chicken with lame leg

Discussion in 'Poultry, Domestic Livestock, Pets, & Bees' started by Indra, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Indra

    Indra Member

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for having me here. I have a motley crew of three domestic hens each around 3 years old. They have all been healthy and producing a lot of eggs. Eight days ago I noticed one hen did not run out for her afternoon scraps. I found her with a completely lame leg after seeimg fine earlier that day. I thought it might be an injury so, as advised on one blog, gave her a small amount of asprin. She perked up enough to fly out of the large box in which I isolated her. I returned her to the coop and tended to her in a low laying box. Overnight she got herself up to her preferred laying box but seems to be losing her strength slowly. There is no excessive heat to suggest infection. All three were vaccinated as chicks. She is still perky with lively eyes, normal looking comb, strong wings, a great appetite ~ just not mobile. Three days ago I gave all three chooks Avitrol Plus to be sure, even though there was no evidence of infestation/watery poo, etc (I normally just use garlic, ACV, DE). The other two hens are just fine. Since then I have noticed the sick hen has had watery poo but there has been no improvement in her health so far. I haven't noticed any dead worms. I am out of ideas and have exhausted the suggestions provided on another forum. I am very sad to see her uncomfortable. Can anyone offer further advice?

    Thank you...
    Indra
     
  2. Indra

    Indra Member

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    She is a commercial breed, Australorp X something brown.
     
  3. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi there Idra & welcome to our forum.

    Having a sick cluckle is like having a sick family member.
    I feel for you & her.
    Here are 3 important question that you should have been asked on the 'other' forum.
    When you inspected her & her mates, did you notice any raised scales on her/their legs? = red mites
    Any lumpiness in the sole of her sore foot? = bumble foot
    Are there any mis-shapen or fragile eggs being laid? = they would be hers & she would have egg yolk peritonitis.

    When they alight for the day from their sleeping perch, do they land on soft footing or hard ground/concrete/ gravel? = stone bruises on soles or sprain or strain of muscles or joints or bumble foot.

    Is there any sort of briar or thorny plant or prickles that she might have a prickle or thorn in her foot from?

    The absence of heat in the actual foot or leg has me worried as I think the soreness might be from egg yolk peritonitis. When a hen has over useage of the oviduct, it gets inflamed. Most commercial breeds these days have been genetically bred to produce an egg per day or more for their life until they die of exhaustion, whereas heritage breed chooks lay 30 eggs then rest a few days then lay around 30 eggs again etc. Otherwise they moult or go clucky & rest a few months. This resting allows the oviduct to repair to regain health ready for the next fertile cycle.

    Usually the calcium horn (Shell gland, where the shell is laid down on the soft egg membrane) is affected first once the hen becomes exhausted from egg laying. It is just above the left thigh joint if I remember rightly. I no longer have access to my notes about poultry illnesses so I have to recall from memory which isn't very good these days. (I was on a prominent chook forum for a few years until I was cyber bullied & asked to leave).

    Anyway she will go downhill very quickly if the soreness is due to oviduct illness. If she has sprain or joint problems she will come good just as quickly.
    If she has bumble foot she will need veterinary intervention (at considerable cost) if you wish to save her as it is a plantar wart growing from within the sole & will eventually become infected & kill her from blood poisoning.

    The worming should fix some of the worming issues but the red mites will need more strenuous dealings. With respect can I advise you that ACV, DE, garlic, etc do not work as wormers for any animal. This has been scientifically established. The double blind tests were done right here in Australia on horses because so many people dislike using chemical wormers on horses that often suffer from the harsh chemicals. Others then carried those tests over to other farm animals & domestic pets.

    If she now has runny poo after worming it is due to the encysted baby worms hatching in the gut once the adults were killed & removed by the wormer. You would have been advised to do a further worming about 10days later? This is to get those baby worms that hatched after the adults were removed. Moxidectin is by far the best wormer on the market for home users. It is given via a 1ml syringe directly into the beck at roosting time so you know the chook got the dose. Wormers that are added to water usually fail to do the job properly because chooks will avoid the water like the plague even to the point of dehydration. You will find that link on this forum by putting those important words into the search engine.

    Please keep us informed about your precious hen Indra. I hope I haven't frightened you too much but it is important to know about chook health. A photo of her & the others would be much appreciated too ;)

    chook eggs problems4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  4. Indra

    Indra Member

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    Thanks so much for your reply. I have ruled out mites and bumblefoot. The feet are not externally damaged in any way. I think you are spot on with egg yolk peritonitis, sadly. I have noticed this bird (name of Blackie) has had thinning shells lately. During this week of illness she laid a mis-shaped egg about half way through. It was conical and looked like it had been a difficult expulsion. I checked her after seeing your reply and believe her abdomen could be swollen and tender. My other two hens are heritage breeds but Blackie is a commercial breed and has laid an egg just about every day of her life. It was her left leg that was mainly affected, with a general weakness developing from there. It has been 8 days now with no sign of improvement. Point taken re. worming and I will go with commercial options from now on. My husband has taken Blackie to the vet this morning. While I was writing this he called to say it is not egg yolk peritonitis but suspects a broken leg. X rays are being taken now and I will keep you posted. 20180301_082954.jpg 20180301_082831.jpg 20180301_082954.jpg 20180301_082859.jpg 20180301_082919.jpg 20180301_082835.jpg 20180301_082831.jpg
     
  5. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    That is good & Bad news indra.

