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Author Topic: how to help a lame chicken  (Read 577 times)

Terry T

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
how to help a lame chicken
« on: March 14, 2018, 08:30:07 am »
I have a chicken who is finding it painful to walk. I’ve had a good look, for bumblefoot in particular, and can see nothing obviously wrong. I’ve left it a couple of weeks to see if it gets better but she no longer wants to put any weight on it at all. Other than restricting her movement is there anything else you would recommend trying before a visit to the vet, who unfortunately is no use with chickens.
Voss Electric Fence

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: how to help a lame chicken
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 10:23:13 am »
Chickens leg bones are so fine and thin it's impossible to do much with them if unsound in any way.  We've occasionally had chicks with splay legs and put a tiny hobble on them for a few days, which has corrected the problem, but they've been only days old when the problem was identified.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: how to help a lame chicken
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 10:37:22 am »
It's very easy for a chicken to sustain a hip injury TerryT, the worst case being a dislocation from being picked up by the legs- common practice Commercially. We had an Orpington that jumped off the perch and turned immediately on landing to go through the pop-hole. Eventually she damaged her hip and hobbled around for 6 weeks. We reduced the height of the perch to 12" so she didn't repeat it.


Presumably you have felt all the joints and the foot for heat- a sign of injury. The other sign is green tinged poos which indicate internal stress. Bright green could be an infection and then the vet could do something, otherwise it's just a case of waiting. She would be best kept fairly immobile as you suggested, but best not separated otherwise there will be problems of re-integration- even after just 24 hours we've had problems.

Terry T

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
Re: how to help a lame chicken
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 10:59:06 am »
Thanks both for the advice. I will confine her further as you suggest, in the main pen. She’s my oldest hen at 4 years (hybrid) but seems v healthy appart from her leg so I wouldn’t want to cull her. Thanks again

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: how to help a lame chicken
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2018, 03:49:43 pm »
We had a hen like this the other week. Found in the house sitting, couldn't walk without using wings to balance and even then had to lie down after not long. Brought her in and cleaned up her feet to check but nothing on them to indicate injury. Non weight bearing on the right leg and it was trembling like crazy (just the bad leg not the rest of her), but both legs were the same in terms of temperature. Leg wasn't swinging oddly and nothing felt broken. She was also able to grab onto my fingers with the toes on the bad leg. She was eating and drinking fine so long as it was close. Vet said it could be Mareks but keep an eye on her and see if she goes downhill.

Kept her confined in a small dog cage, cleaning her out daily. She seemed quite subdued and I could place her on an old feed bag when I cleaned her out and she just wouldn't move. Tried her after 4 days in the conservatory and she hopped about and didn't need to use her wings. Kept her in the cage for another 3 days after that. Might have kept her in longer but the snow had thawed, I could see the other hens sunbathing in the garden and she had started pecking me when I cleaned her out and showing signs of being frustrated inside. So we popped her out and checked on her regularly. She stayed near the house (with feed and water) but hopped quite happily and wasn't seen lying down once. She got herself to bed, although didn't jump up to the perches.

By the next day she was late for corn but she ran (Still limping) like a bat of hell after my hubby with the corn. Within a week she was back up on the perches. She is still limping a bit but I'm feeling pretty confident it was a sprain or something. Hope your hen makes a good recovery. I had a bit about it on my blog with a video of how she was at the 4 day release, but not much other new information.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

Terry T

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
Re: how to help a lame chicken
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2018, 04:36:43 pm »
Thanks Dans, it’s great news your hen is recovering. I’ve prepared her a small coop and I’ll see how she goes, I do hate confining them - always a last resort but as she isn’t getting about v well, I don’t want her to go hungry/thirsty so I’ll pop her in tonight.
I’ll keep an eye out for mareks just in case, it’s not something I’ve seen before. Thanks again.

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: how to help a lame chicken
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2018, 05:19:43 pm »
We kept her in a very small cage, so she didn't have to walk to the food or water. I was worried it was too small, and hated having her confined in the house (our hens free range and this one is known for her 'adventures') but not walking on it at all does seem to have helped her.

I found this page on Mareks which was helpful. I was hopeful that we didn't have Marek's as she didn't seem to be paralysed in the leg (could move toes and lift leg just not weight bear). https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/mareks-disease/

Do let us know how she gets on.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

Terry T

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
Re: how to help a lame chicken
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2018, 01:03:24 pm »
I kept the lame chicken confined for 2 wks but saw no improvement so called out the vet.  She could feel the hip joint grate a little and has prescribed anti inflammatories which may help but haven’t so far.

It sounds like she may just have to hop and flap from now on, I guess we can all end up like that.
The vet did say that foot / leg problems can also be caused by a growth on the liver, as a nerve passes through the liver to the foot and if compressed can cause problems.

 

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