Very broken hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by meriruka, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    Yesterday I agreed to take in a hen with a "back problem".
    I'm pretty horrified at the condition of this girl. As you can see, she stands almost straight up. She can walk, but not easily.
    The former owners tell me she has been this way for 8 months at least and that they believe two roos are responsible for injuring her.

    No vet around here will look at her - I thought an x-ray would give me a better idea of what is going on and whether or not she has healed and most importantly, is she in pain. She eats & poos just fine, she's alert and curious. All of the feathers under her wings are missing. I see no signs of mites or lice, it could be that because she sticks out her wings for balance (sort of like pictures of the way the wings of angels stick out when at rest) it may have rubbed off the feathers.

    Is there any way to tell if this bird is in pain? What should I do for her?
  2. Nif

    Nif Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    If you can afford it and have a good vet that sees chickens then I would definitely do that.
    Would be very hard even for the experts on here to give you sound advice with just a photo.
    But someone might have an idea about how to tell if a chicken is in pain. In my experience with chickens, when they are unhappy at all they pretty much show it, to what extent is the hard thing to judge sometimes.
  3. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    I applaud you for taking an animal that wasn't wanted. If you can keep her isolated, watch for improvement. You said that she's curious. That's a good sign and shows that she still wants to live. Maybe she's become timid from the abuse of her previous flockmates, and just needs better company. Haven't we read posts that recommend NOT putting certain breeds of birds in with other breeds because some Chicken breeds are very docile and others, very aggressive? Before I took her to see a vet, I would consider how you could spend that money on your OTHER birds. I dumped $200 on a hen a few years back. She died anyway, I think from egg compaction. I saved the x-ray and intend to frame it and hang it in DH's law office, because it's interesting. I could have spent that money on horse, dog, or cat food, instead. In Hindsight, I should have done so.
    By advice is JUST what you paid for it, and cheaper than advertising with IMP!! [​IMG]
  4. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2009
    Poor girl. I'm glad you are trying to help her. For right now I would give her Poly Vi Sol vitamins. Get the formula without iron. They are liquid baby vitamins and you can get them at any pharmacy or walmart. Give her 2 drops in the morning and 2 drops at night for at least 2 weeks. She seems pale and this should help. Up her nutrition with chopped greens, 1/2 a scrambled egg per day, some scratch and a little fruit. You don't want to give her diarrhea. Also give her a teaspoon of plain yogurt per day. Mix it with cheerios. She will be able to eat it easier.

    I notice she is in a cage. Has she ever been outside or free ranged? If not make sure she has crushed oyster shells and chicken grit at all times and after she eats some let her out in the sunshine. Watch her so she doesn't go crazy eating the grass and gets an impacted crop. If she has never eaten grass/weeds don't let her eat too much until she eats a fair amout of grit and start her slowly on the grass.

    She might have rickets. Lack of sunshine and vitamin D will cause this.

    Give her lots of TLC and she might come around. If she doesn't I think you will be able to know if she is in pain by the way she acts.

    So wonderful of you to do this. God Bless and my best to both of you.
  5. edselpdx

    edselpdx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Portland, OR
    If she has really been like this for 8 months, an x-ray isn't going to be very helpful unless you're willing to pay for orthopedic surgery to correct any deformities of her spine or pelvis that have healed in place. Pain is best judged by behavior, not an x-ray. My guess about the featherless "wingpits" is because she holds her wings out a bit for balance and has rubbed them off due to the unusual wing positioning and movements, if you are sure there are no external parasites.

    If she's eating, drinking a pooping OK, and doesn't seem to be in pain to you, my guess is she's fine. I'd try her in your coop after a full quarantine period. She probably won't be able to roost on a high roost, and may not be able to negotiate ramps, so may need some assistance. I wouldn't free-range her since she'd be very prone to predators.

    Good luck!
  6. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    Thanks for the help so far's more info:
    I put her in the cage at night so that the two roos that came with her can't try to mate with her. (I only have one place to keep them that doesn't contain any of my other chickens.) The roos look healthy but small.
    The hen spent most of the day under my truck, I put food & water under it with her. I'm going to build her a small fenced run near the others once I'm convinced she isn't carrying anything contagious.
    I am told she used to be out in the yard during the day at her former home but I would guess her diet wasn't the best, so I'll give her some poultry vitamins & some yogurt & boiled egg. I'm feeding her grower pellets because she can't lay eggs & so she probably doesn't need all that calcium.

    Watching her walk is probably more painful to me than to her. She gobbles up treats from my hands and moves around fairly often so I guess she's not in dire pain, but I've been told chickens don't show pain that much.....she's not all huddled up & not moving so I guess it's ok. Just wish I knew for sure.

    I was thinking of getting her a little bantam hen for a companion later on. Think that's a good idea?

    Thanks again everyone!

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