PDZ and I've never heard of it being a problem.
    It sounds like your feed storage system is great, so that's not it...
    It's been mighty nippy here in Vermont the last few days as I'm sure it is up in your parts - how is your coop moisture? If you have high moisture then your girls may be getting chilled, I suppose...I'm just guessing!
  5. Well I am glad it should not be the PDZ doing this. Like I said it got moist in there when it was warm recently and I used the PDZ to try to dry it out. There is some moisture in there. Now that it is cold, yes very cold, it was -15 sun night. -8 last night. Would getting chilled show up like that? I did not take either chicken inside when it happened. They stayed out in the coop and it happened both times in the early afternoon. I have had a 250 watt red light on during the really cold nights. If it is the cold I can certainly add more heat lights, I just want to make sure it is not something else.

  6. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    is this happening only in the morning after they have been roosting?
    Lots of physiological stuff going on in their bodies to deal with the cold... if it were me and it was that cold I would be thinking about altering/adding something to the coop to make the area smaller so the heat of their bodies would help keep them warm... lower the roost also...a smaller space is easier to warm up/retain body heat than a very large space.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  7. It has happened both times in the early evening. Like I find them around 2-4pm, then by next AM they are ok. I found the same girl again yesterday, she was in the goat area of the shed and she looked to have gotten trampled by the goats(they are only maybe 20lb at the most). thought for sure this time she was a gonner. I put her in the cat carrier and put her kinda under the heat light and thought she woudl be dead for sure.. again this am.. she was not only alive, she hopped out of the carrier, drank some water.. then went immediately over to the nest box and laid an egg. I am planning to build a nice big coop in the spring. Right now I am using the building that was on the property when I bought this place a few months ago. It was used as a horse shed so it is big and has high ceilings, maybe 10 ft one side 8 ft other. I will build my new coop with lower ceilings and plus there will be many more chickens in it to warm things up. So you think it was just them being cold? I really thought some of the others would be acting the same then. I have 7 leghorns and none have been affected. Only ones this happened to was a BLRW and a EE. hmm.. makes me wonder...

  8. verthandi

    verthandi Songster

    May 18, 2007
    Maybe try not feeding the corn for a couple of days? Corn can have several different types of fungus that isn't always visible.

    Am I understanding that this is only happening late afternoon and the next morning they are okay? Sounds like it might be related to their daytime habits somehow....possibly??? Is there anything else around the area that they are in that might be toxic? I'm thinking fly spray, or other livestock chemicals that the former owners might have used.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  9. Yep they get "sick" in the evening and we segretate them for the night in a cat carrier and leave them in the coop and by the next AM when we get out to feed everyone they are walking around the cat carrier, like i said this last time she hopped out of the carrier, drank and then went and laid an egg. I honestly don't know about chemicals, we have not used anything what so ever in there except the PDZ and they had been in there for about 2 month before the first girl did this "trick". I am not sure if i can NOT feed corn for a few days. It has been -15 and around there for a few nights.... and they probably really need that corn to make it through the night... also I am not sure how to determine if it is the corn, it happens so sporatically..a new bag I guess would determine that.... I guess since no one is dying we will just deal with it as it comes, and make it through winter until we can build the new coop and change everything around. Thanks all for your suggestions... I thought it was very odd also that is why I posted, the symptoms don't match anything I have read..

  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    You never know, maybe it is hypothermia. I think minus anything is cold, Zero is 32 degrees below freezing.
    I would try making a smaller area, maybe with a tarp, and leaving a heat lamp on 24-7. It could be that they are colder during the day because they are not huddled together all day.
    When people freeze to death, they slowly get more and more sleepy then finally go to sleep and die.

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