Why is she walking funny? - Video

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by K8tieCat, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. K8tieCat

    K8tieCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Northern California
    My little Rhode Island Red is on the comeback from a big molt. I know she's uncomfortable, but there is something else gong on and I can't figure it out. Over the weekend I noticed that she would intermittently walk low to the ground (crawling), sometimes almost laying down to snack, and then other time I saw her walk a little sideways. I have read other posts on similar behavior, but something is not clicking. She was vaccinated for Marek's so I don't think that is what it is.

    I don't think this is an emergency at the moment, but if you think I should post it elsewhere, let me know.

    I have 10 hens of 4 different breeds: Delware, RIR, BR, and Black Sexlink. Everybody else in the flock acts totally normal.

    The bird in the photo below and in the video is:

    Age: 22 months

    Feed: layer pellets, light snacks of BOSS mixed with pellets, meal worms, millet, Cayenne, yogurt and DE (About 2 cups for all birds most, but not every) day.

    Health: Clear eyes and nose, no parasites, good breathing, but she seems to be getting thin. Crop OK.

    Don't know about her poops because I haven't seen her go and there are always other hens around. However, poops under her roost territory seem normal.

    Last worming for all was about 3 months ago.

    Habits: eating and drinking great. She protects her "territory" by chasing others away when she feels the need. Her "crawling" is intermittant, and if I get really close to her she walks away perfectly normal.

    I don't use poisons in my yard so eliminate that option. The girls only get to free-range for an hour before dark daily; they are otherwise contained in their coop and run. They have 64' of coop space, and 400' of run space.

    Please see photo and watch video and tell me what you think. The video is quite huge so I won't be able to leave it up too long. Thanks so much for all input. It would be nice to identify this behavior and get her back to herself soon.


  2. K8tieCat

    K8tieCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Northern California
    Sorry, just needed to bump myself to get some readers.
  3. KMHunter

    KMHunter [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Cr

    Jun 12, 2009
    My Coop
    I have two doing the same thing. There is another post with a hen named Scrappy and she has a video of hers doing it. Says her hen is fine now after some homeopathic remedey. I will see if I can post the link. I was really worried too. Still am a little. They are both going through a really hard molt and just started walking funny today. Someone said extra protien and vitamins in the water, or drops directly into mouth. I will go see about that link.
    Edit to add:

    I hope this works, you might have to copy and paste to your browser.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  4. MiddleTennesseeRooster

    MiddleTennesseeRooster Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 27, 2011
    It kinda looks to me that she is being submissive. Has she been getting picked on by the others?
  5. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    That low - knees on the ground - walk is similar to what my Hen, Scrappy is doing. Scrappy also swings her body out wide to the side, walks sideways or backwards, etc... when she's like this it seems like the only part of her that she has complete control over is her head and neck. We've concluded that it's from a heavy moult. Her symptoms have subsided but not completely. She still walks like that in the mornings when she first wakes up but then gets better throughout the day. Other people have posted on my post saying their hens are doing the same thing and the one thing they all have in common is the moulting so I'm pretty sure that's what it's from. Wish there was more info about this out there....

    Good Luck,

    edit... just noticed that the original post was from January. Oops! Old one. :)
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  6. skegley

    skegley New Egg

    Dec 12, 2012
    I have a hen (Goldie) doing this too--same conditions: Rhode Island Red, a very hard molt (this is her first molt and she is 1 and a half years old) and all of a sudden this weird sideways walking and crouching close to the ground, but otherwise fine. Eating well, coordinated with the gross (jumping up on the roost) and fine (pecking seeds) motor movements. I'm not doing anything special
    but making sure she has some good hi-protein food to eat. I did let her out of the pen with the other chickens and that seems fine. She's always with the others, so her social skills haven't deteriorated!

    I had another RIR hen that went mostly blind during molt. She got better over the course of about 3 months or so and in the meantime, used the other chickens as her "guide-dogs". She had one particular friend who seemed to be helping her the most. So I'm hoping Goldie will recover too. Would be nice to hear back from others who posted before if this resolves on its own.
  7. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Our hen did this too when she did an extremely hard moult. Scared the bajeebers out of us until we found out that it's actually normal. It must be uncomfortable as heck to go through a hard moult. I'd walk funny too.
  8. MimiChick

    MimiChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Glocester, RI
    I had one of my RIRs go through a really hard molt and start walking like she was drunk. Scared the heck out of me at the time. Try giving her some extra high protein feed, like game bird feed, show finisher, or whatever. That seems to help from what I've seen. Apparently the drunk walk has something to do with a temporary protein deficiency brought on by molting and the need for more protein to grow the new feathers. I've also heard that it only happens once. Hopefully that's true. But now I always supplement thier feed with some high protein when the girls start going into molt.

    Good luck.
  9. skegley

    skegley New Egg

    Dec 12, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback and the info on why it happens. Hoping for a speedy recovery for Goldie!
  10. Radena

    Radena Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2016
    I just noticed My rhode island red (1 1/2 years old) is walking like the above post. Also in a hard molt. There is a food called feather builder. Anyone ever use it.

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