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Wobbly Hen / Ataxia Treatment Options

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChristaJ, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. ChristaJ

    ChristaJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2010
    Hi All, I've been searching the forums, but I can't seem to find the answer for whats wrong with my hen. I have a 4 year old barred rock that started acting 'wobbly' about six months ago. Our rooster was being too aggressive with the hens at the time, so I thought he might have injured her leg while jumping on her back. I separated the rooster from the flock and kept my eye on her and she seemed to be improving. Still unsteady at times, but getting around pretty well. I wasn't able to find anything obviously wrong with her leg, but now I'm starting to think that she was suffering from something else.

    Recently, she started molting, and it seemed at this time her health was declining. She's been noticeably losing weight.

    And now, this Friday she really seemed unsteady, so I separated her from the flock and added the 'sav a chick' vitamins to her water. I also fed her scrambled eggs with molasses in addition to her regular crumbles. She's gotten worse since then. This morning she can still walk, but not very well and she sits down most of the time. Her eyes are bright, she's still vocal and she is eating and drinking okay.

    Is there anything I can do to help her? Does anyone recommend any of the supplements I can buy from the feed store?

    Has anyone had these types of symptoms before?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks,

    Christa
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Has she been de-wormed with something like Safeguard or Valbazen?

    Can you buy a kitchen scale to weigh her on?

    Are you willing to try tube feeding?

    What does her poop look like?

    -Kathy
     
  3. ChristaJ

    ChristaJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2010
    Kathy, thanks for the reply, she has not been de-wormed. Actually I have never de-wormed my hens, and I've had them for about 5 years, should I be doing that regularly?

    I have a kitchen scale that I can weigh her on and I would be willing to try tube feeding.

    Her poop looks about the same as my other healthy hens, although I have noticed that just recently their poop has seemed very loose. I thought that it was just because they were drinking more water since its been pretty hot, but do you think that might be a symptom of something else?

    Thanks again for the reply, Christa
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    It might not be the case, but a 4 year old chicken who is wobbly, sitting down a lot, losing weight, but still alert could be suffering from egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying. I would also check her for lice and mites, wotm her, and put probiotics in her water once or twice a week. Molasses is a laxative in chickens, so I probably wouldn't use that, although eggs are great. Here are a couple of links about EYP: http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/egg-laying-issues/index.aspx
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/526089/egg-yolk-peritonitis
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/195347/my-ivy-latest-relapse-shes-gone
     
  5. ChristaJ

    ChristaJ Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2010
    Hi All- my hen is still suffering today. I took a video of her walking to see if that might shed some light on whats going on.

    She's still eating and is bright and alert, but she can hardly walk. Here's a link to the video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHfo7LW5sG0&list=UUubdAf8XWcmYAtAi3mCw2LA

    If anyone has any ideas or suggestions please let me know.

    Thanks !
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    There is always a chance that she may have a neurological condition that is causing her walking difficulty. Hens who suffer from internal laying or other reproductive disorders can walk like a duck and wobble. I'm not sure if that is what is going on with your hen or not, but it very common in older hens especially from a hatchery since they are bred to be good egg layers. Speckled Hen is quite familiar with internal layers and egg yolk peritonitis, and she may be of help with her many threads on the subject.
     
  7. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Has she been walking like this for 6 months, or is it only recently that she'd developed this amount of lameness?
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I mention worming because that's one of the easiest thing to treat for first. I don't know if worms could cause this, but if she were mine, I would catch her, give her a very thorough exam with would include checking the inside of her vent for a stuck egg or other abnormalities. Then I would weigh her and start her on an aggressive 5 day worming program with Safeguard liquid or paste at 0.5ml per 2.2 pounds.

    Interestingly, I thought of you last night when I saw one of my hens behaving the same way. She's not quite as wobbly as your hen, but she's definitely not right. Tonight I will catch her, do the exam, weigh her, worm her and I'll probably give her some calcium and vitamins orally as well.

    -Kathy
     
  9. ChristaJ

    ChristaJ Out Of The Brooder

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    About six months ago she was in similar shape - she was walking in circles and falling over a lot. I just kept my eye on her and didn't really do anything special and her walking improved. Thats why I thought she had hurt her leg initially even though I couldn't feel anything wrong. After a few weeks she would still occasionally lose balance, but walking returned to probably about 80% normal.

    In the last two weeks I noticed she was walking progressively worse and falling over and I also noticed that she was sitting down in the run a lot. I saw a few of the other hens attacking her so I've been keeping her separated since last Friday. This time is definitely worse than episode six months ago.

    I think one thing that might be important that I left out is she was laying even after her initial injury/episode. She stopped laying during her molt, which I thought was normal, and hasn't resumed laying since.

    Any ideas?
     
  10. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Just to rule it out, I would also do the exam casportpony mentioned above. Give her abdomen-- her squishy belly behind her ribcage-- a gentle but thorough feel and see if you feel any masses, or if she feels very 'full' like on overfull water balloon, etc. If you are not sure if she seems 'fatter' down yonder than normal, it is helpful to compare her to a healthy hen of her size to see if her abdomen seems larger than normal. It seems rude but it might be a good idea to check her for eggbinding, too, which you can do with a gentle, gloved finger up her vent. Given her age, those are the things I would look for first.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
    1 person likes this.

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