    Good because EyP means having to put her down for her own benefit, bad because you now have to make a financial decision re her life, as to whether to pay to fix the leg & maybe not getting anymore eggs from her in anycase due to stress.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
  6. Indra

    Indra Member

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    True. I guess we think of them as part of the family. Our Sussex Light is useless for eggs too and does nothing but eat. Might be time to gild the laying boxes with gold. But seriously, I will let you know the result and appreciate your time and interest
     
  7. Indra

    Indra Member

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    Update... my husband is home from the vet. It turns out to be a spiral fracture of the leg. So the vets are going superhero and putting in a double splint. You don't want to know how much that's going to cost but I'm glad I didn't have to make that decision myself. We are literally redrawing the mortgage, but our kids are delighted and I am relieved. May she live a long and happy life
     
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  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    WOW!! Lucky Blackie! Getting a double splint! The other hens will be jealous:D

    Yes the vets cost can be eye watering that's for sure.

    Now its important to visualize her pen & sleeping arrangements from her point of view to discover how she managed to get such an injury.
    A spiral fracture would indicate she got her leg caught up some how as she flew down from her night perch or landed badly in a corner or something.

    Chooks just love to fly down into tight spaces. Never fails to amaze me how they will choose the tight space to land rather than the easy clear runway type space that might be right there in front of them. Or they will insist on flying down into that tight space from their high overnight spot rather than take the steps, ie jump down one layer of nest boxes or perches at a time until they are much closer to the ground, then jump down the last bit to the ground.

    I imagine for Blackie, it will be a case of living on the ground floor for a good while now until her leg is all healed up. Not something she will do voluntarily! You will have to redesign your whole pen setup so there isn't any place she can get where she has to jump down or fly down from because that is where she will choose to roost at night.

    I had one cluckle that got bumble foot & I could not work out how she got it. Turns out there was a bit of a wrinkle in the wire netting where it has sagged, just enough for her to get a foot hold each night. She would fly to the perch then climb up the netting until she reached this saggy bit & get herself sideways on it & obviously hang on for dear life all night. Then be forced to fly off it at a crazy angle in the morning, land in a dark tight corner, running into the wall as she landed. I had no idea of this until I went into the pen early one morning & saw it all unfold out the corner of my eye, then went to the pen at roosting time to watch her roost. In the half dark I didn't even see her up at roof height clinging onto the wire netting because it was a 2.2m high dark corner of the pen & she being black, was invisible up there. Of course she would have thought it the best place because she was invisible up there & therefore safe! But her daily landings took a life threatening toll on her feet & legs. In the end it killed her.
     
  9. Indra

    Indra Member

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    Yes, I will definitely need to rearrange things in the shed for them. They have been flying up from the top of the nesting boxes to roost. They always have shared to same roost, snuggled up together. I thought I'd remove all the unused roosts, minimise any obstructions, and add a ramp leaning between two walls at as gentle an incline as space allows, with wooden struts glued across for grip, so they can be used as stairs. Hopefully in time Blackie will use this to get up and down, if I set it up close to the roost. Our massive Sussex Light will benefit from this as she sometimes takes a while to pluck up the courage for her flight down, being such a bulky bird in a 2.4m shed. Being 9 parts wild our aruacana has no trouble at all. Do you think I should put their shared roost much closer to the ground for a while?

    As it turned out the vet just used a single splint because that's all they had in her size. They were quite excited to get to do the operation for practice. The bone had started to heal in the wrong spot, but they sorted it all out and we can pick her up this afternoon. I imagine the vet will want her kept in a box for a while.

    Thanks gor your kind advice,
    Indra
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Yes probably good thinking to put the shared roost close to the ground for a good while, Indra. They wont like it but will accept it if there is nothing better.

    Be mindful that they see things differently as I described re the netting wall. I saw it as a minor ripple in the chicken netting whereas the hen in question saw it as the ideal roost site! lol
     
  11. Indra

    Indra Member

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    I'll try to put my chicken eyes on before I get in there. She'll be in the kitchen with us for a while. She's home as of this afternoon and very relaxed for the time being.
    20180302_211626.jpg
     
  12. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    awww, she's lovely and very lucky to have someone who cares enough to let the vet take care of it...there were (much) cheaper options I'm sure.
     
  13. Lois

    Lois Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Indra and ClissAt, What a lovely story to read on a sunday morning.
    It warmed my heart which is still glowing as I write. Thank you

    Regards Lois Langley
     
  14. Indra

    Indra Member

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    Thank you all for your interest and advice. I'll post more photos as she recovers
     
  15. Indra

    Indra Member

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    20180306_155534.jpg Blackie is doing well... had her checkup today. Still staying put but adjusting for comfort now and then. She's getting more used to all the crazy distractions of the kitchen, complete with noisy kids. My husband took her outside while our other two were free-ranging and they had a happy reunion with some friendly clucking. I had a driving lesson yesterday and my instructor told me I was CRAZY for saving her. But we're pretty pleased with ourselves
     
  16. Lois

    Lois Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    She looks like a lovely chook and must have a great personality to handle all that has happened.
     
  17. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    awwwh! :feedchooks::heart:

    I hope she gets back outside permanently soon.
     
  18. Indra

    Indra Member

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    A quick update on Blackie, she has her bandage off for good now and is in a larger crate. We have stopped giving her meds and she seems to be coping well. I try to take her out daily to visit her friends in the chicken yard, where she has been seen to take a few little wonky hops, enjoying the green grass and a few grasshoppers. She's well on the mend and I'm happy to say she is not being picked on when I've left her in the yard with the other girls for short periods. Almost time to set up a low roost in there. 20180321_153049.jpg
     
  19. Lois

    Lois Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    That is so good. I congratulate you on your special care of her. Is she laying eggs again yet? Wishing you both the best.
     
  20. Indra

    Indra Member

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    She has laid two eggs since the injury. One of them rolled onto the operating table Thanks all for your interest and well wishes.
     
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