What is wrong with my hen?

JessMay

Songster
Jul 23, 2019
99
115
126
Northwest Illinois
We have a light Brahma hen who we thought has been molting for the last couple of weeks. You can tell from the picture that she has lost feathers and is much smaller than our other light brahmas. I noticed that she has been laying down pretty often and I will catch her lying while eating or pretty much whenever she isn’t standing. I just noticed that her feet look swollen. I’ve never seen this before and I am looking for some advice on what may be wrong with her if anything at all. She acts, eats and drinks normally other than the limping that I just noticed today.
 

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dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Nov 27, 2008
29,367
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Glen St Mary, Florida
We have a light Brahma hen who we thought has been molting for the last couple of weeks. You can tell from the picture that she has lost feathers and is much smaller than our other light brahmas. I noticed that she has been laying down pretty often and I will catch her lying while eating or pretty much whenever she isn’t standing. I just noticed that her feet look swollen. I’ve never seen this before and I am looking for some advice on what may be wrong with her if anything at all. She acts, eats and drinks normally other than the limping that I just noticed today.
How old are your Brahma's?
You're right, she's looking rough. Take a look at the bottom of her feet and see if it's red due to swelling from infection. See if there's a round dark in color scab near or at the center of her footpad. If so, it's bumblefoot and will require minor surgery to remove the staph infection.

Also, depending on her age, she could be in a mini molt. It could happen any time of the year. Full molts usually occur during the fall or winter. Sometimes stress can cause a molt and if she has bumblefoot, it can be a cause of stress. Brahma's look big when they are fully feathered. However, after molting they look pathetically skinny. I know this because I own Light Brahma's.

Also check her for external parasites especially around the vent area. Lice eggs can be seen at the base of feather shafts. Lice are white/off white or straw in color and move quickly through fluff and feathers. Mites move slowly and are black or red in color. They suck blood and cause anemia leading to death. Excessive scratching or feather pulling due to external parasite irritation can be a problem.

If she is at the bottom of the pecking order, she might be getting pecked or picked on by the other birds. They may not let her eat neither. If this is the case, it would be best to put out an extra feeder in another area of the pen away from the other birds and their feeder.

Have you seen her feathers or fluff laying on the ground from molting? If not, where are they? If you dont see them, either she is eating her own feathers and fluff or the other birds are eating them.
That would suggest that your Brahma's need extra protein in their diet. You can give them Gamebird feed which is higher in protein. Withhold the layer feed and give them Gamebird feed for one month. Then slowly wean off the Gamebird feed them back to regular layer feed.

Lastly, there could be a feather picker in your flock. You'll have observe your flock for the feather picker. Then cull the feather picker. If you dont, the other birds will learn from the feather picker and will start picking at each other or the lowest bird in the pecking order.
 

JessMay

Songster
Jul 23, 2019
99
115
126
Northwest Illinois
How old are your Brahma's?
You're right, she's looking rough. Take a look at the bottom of her feet and see if it's red due to swelling from infection. See if there's a round dark in color scab near or at the center of her footpad. If so, it's bumblefoot and will require minor surgery to remove the staph infection.

Also, depending on her age, she could be in a mini molt. It could happen any time of the year. Full molts usually occur during the fall or winter. Sometimes stress can cause a molt and if she has bumblefoot, it can be a cause of stress. Brahma's look big when they are fully feathered. However, after molting they look pathetically skinny. I know this because I own Light Brahma's.

Also check her for external parasites especially around the vent area. Lice eggs can be seen at the base of feather shafts. Lice are white/off white or straw in color and move quickly through fluff and feathers. Mites move slowly and are black or red in color. They suck blood and cause anemia leading to death. Excessive scratching or feather pulling due to external parasite irritation can be a problem.

If she is at the bottom of the pecking order, she might be getting pecked or picked on by the other birds. They may not let her eat neither. If this is the case, it would be best to put out an extra feeder in another area of the pen away from the other birds and their feeder.

Have you seen her feathers or fluff laying on the ground from molting? If not, where are they? If you dont see them, either she is eating her own feathers and fluff or the other birds are eating them.
That would suggest that your Brahma's need extra protein in their diet. You can give them Gamebird feed which is higher in protein. Withhold the layer feed and give them Gamebird feed for one month. Then slowly wean off the Gamebird feed them back to regular layer feed.

