Update: Hen hasn't walked in almost 6 wks

Chicken Chat

14 Years
Jul 19, 2009
Southern Illinois
I have never had this happen to any of my chickens before, but Saturday, I noticed one of my bantam cochin hens was having a hard time trying to walk. When I examined her, she had a nasty gash on her right leg, just below the bend on the back side of the leg. Her other leg was a tiny bit irritated but ok, I guess it was from the way she was walking. I took her inside, washed the legs and poured some peroxide on the gash to try and get any debris out and then applied some bag balm to it. I didn't want to give her any antibiotics at the time since the wound did not look or smell infected, no swelling. That was the last day she has walked.
I would guess she is about 5 years old (I got her and several others from a couple that didn't want to keep chickens anymore and were just going to let them fend for themselves, released in their woods, so they couldn't tell me how old the flock was). I have had her for 3 years. On Saturday, she looked otherwise healthy, no discharge and her vent area was clean, very alert.
She ate very hearty on Saturday (I have had her in the house since then), ate ok on Sunday, but not as good as Saturday. Monday, she was shivering and when I went to pick her up that morning, she was really hot with fever but the wound still looked good, no swelling or redness or change in smell. I gave her a 1/4 cc injection of pen G, IM. She didn't want to eat much at all, but I was able to get a bit of yogurt in her and some water dripped onto her beak. I figured it was because of the fever, she wasn't hungry. Tuesday, she didn't feel as hot, almost normal, the pen G must have started to kick in. She has had injected antibiotics for 3 days now. I have to really try hard to get her to eat even a little bit. I have tried all her favorites just trying to get her to eat.
She lays with her feet out in front of her and I have to prop her with a towel so she doesn't fall over. I am doing (physical therapy) on her legs, to keep them limber. She can curl her toes but she won't move either leg. The wound looks like it is healing, it's a bit smaller. I have no idea what happened to her or how long her leg was like that. I watch my flock every morning when I let them out, making sure nobody is picking on anyone and that everyone is acting normal. Sometimes I wish chickens weren't prey species and insist on hiding their pain until it gets bad! I feel like a lousy mom for not noticing sooner.
I made her a sort of chair to help get her off her bottom and maybe get those legs working. Sorry if the quality isn't great, I took this with my cell phone this am.

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Oh, I forgot to add, I am trying to do the vit. B therapy but I don't know if I am getting enough in her since she will only eat a little for me. I have it in her water too but she isn't really excited about water to much either. I am having to drop it on her beak. This morning was the first day she drank on her own. It was right after I gave her a bit of pinched off bread so I figured it was a little dry and she needed water to wash it down. She was interested in eating the bread, so at least she got something in her along with a little yogurt and 1/2 a cut of grape.
None of the other chickens are sick, they are on layer crumbles. They get a bit of oats, a little seed, cut up boiled egg and cut up apples in the morning when I let them out. About two months back, everybody got a dose of Ivomectin pour on because I found scaly leg mites on one of my silkies so everybody got treated. Coops cleaned out and dusted with poultry dust. I watched everyone closely for reactions since I have never used it before, but everyone is ok, and scales are clearing up.

I found her actually laying on top of her feet like a normal chicken this morning when I got up, she had moved herself inside the crate from where I placed her before going to bed, so I think maybe that could be a good sign. She still wasn't crazy about any food I offered to her this morning and she seems to sleep a lot. She has not layed an egg since I brought her in. I checked her bottom for maybe egg impaction, no swelling, no egg bits in vent, so I don't think that is it. There are no avian vets in my area, chickens are throw away animals around here, which makes me sick.

Has anyone else went through this? Any ideas of what else I can do. She is such a sweet baby, very tame and likes to cuddle. I don't want to give up on her. I just don't understand why she can move her feet but won't stand or walk. I don't know if she has some underlying cause that maybe led to the leg injury or the leg injury is the reason she won't move her legs. I'm not sure if the Pen G is making her feel awful and not wanting to eat, but I need to finish the round of antibiotics especially when she had a fever. I think for injury it is recommended to give antibiotic for 3 to 4 days, my books are at home. We are on 3 days worth so far, should I give her a few days worth extra? Anybody know?

