Update: "Paralyzed" hen CAN WALK - She laid an egg!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CrazyerThanAverage, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. CrazyerThanAverage

    CrazyerThanAverage Chirping

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    Oct 11, 2010
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    I went into the coop early this AM and found Nit, a 1-2 year old Easter Egger, laying on the floor of the coop with her legs stuck out behind her. She had been on the roost, 10 feet away, last night. When I picked her up, she seemed a bit listless, could only move her legs a little, and could not stand. A quick once over revealed no obvious signs of injury or pain. I put her in a kennel (in the coop) and gave her some food (layer pellets) and water within reach. She drank some of the water. I noticed a bad smell, but didn't have time to investigate if it was from her or if the nearby broody had just let fly.

    When I got back this afternoon, she was alert, might have eaten a little food, had knocked the water over, and had pivoted in place. I refilled the water, which she then drank. Both her back legs appear to be paralyzed. She is using her wings to stabilize herself and to pivot around, although they appear to be weaker than normal. She has poop stuck to her feathers by her vent that may be the source of the foul smell. (The body and head end smell fine.) While I was gone she laid an egg! It had a VERY thin shell. Her last egg was a week ago & normal. (She is my only olive egg layer so I know when she lays.) Again I found no signs of injury or pain. She had a little food in her croup, but it wasn't huge.

    She is in a 40' x 20' coop with a 20' x 20' attached covered run with 29 hens and 1 rooster (lucky guy!). There is straw over concrete in the coop and sand & gravel in the run. They get free access layer pellets, oyster shells, and crushed eggshells. They free range in the yard at least every other day for 1-4 hours. They get scratch, garden/yard greens, and kitchen scraps daily. All the other birds appear healthy, with the exception of a 2year old Buff Orphington that started to limp about 2 weeks ago and seems to be getting better slowly. I have noticed 3 broken thin-shelled eggs (wrong color to be Nit's) in the nesting boxes & coop floor in the last 2 weeks.

    If anyone has any ideas/suggestions, I would greatly appreciate your input. I have no idea what is going on, but would hate to lose her. She is my 5 year olds chicken; hence the odd name. I am going to keep her kenneled and provide pellets and water in the meantime. Might give her a bath tomorrow if her condition is unchanged (or better) and get a better idea about the smell. Here is a picture of Nit when she arrived about 3 1/2 weeks ago. I'll get one of her in the kennel ASAP.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  2. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Songster

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    Are both legs straight out behind her??
    Did there seem to be any other symptoms leading up to the paralysis?

    I am not an expert, but I know that Marek's disease leads to leg paralysis. It is a viral disease. I don't believe that there is any cure, although I think it is possible form them to recover by themselves. You can do some googling for yourself.

    So sorry to hear about her. I had a bird that had similar leg paralysis, and although he was still alert and perky, we knew he wasn't going to get better so we had to put him out of his misery. I know that is not much encouragement but Sometimes we have to face it. Hopefully that doesn't happen to your bird!!

    I would probably recommend getting her away from the other birds, just in case she does have a viral disease.
     
  3. CrazyerThanAverage

    CrazyerThanAverage Chirping

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Oro Valley, AZ
    Here is a picture of Nite in the kennel. She was balancing herself with one wing when I went in, but I disturbed her cleaning up some spilt water before I took the picture, so she moved it back into a more normal position. Her tail has been down all day.
    [​IMG]
    While taking the picutres I discovered that she isn't exactly paralyzed. She can move the legs a little, but it is like they are very stiff. If you try to move them back into the normal under the body position, they don't bend much and she extends them back out behind her. I gave her a scrambled egg about an hour before this picture was taken and she seems to have eaten most of it...So the appetite is good but not great.
    This picture is to answer any vent/poop questions. The vent appears normal and the poop is...as pictured. [​IMG]
    Just in case you wanted a better look. (Or like looking at the bottom of chicken feet!)[​IMG]
     
  4. CrazyerThanAverage

    CrazyerThanAverage Chirping

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Oro Valley, AZ
    Quote:I just posted a picture that shows that, yes, both legs are straight out behind her. Other than not laying an egg for 6 days, no other symptoms. I thought of Marek's also, but on several of the posts I read researching, they said sudden paralysis with no symptoms leading up to it was probably not Marek's. That's why I thought I'd post and see what everyone thinks. I'd love to isolate her, but my only seperate chicken area already has 5 girls in it recovering from IB that are not quite ready to come back to the flock, so she will have to stay kenneled in the coop for now. And my DH would have a fit if I brought a chicken in the house. [​IMG]
     
  5. CrazyerThanAverage

    CrazyerThanAverage Chirping

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Oro Valley, AZ
    Update - Nite was in the same position as I left her last night. On the positive side, she is a little more alert this AM. She is still using one wing for balance, but is extending her neck in a more normal position. She can move the legs a bit more than last night, but can't draw them up under her. She was interested in eating scrambled eggs once I moved her within range. Any advice/opinions would be welcomed. Thanks!
     