Lastly, there could be a feather picker in your flock. You'll have observe your flock for the feather picker. Then cull the feather picker. If you dont, the other birds will learn from the feather picker and will start picking at each other or the lowest bird in the pecking order.
Our brahmas are a year old as of this spring. I just picked her up and her foot is super swollen. No mites or lice, but I am assuming she’s losing feathers from the stress of the injury. I have no idea what she coukd have hurt her leg on.. does this look like a break.. infection? I notice she is missing a toe nail
 

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JessMay

Songster
Jul 23, 2019
99
115
126
Northwest Illinois
Our brahmas are a year old as of this spring. I just picked her up and her foot is super swollen. No mites or lice, but I am assuming she’s losing feathers from the stress of the injury. I have no idea what she coukd have hurt her leg on.. does this look like a break.. infection? I notice she is missing a toe nail
I dont see bumblefoot at all. There is some type of infection going on. Can you take her to a vet?
I don’t see bumblefoot either. I see no cuts or anything either. I’m worried my Tom tried mounting her and sprained her leg, but that’s the only explanation I can think of. I’ve seen them squat when he walks near them. I don’t have an avian vet near me and my vet does not see chickens. I’ve seen other people make a stilt for their chickens with broken/sprained bones so I’m wondering if I should do that..
 

dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Nov 27, 2008
29,367
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Glen St Mary, Florida
When it comes to leg sprains or strains with chickens, there are no visible signs of swelling. The injury occurs to tendons and ligaments. I've dealt with them quite a few times.

In your case I'm certain it's some type of bacterial infection. I thought about gout, but she is too young to have it.
I've heard of folks giving direct injection into a swollen foot usually associated with bumblefoot. They used penicillin injected directly into the swollen area. Here's a link with more information, post #1:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/bumblefoot-bumbletoe.1328543/#post-21676575
 

JessMay

Songster
Jul 23, 2019
99
115
126
Northwest Illinois
When it comes to leg sprains or strains with chickens, there are no visible signs of swelling. The injury occurs to tendons and ligaments. I've dealt with them quite a few times.

In your case I'm certain it's some type of bacterial infection. I thought about gout, but she is too young to have it.
I've heard of folks giving direct injection into a swollen foot usually associated with bumblefoot. They used penicillin injected directly into the swollen area. Here's a link with more information, post #1:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/bumblefoot-bumbletoe.1328543/#post-21676575
I will have to check her again and see what I can do after work. She’s limping pretty bad today. Thanks for all of your helpful info, very much appreciated. We’ve dealt with multiple sicknesses with our chickens, but I’ve never seen anything like this on one chicken before. I will probably be back On this thread for more advice once I figure out the issue lol!
 

swampfox440

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Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Dec 10, 2012
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N.E. Ohio
I agree with @dawg53 My guess is that is an infected feather follicle that came in from the side . Just a suggestion you could try pulling that broken feather on the side of the foot it may give some relief , Again just a thought . might need some antibiotics . Good luck . Impacted follicle was the words I was looking for .
 
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dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Nov 27, 2008
29,367
20,180
1,066
Glen St Mary, Florida
I will have to check her again and see what I can do after work. She’s limping pretty bad today. Thanks for all of your helpful info, very much appreciated. We’ve dealt with multiple sicknesses with our chickens, but I’ve never seen anything like this on one chicken before. I will probably be back On this thread for more advice once I figure out the issue lol!
I'm curious, what other sicknesses have you dealt with?
 

JessMay

Songster
Jul 23, 2019
99
115
126
Northwest Illinois
I'm curious, what other sicknesses have you dealt with?
We’ve dealt with worms, mites which has been long resolved, I believe our rooster had a respiratory infection last year. These issues have since been resolved and we actually have a brand new flock now. When they were chicks, one of them had a leg Injury to where her leg was swollen and purple.. turns out she had a string wrapped around her leg. One of our Toms got attacked by a raccoon and had super deep cuts on his back side and no fan left. Surprisingly, we’ve never experienced bumblefoot, cocci or any other common issues that are usually seen with chickens. I guess in a way we’ve been lucky 🍀
 

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