Chicken is unable to walk straight

by Jennifer Bennett
(Southampton, Hampshire, UK)

Question

My chicken is unable to walk straight. It keeps going around almost in circles to get to food or water on the floor.

Her feet cross each other and although she occasionally straightens up and stretches her legs often bow under her as if they cannot support her.

Two weeks ago in our coldest weather ever my chicken (just over 1 year old and a trouper) started to molt heavily and appear weak and very thin with an empty crop.

Obviously she had stopped laying thank goodness and I thought she might be egg bound so I bathed and blow dried her twice but nothing changed.

She doesn't appear to have worms and she has no mites or lice either. I took her inside our house for a few days to get it warm and feed her.

She appeared a lot better so I put her back out with my other chicken for about a week.

However, I realized she was staying in her run not moving much and when I brought her in she was very thin and weak.

She is eating a lot (I am also now worming her with her normal pellets) and I'm trying to build her up with scrambled egg, mealworms, sunflower seeds, calcium powder, tiny amounts of selenium and vitamin E and marmite for Vitamin B; plus the usual grit, poultry tonic/ vinegar (she doesn't like) in water, etc.

She has even had spiritual healing but I am worried she may have an infection though she has no cough, rasps, discharge anywhere and she is pooping regularly.

Her eyes are bright and her feathers are growing out rapidly. I'm happy to keep her in until she is fully feathered but her gait and weakness worries me.

She seems to be drinking less too but not sure if that is a problem as eating watery scrambled egg. At least her crop is more full now.

I'd take her to the vet but have no confidence that the local vets know anything about chickens....

Answer
Some injuries cannot be seen. I would bring the chicken inside and put her in a crate with a heat lamp.

Be sure to check her over carefully, especially under the wings. Injuries under the wings tend to wreak havoc on birds. Offering cat food will increase your bird’s appetite and promote weight gain as well.

It could also be a Vitamin E deficiency. Be sure to add Vitamin E to the diet.

It is also important that you ensure that the feed does not go rancid. Rancid food can cause a plethora of problems for your precious birds.

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