  6. RedRoosterFarm

    RedRoosterFarm **LOVE MY SERAMAS**

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    Does not sound like mareks. Maybe spine/back? What if you took twine and made like a baby jumper so keep her off the floor? that way maybe the preasure would be off the legs and you could see if she is getting better. good luck!
    Quote:
     
  7. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Songster

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    I have a hen in somewhat the same situation. We're going on 15 days now. She couldn't stand or walk, but moves her toes. I propped her up on one side with a towel and she laid with her legs out in front of her. They seemed stiff as well. Friday, day 13, was the first day that she actually wanted to lay like a chicken with feet under her. Still can not stand or walk but we are making progress. I don't know why, she is the only one with issues. I do leg exercises on both legs twice a day, she is taking vitamin e and b complex. I have no vets in my area that treat chickens so we are taking it one day at a time. I'm out of ideas, but I think I will crush some tums up and mix in some water when I get home tonight in case it is a calcium issue. The chickens have oyster shells available to them but maybe she wasn't eating any of them. She is not wanting to eat very much and has lost some weight. I keep having to give her different foods to eat, she is being very picky about her food and what she really liked one day, she won't eat the next.

    I hope yours starts to get better. I will follow along for updates. [​IMG]
     
  8. CrazyerThanAverage

    CrazyerThanAverage Chirping

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Oro Valley, AZ
    New Symptom: I gave her a bath just now to clean off the poo stuck to her behind and made a few discoveries. The skin on her "back-side" is very red, I think due to being in contact with the poo. She can't voluntarily move her feet under her body, but I can move them there (that in it self is an improvement) and she seems to be able to maintain her position. Her feet ball up into little balls when I move the legs under her. Of biggest note, she has a very large, hard crop. The amount of food she has had available to her in the last 36 hours could not fill it up as big as it is. Has anyone ever heard of crop issues causing inability to walk?

    I have been massaging her crop as I was booting the computer and getting to this thread. I will give her some olive oil soaked bread before I take her out to the kennel/coup. My dh's first comment when I walked into the house with her and mentioned her crop was large & hard was "does that mean she goes in the soup pot?" When I said "no," he asked "why does the sick chicken have to come in the house?" Fortunately he missed the bath in the kitchen sink, but he did catch me blow drying her in the bathroom. Good thing I love him!

    RedRoosterFarm: There is no where I can poke along her spine that gets a reaction. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have an injury that isn't painful to touch or I haven't touched the right spot. She does seems to be able to move her tail today. She couldn't yesterday, so that is an improvement.

    Chicken Chat: It is very hopeful to me that your chicken has made it that long and seems to be getting better. I'll keep her in my thoughts. Let me know how she progresses.

    [​IMG]**The cat just jumped in my lap, unaware there was a chicken already in it! It's probably a good thing Nit can't move much, since they startled each other (and me!) rather badly. Never a dull moment around here!!

    Anyone know how I can edit the title to this thread?
     
  9. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

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    To edit the title, edit your very first post [​IMG] Hope your hen gets better soon!
     
  10. CrazyerThanAverage

    CrazyerThanAverage Chirping

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Oro Valley, AZ
    Here is a picture of Nit after her bath. You can sort of see her large crop. If she has moved no food since I found her on the floor, it is possible she has eaten enough to account for it's size. Whatever I smelled earlier is either gone now or wasn't from her. I couldn't get her to eat the olive oil soaked bread. She was interested, but must not have liked the taste. You can see the curled up foot. She can maintain her position if I put her legs under her, but if she tries to move, she falls forward and ends up with them stuck out behind her.
    [​IMG]

    New symptom: This AM I squirted about 3 cc of olive oil in Nit's mouth and massaged her crop. Couldn't tell that it made any difference. She has not pooped since I bathed her last night. I did notice that her face is very red. It was not last night. Her behind is no longer red. At this point, I have no idea what is going on. Wish there was a chicken vet in Tucson.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Thanks SpringChickens!
     

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