by Judy Aufrecht
(Spring Hill, FL.)

I have a 5 month old silkie hen. All of a sudden she is losing her balance. She can just be sitting down and fall over. We had to remove her from the chicken yard due to one of the Rhode Island Reds picking on her head. The bigger chicken is also 5 months old and they were raised together. I am just sick about this, she is my baby and I love her very much.


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by: Sharon

There are many things that could cause this balance problem: disease, injury, genetic, environmental...

Not knowing how you house, feed and care for your chickens, I can't find any clues.

You did the right thing to separate her from harm. Flock animals are naturally unhappy about weak flock members and will often attempt to drive them away by bullying them. A weak flock member can attract predators, so this is a survival instinct, not malicious.

Silkies aren't one of the toughest chicken breeds, so some do need to be babied. If she were in my care I'd be keeping her in a safe place, not too cold, not too hot. I'd offer her fresh foods - fruits, veggies. I'd give her a thorough exam for clues as to why this has happened, to determine if she is underweight, possibly just weak.

Look for mites, lice, signs of other parasites. I'd support her with a good chick start - non-medicated, or a conditioning feed, especially if she is thin or has parasites.

It's good to keep Vitamin/Electrolyte supplement always on hand for your chickens, especially where temperatures are hot. You can add it to her water, or soak some feed or bread, to get her to take it in. Weakness can be a simple mineral imbalance.

Check her crop. When full it should be soft and mushy. If there is any hard lumpiness to it,you may have to get her to take in a reasonable amount of fluid or wet foods and massage any lumps so they can break down and digest.

Hopefully with a few days of TLC she will improve. Short of an expensive visit to the vet, the best you can do is treat what you see and find, support her as needed, and watch for signs of improvement (or worsening).

Wish I could tell you exactly what is wrong and how to fix it, but there are simply too many possibilities.

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