Chicken Walking and Not Walking Questions

Chicken walking problems aren’t uncommon. It could be a momentary limp from stepping on something that’s sharp or that stuck to its foot, or a minor to serious problem.


Toes and legs can be broken by large animals and people if chickens get underfoot or vehicle, or if they become stuck in a small space.

Chickens are subject to all kinds of injuries and it’s the job of their keepers to try to prevent them. When establishing your chickens’ environment it’s important to attempt to remove or repair anything that is or could be a potential hazard.

Bumble foot is a condition in chickens that can be caused by a small cut becoming infected, swollen and sore. In healthy chickens most minor wounds heal quickly but foot injuries subject to bacteria from droppings, can persist and cause lameness without some first aid.

Most chicken walking problems heal on their own. Some wounds need a thorough cleaning, removing any foreign particles, like a splinter, thorn, metal or glass shard, and applying an antibiotic spray.

If a deep cut or sore, a bandage may be needed to allow antibiotic salve or spray to penetrate and prevent bacteria from entering. Vet wrap and a little gauze can form a light weight bandage that doesn’t restrict movement.

If the wound is bleeding or a bone seems broken the chicken may benefit from several days in a hospital cage to restrict activity. Difficulty walking can also be caused by painful internal injuries, like a broken pelvis, back problems, head or brain trauma, ear infection, torn ligaments, or deep wounds from predator attacks. If you notice a chicken walking poorly or unable to walk you should catch it and give it a thorough examination. Suspect disease or serious illness if there are no outward signs of injury.

A chicken in this condition must be isolated from the flock to prevent possible spread of disease and the unwell chicken from being bullied and picked on by the flock. An unwell chicken can draw attention to the flock from predators, so removing it will benefit all.

Older chickens will show signs of failing health some as early at 2 years of age.

Production hens are often laid out by this age and major organs can fail to maintain good health.

A common disorder in Production hens is called “egg yolk peritonitis”. Soon, for such a chicken walking will become impossible. The hen’s reproductive organs release egg follicles into her abdomen causing infection and much swelling.

A hen with this problem will begin waddling with a wide stance to accommodate the excess fluids throwing her off balance. If this condition is allowed to progress her added body weight will become too much for her legs, and she will be unable to get herself to food and water.

Sadly, other than expensive surgery removing her reproductive organs and excess fluids, she will die. Without corrective surgery, trying to keep her alive will only prolong her suffering. This is an infection, so any hens in this condition should not be used for the table but humanely put to sleep and disposed of.

High fever, heat stroke, hypothermia, dehydration, poisoning, progressed diseases and malnutrition could all cause difficulty for a chicken walking.

Young chicks usually emerge from their eggs in great health. But even in such young ones walking problems can be seen and need to be dealt with quickly if they are to survive.

Young chicks grow fast inside and out and any health issues can prevent normal brain, organ and immune system development that will prevent them from maturing into a healthy adult chicken. Through the years we have answered many question about different problems with a chicken walking.

Hopefully this easy access to previous questions and answers will give you the help you are looking for; or a just a good education in these issues so you’ll know what to do if you ever find one of your chickens having trouble walking.

We have had a lot of success with Ask A Vet. So if you need immediate help use this service. For a complete list of questions Go Here


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