young chicken stopped walking

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rjs1188, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. rjs1188

    rjs1188 New Egg

    Sep 12, 2010
    Hi, I'm new to chickens, but I've had a parrot before. We have 2 birds, the older is about 18 weeks, the younger one we're not sure but based on her size we guess she's about a month younger,. They live in our backyard, currently we are still feeding them purina chick starter. We let them out into the yard during the day and I built them a coop where they sleep. The coop is like a garden tractor design, but we have it sitting on our concrete patio, so the floor is not wire.

    We live in Austin and had a tropical storm go over last week, we had a whole day of heavy rain, and some other rains afterwards. The ground level of the coop got soaked, and the food dish was filled up with water, and I changed all the food out. The upstairs part where they roost was pretty dry, some of the bedding got wet around the edges of the doors, but the roof didn't leak and the birds were not overly wet as far as I know.

    The younger bird Maddie is now not walking. Yesterday morning I noticed she would walk a few steps and then sit down, I though maybe something was up but when I tried to approach her she flew rather than ran. We got her as a juvenile and she is pretty wild, so I didn't try to force the issue. Normally at night our birds roost on the coop roof until I come put them in. But last night Maddie was still on the ground outside the coop. I put her in for the night and went googling to see what I could find out.

    This morning I put her in a dog carrier with food and water. Her crop was empty, I felt her keel and didn't notice it protruding too much, I looked at her cloaca and didn't see any signs of discharge. I gave her her normal food and water and she seems to be eating. I looked at her legs and feet and didn't see anything wrong with them, other than the toes seem weak. She still seems to be clucking normally, but a couple of times I've heard her make a loud high pitched short sound, more like a bird call. She is holder her head up, and doesn't seem to be fluffing up, but it is warm here anyway.

    The other bird still seems normal.

    I'm not really sure what to look for next, so any advice appreciated. An additional pressure is that we are leaving town in a few days, so we're in bind in terms of intensive care that's going to take longer than that.

  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Welcome to BYC, sorry it's under less than optimal circumstances.

    First off let me say I am just guessing, but could some of the feed gotten moldy from the storms? Maybe botulism.

    Here's some info:

    Synonyms: limberneck, bulbar paralysis, western duck sickness, alkali disease

    Species affected: All fowl of any age, humans, and other animals are highly susceptible. The turkey vulture is the only animal host known to be resistant to the disease.

    Clinical signs: Botulism is a poisoning causing by eating spoiled food containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum . Paralysis, the most common clinical sign, occurs within a few hours after poisoned food is eaten. Pheasants with botulism remain alert, but paralyzed. Legs and wings become paralyzed, then the neck becomes limp. Neck feathers become loose in the follicle and can be pulled easily (see Table 3 ).

    If the amount eaten is lethal, prostration and death follow in 12 to 24 hours. Death is a result of paralysis of respiratory muscles. Fowl affected by sublethal doses become dull and sleepy.

    Transmission: Botulism is common in wild ducks and is a frequent killer of waterfowl because the organisms multiply in dead fish and decaying vegetation along shorelines.

    Decaying bird carcasses on poultry ranges, wet litter or other organic matter, and fly maggots from decaying substances may harbor botulism. There is no spread from bird to bird.

    Treatment: Remove spoiled feed or decaying matter. Flush the flock with Epsom salts (1 lb/1000 hens) in water or in wet mash. It has been reported that potassium permanganate (1:3000) in the drinking water is helpful. Affected birds can be treated with botulism antitoxin injections.

    Prevention: Incinerate or bury dead birds promptly. Do not feed spoiled canned vegetables. Control flies. Replace suspected feed.

    Here's the link, lots of info, a little difficult to scroll.

    Good luck

  3. rjs1188

    rjs1188 New Egg

    Sep 12, 2010
    Thanks for the reply. After reading many other threads that seems like a likely candidate to me as well. I purchased the epsom salts and molasses to do a purge, but I don't have avian electrolytes. I read in another thread to hold off on the purge unless it's really necessary as it will dehydrate the bird, so was hoping for some other opinions before doing it.

    More information: her droppings appear normal to me. She is sitting back on her tail with her legs sticking out in front, and her head up. The other botulism thread mentioned birds standing with head and wings down, I'm not sure how significant the difference is. I also double checked and no bumblefoot.

    I mixed the starter crumbles with warm water and yogurt and she ate some. I made up some homemade human electrolyte mix and gave her some from a syrenge and put some in a dish for her.

    Overall her condition didn't seem to change much during the day.

    BTW, I forgot to say my birds are Americanas. Other bird appears to still be doing fine.


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