Chicken that Can't Walk
I have a chicken that can't walk it is a four-year-old Rhode Island Red. In late November I noticed her having some trouble getting up in the chickenyard, but she was still able to get up on her perch, and her condition seemed to fluctuate over the course of about a week.
Then she worsened; she reclined on her midsection, her legs outstretched behind her. Over the course of a couple of weeks, her posture more typically became both legs outstretched in front, each one alternately pawing the ground continually.
Lately she has been trying to use her wings to help balance herself. I've occasionally put her outside in a 10x10 dog kennel on warm days, but my impression is that she gets worse, not better, outside.
I have my hens (10) purely as egg producers and pets, so "culling" her is not an option; I'm a strict vegetarian.
But I've had this chicken in a dog pen in the house for two months now, and I think both of us are beginning to lose hope.
Her legs have been X-rayed, and there are no abnormalities. She is not egg-bound. An avian vet at a state university suggested that she has spondy-whatever ("kinky back") and that the disks might shift on their own and allow her to walk again. Or not.
But this is someone consulted by phone; he hasn't seen the chicken. My local vet was not helpful.
Her comb is bright red, and she has an excellent appetite; I feed her mostly by hand, and she gets a wide variety of foods.
(Someone who raises chickens for cockfighting said to add dogfood to her diet (the irony of accepting advice from someone on the opposite side of the animal-loving spectrum has not escaped me, but these people are said to take excellent care of their "investments").
I want to understand what's going on with my chicken and, if possible, to help her.
My job allows me to work out of my home, so she has continual oversight; and I have tremendous patience with animals, so I'll do what I need to do to make her better if getting better is possible.
Does any of this sound familiar to you, and, if so, do you have any advice?Answer:
With the detailed description that you give, I agree with the University vet and believe that the bird has Kinky Back.
As far as they know, this affliction can be caused simply by heredity or by feed.
Considering that you obviously take very good care of your birds, and that your other birds have not been prone to these symptoms we are going to assume that this is hereditary in this instance.
The good news is that this disease does not spread from bird to bird, so culling the bird is not a requirement for the health of the entire flock.
My advise would be to vary the diet and see if you can have any improvement. I would try some high protein in the diet, like the dog food suggested to you.
You seem to be doing everything you can. I hope you see some improvement.