Buff Orpington losing balance and falling over

by Georgina
(Hertfordshire)

Question

We have a Buff Orpington 18 months old which lives with two other Orpingtons and six hybrids.

On Tuesday night she fell over and just laid on the ground until I picked her up. This happened several times on Wednesday and Wednesday night in her coup she laid on the floor.

I took her to a vet on Thursday who deals with all poultry problems at our practice. She thought she may have a bacterial infection in her joints giving her symptoms similar to arthritis. She thought her joints felt hot.

She gave her an antibiotic injection and also antibiotics for her water. She also gave us Metacalm to give her daily. We have separated her from the others and on Friday I got her some CV Amino Plus and CV Spectrum from the vet as she was concerned that she was not eating.

She is now eating well and is very bright but when I watch her it seems not so much that her legs are the problem but that she suddenly loses her balance and falls over.

She is not walking brilliantly but I think this is because she is being careful. I have seen her run a short distance. Any suggestions would be much appreciated as she looks too bright to have put to sleep.

However, the vets have suggested if she is still bad by Monday that might be what we should do.

Answer
Sounds like a lot has been done for this girl. One cause for this loss of balance could be dehydration. With all that has been going on with her she may need more liquids.

I’m not familiar with the products from your vet, but some fruit juice with a pinch of salt or Gatorade might help her hydrate again. It sounds like she has made great improvements.

Without the diagnosis of a specific incurable disease, I wouldn’t give up on her so quickly. By the time a chicken acts sick, they may have been suffering in silence, trying to fight something off, for weeks.

Of course, if you believe the chicken is suffering and has no quality of life and no hope, the decision is much easier.

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Update and Thanks

by: Georgina

Update and Thanks: Thank you for your advice. I will try the fruit juice. Today she is greatly improved and whilst still falling over occasionally but she is now strong enough to get herself back up.

I am going to continue the antibiotics for another two days after talking to the vet. I have seen a number of cases of chickens losing their balance on various websites as well as this one so I hope this helps someone.

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