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Favourite chook unable to walk :(

TessaTessa Junior Member
edited October 2006 in Poultry Health and Welfare
We have a Barnevelder chook who, until a couple of days ago, was a really healthy young gal < 1 year old.
This week she suddenly stopped being able to stand/walk and seems unable to use her legs- it's like they are paralysed. She was getting around by 'crawling' but is now not even doing that.
Apart from this, she seems healthy- bright red comb, still laying, has an appetite.
I suspect this may be the result of a spiderbite or something similar (good ol' Aussie Outback!), but was wondering if anyone has any other ideas about what may be wrong with her? She's our favourite chook, and we'd love to help her out if we can!


  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Mix up this formula and feed it to the bird in the morning.. allowing her to eat and drink as much as she likes

    She may just have a problem with her[FONT=&quot] vitamin D3, calcium and/or phosphorus levels...

    Causes these problems in birds .. happens with young roos much earlier .. but with hens that have been laying for a while or just starting to lay ..

    Not all of these symptoms may be evident..
    [/FONT] Lameness.
    Hock swelling.
    Soft bones and beak. - sometimes
    Birds go off legs.
    Poor growth.
    Birds rest squatting
    [FONT=&quot]Or lay on their sides unable to stand
    Reduction in bodyweight.


    I would also like you to answer these questions please.. just in case it isn't this and we need to look further to help her and you

    Feel under the hen... tell me if the underbelly of the hen is soft and squishy or solid and firm

    Feel her crop.. is it empying after she eats or saying firm and not digesting food properly

    Tell me exactly what her droppings are like.. color and constency.. be graphic please

    Tell me what you feed her ... everything you feed her

    How many other birds do you have

    Has she been isolated away from the main flock so you can keep an eye on her

    What have you already done to help her

  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    oops... forgot to post the formula to feed her .. sorry

    Modified Rickets diet for energy

    “” This amount feed one bird””

    Feed the birds once a day for three days or until you feel the bird is looking and acting better

    I like to feed this to my sick birds for at least 3 weeks

    Start feeding your birds this formula please: First thing in the morning.. also have her ordinary feed and fresh clean water available at all times: if it has not been fully eaten with in 12 hours throw it out... make another one the next morning.. don't add to it.. clean out the dish it was in also before adding the new mixture

    Each serving consists of

    ½ to 1 x cooked egg yolk… crumbled into mixture….. give the whites to the other hens mixed into their seed or pellets (depends a lot on the size of the egg yolk)

    1 teaspoon honey…. .given for energy, only a small teaspoon

    2 x tablespoons yoghurt…. Given for calcium and also to make the intestine go back into normal production (¼ teaspoon calcium powder if you can’t get the yoghurt), but I would prefer if you could get the yoghurt – the one with no sugar or fruit .. it must be if possible the one with the active ingredient in it

    2 to 4 tablespoons rolled oats…. To give substance to the feed, and they are easily digested by the bird also putting less stress on its system

    1 dessertspoon of beef tin cat food…… Not dog food …… the bird needs extra protein not carbs

    A few grains of multi vitamin powder (only if you are not already giving it to them in their drinking water, don’t overdose) it is very strong.. so only a few grains into the mixture is needed – do not put a large pinch or a teaspoon you will overdose the bird and make it sick

    2 tablespoons of grated apple.. do not just cut it up .. it must be grated for easy digestion…. Apple is really good for any ailing bird, grated apple that is

    Mix to make a crumble mixture not runny, if you have to roll into pellets and force feed, and then gently massage the neck in a downward motion to get it down into the crop, then do it, the bird may be too weak to eat or have lost the desire to eat….

    Don’t hold back….

    The longer it goes without the worse it will get

    If the bird is not drinking by itself:– only give drops onto the beak or use the crop tube to get fluids down the throat, don’t try and pour any fluid down a chickens throat, it will more than likely go into the air passage and into the lungs and end up drowning the bird

    Always have fresh clean water available at all time for the bird and good quality food

    The egg yolk will give vitamin D

    The bird will be lacking in protein due to sickness.. they leach all their own proteins from their system.. by adding a dessertspoon of cat food (not dog food) tin / beef .. this is help to replace this loss and help in the healing process
  • TessaTessa Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    Thanks heaps for all of your advice!

    In between posting my problem and receiving your help, she seems to have come good of her own accord... At least, she is now back to walking around properly which is the main thing! But, your advice is still much appreciated!

    We had been told by some friends that she could have been suffering from a tick/mite problem, so we gave her a dose of the powder you can buy from fodder shops for it. She was better within a couple of days, so not sure if that was it, or it was just a coincidence. Upon inspection, we couldn't find any mites/ticks though.