Thanks in advanced, I am just so worried about her.
I have a Cochin living inside the house for two weeks with the same issue. She eats and drink, can move her legs but can't stand or walk. Trying everything, but she just won't stand. I like your chicken chair how did you put that together? Hopefully our birds will come out of this.
Thanks Daisy. If mine would just get back an appetite I think I would feel better about her situation. If it wasn't for the injury and fever from infection, I think it would be easier to try and figure out the other symptoms, but I don't know if they are related. When I get home, I will take a picture of the chair without her in it from above so you can see it a bit better. I think it turned out pretty good for her. She seems comfy in it. I don't leave her in it when I'm not home just in case she gets hung up in it, however she doesn't even try to get out of it, so I guess it is working. This morning, she pooped while in it and I was worried I didn't trim enough from the back part to clear the vent area but it fell straight down which helps to keep her bottom clean.
I'm thinking of your little girl too.
I was going to go to Lowes to get some pvc to put a frame together for a sling but then I remembered I already had a pvc cube put together that is one of my cat's toys. It was used for a hammock thing, so perfect.
Here is a picture of it from above. It's fleece so it's nice and soft and won't unravel. I angled the front so it is a little higher so she is in more of a natural position. I cut out leg and vent areas from a rectangle and added side panels so she wouldn't fall out if she leaned. The front is sewed but I left the back open in case I had trouble getting her legs and spurs out. Those I have safety pinned in the back.

Here is one from underneath.

Here is one from behind, notice the angle. Never mind the rope cat scratch pole.

She really enjoys the sling and makes it easy to do her leg exercises. I'm thinking about making another so the other could be laundered in between.
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:)Thanks for the pictures it's very creative. I am going to try that tomorrow night, it makes perfect since. I did leg exercises with her tonight she is pretty receptive to the whole thing. She is eating and drinking I just keep waiting for her to stand up. My husband says the reason she hasn't walked yet is because she is happy to be in the house eating special foods and getting warm soaks. Hopefully she makes a complete recovery and ready to go out to the coop when all our snow melts. Hope your hen perks up soon. Thanks again for posting the photos I am sure it will help others with the same symptoms.
Daisy, did yours have an injury or do you know what happened? Was it sudden?
Yes, she is going to get spoiled with all the attention.

I flexed my baby's bad leg a little bit ago and she curled her toes around my finger, hopefully that is a good sign. The other leg that did not have the injury seems to be a bit weaker, I don't know why. Maybe it just doesn't have as strong as a muscle reaction because it doesn't hurt. I don't know. I try to be very gentle when I flex her legs but I think it's important to try to keep the muscles worked. She still doesn't want to eat very much tonight, she ate a little bit of blueberries, some bread and a little bit of grapes. She really goes for the fruit. I'm afraid to give her too much fruit in case it give her diarrhea but at least she really wants to eat it.
Well she started slowing down over a few days, I can't say what happened whether she just got sick or maybe one of my ducks jumped her? Tonight is the first time in three weeks where she is not wide awake I don't think she is doing well. She's not eating and I gave her some electolytes but she is still not doing anything. In the past when a hen was going down hill it starts with sleepng and not eating I think this is whats happening. It's really a kind of a bummer I really thought she might pull through.

I have lost many birds over the past ten years, but some just get to me. I hope your hen is doing better she looked pretty good in the picture. I am not sure what kind of weather you have but this winter is starting to get old, cold with to much snow my birds are dying to be outside.

I will keep you posted.
I'm sorry your bird is not doing well.

Mine has ups and downs so much, it is starting to get exhausting. She goes a day or two with not wanting to eat anything but a couple of bites a day and I think, when I wake up, she will be gone. Then she'll have a day or two that she starts to eat better and kind of hungry like and then I think, oh, she's coming around, then she stops eating again. She is losing weight and the last couple of days she has had diarrhea really bad. I stopped all fruit and started just giving her pinches of bread (she's not really interested in the dry feed) and thawed frozen corn. She really likes the corn. This afternoon she finally has a more solid poop but she gets it all over her bottom because she can't move around. She hates the butt baths. She ate a couple bites of finely chopped spinach and about 5 bites of corn this morning for me but hasn't wanted anything since. She's asleep in her swing at the moment, she sleeps a lot but I guess she needs it to recover. I just keep willing her to get up..... I hate fighting something when I don't even know what this is or what is causing it.

Here in southern Illinois, we have had a really cold and snowy winter this year. Snow every week and ice on top of it. The birds were getting a little cabin fever there for awhile, but the last couple of weeks has started to warm up a bit during the day and I've already found new "gator holes" around the chicken yard so I guess they are taking advantage of the brief glance of spring. Where are you at?
Sounds like what my roo had. Vitamins in water & in food, eggs & yogurt with crumbles for 2-3 weeks and soon he was find again. Also gave him meds in his water the 1st week, on a Monday & Thursday.

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