    I will keep all of the info you have given me in case we encounter the same problem again- from time to time we seem to have chooks who suddenly go 'gummy' on one or both legs- sometimes they recover and sometimes they don't.

    And, just to answer your questions so that perhaps we can solve this mystery...:

    - Belly- not sure if 'squishy'- felt reasonably soft but still muscular. She didn't flinch when we were prodding around.

    - Crop- didn't get a chance to check that out- by that stage of our inspection she was getting cranky!

    - Droppings- these were solid in consistency, mix of white and brown. Looked pretty normal.

    - Food- we give them a mix of layer pellets and kitchen scraps. They are in a run with plenty of tree debris etc. to scratch around in, too. Sometimes they get greens from garden weeding etc. but the bulk of their diet is the scraps and the pellets.

    - others- we have her with three other birds- she's younger than them and bottom of the pecking order. We didn't isolate her, but she effectively isolated herself.

    - Basically, apart from giving her that tick powder, we just went outside frequently to make sure she was eating, drinking, in shade etc. and to move her into a box overnight so she was safe.

    The only other thing we were concerned about was whether stress was a factor. We had shifted the hens from one run to another, because as it heats up we've found one run cooler for them. In the process of trying to shift the birds, of course a couple of them freaked out because they are not used to being handled. When we shifted her, she was still walking etc. okay, but then the following day her health deteriorated. Could it be a stress related thing? Her symptoms lasted for about a week.

    Thanks again!
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    I Tessa

    Yes it could have been a stress problem... but if she was my bird I would still give her the formula for a week to help re build her immune system and body bulk and improve her chances of anything else hitting her seeing as her body has been on the lower end of healthy for a while..

    She may be at the lower end of the pecking order also... so put another feeder and water at the opposite end of the run just in case she is missing out due to being bullied ... and when she was given a bit of attention and probably you were making sure she was getting some nourishment ... and this is what pulled her through

    She may have had lice... their body temp goes up when they become ill and if they have even one louse.. they multiply by the thousands with the higher body temp.. so treating her for lice and mites with powder was a good idea

    How long ago did you worm them ... and what did you use?
  • TessaTessa Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    We haven't personally wormed the birds... This barnevedler chook we purchased from a lady who is into breeding purebreds, so not sure if she would have wormed the birds...
    I have wondered whether there is any worming/vaccinating that we should do on a regular basis, just as we do for our cat and dogs... What would you recommend?
    We also have 5 new chicks- these we are keeping in a rabbit hutch separate to our adult birds until the chicks are big enough to fend for themselves. Would you recommend worming/vaccinating these and if so, when?
    Thanks again for your help!
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Any birds outside eating bugs need to be wormed... if they are not totally free range then worming is less

    The chicks won't need worming for a while

    Depending on what country your living in.. my local feed store stocks worming medication for my birds... look and see what they have... you will need to buy two different sorts.. but not at the same time..

    After you have used one sort for a while the birds don't react to it .. so you have to change to another sort.. then change back

    I use one with an active ingredient in it called... Levamisole... it gets rid of a multitude of worms... you need to re worm after 14 days... any of the worming meds get rid of the adults not the eggs.. so re worming them after 14 days gets rid of the eggs that have hatched

    I also have another worming medication called Piperazine.. its also called Wazine.. it only treats the large round worms.. these are the ones most prevalent in chickens

    Regarding vaccinating... ask around your are... see what is happening .. if you keep a good biosecurity with your birds.. don't allow people to just pop in to see them from where ever... they bring things in on their shoes.. and if they have been in another coop they may have picked up something and innocently walk it into your flock..

    You may find you don't need to do any vaccinating at all..

    One good medication to have on hand is Tylan 200 injection... and some syringes and needles.. giving injections isn't as hard as it sounds.. and believe me when you finally realize the bird is sick they have been sick for some time and you need to act quickly.. and if they need an antibotic the vets can take for ever to get you help..and its usually too late for the bird

    Also have some Coccidiosis medication on hand.. if you find any yellow foamy droppings from older birds.. bloody droppings from chicks.. suspect Cocci.. start treatment ASAP... do not give these birds Multi vitamins or extra protein while they are on the Cocci meds..

    If you find that they still have yellow foamy droppings and they are not showing any signs of respiratory infection or a swollen eye or sinus area.. these are indicators of respiratory infection... give Tylan 200 injections

    If you find they still have yellow foamy droppings.. they may have worms.. you treat for worms LAST... its a poison.. so if you give worming medication to a sick bird you will usually kill it

    Are you sitting there with your mouth open.. going hells bells... don't worry .. these are all ideas to help with prevention and quick action in case of .. you may be one of the lucky ones and never have to use the Cocci meds or Tylan... fingers X
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