Cochin can't walk

by Kathleen


Cochin can't walk: I have a Cochin hen who can't stand or walk at this time. It started last week, but she appears to be eating and drinking just fine. She uses her wings to balance.

I have her inside away from the other birds to keep quiet. Because she is still eating and drinking is a good sign?

Yes, eating and drinking is always a good sign.

Her weakness could be caused by a number of things:

  • Internal or external parasites draining her of blood flow and nutrients

  • Intestinal infection overwhelming her digestive system

  • Something toxic she ingested

  • Possible injury or disease

  • Possibly a sour crop

  • Maybe being egg bound

  • Each one of these possibilities calls for different treatments.

    I would check her keel bone at the center of her breast muscles. If it’s protruding she either isn’t eating enough or something is robbing her of the nutrients in her feed.

    She may have worms, or an intestinal infection. You could get a sample of her droppings to a vet and see if they can find something specific and advise the right treatment.

    A sour crop would feel lumpy and hard at the top right of her breast at the bottom of her neck.

    She may not be drinking enough, unable to get to water as often as needed, and the food in her crop was unable to pass.

    Giving her some warm water with raw apple cider vinegar (1/2 cup water to a tablespoon vinegar) and massaging the lump may break it loose and allow her to digest it.

    If it smells sour/rotten you may need to clear her crop, working the contents up through her mouth while holding her upside down.

    Give probiotics or live culture yogurt with moistened feed to help her crop
    work properly again.

    If she was injured, the cage rest will do her good. I would monitor how much she eats and encourage calorie intake with fresh fruits and veggies added to her diet.

    You might want to give her a conditioning feed, especially if she is underweight. Poultry vitamins/electrolytes may give her a boost of energy and strength to heal and get back on her feet.

    A poultry heat lamp would probably do her some good, so she isn’t using a lot of energy to keep her body warm.

    I would check her abdomen and feel gently for eggs inside her. If you believe she may be egg bound a good warm bath, running water down her chest past her vent, or letting her sit in a bucket or large bowl making sure she is able to keep her head above water.

    Dry her off and keep her warm. The warmth may relax muscles and allow her to pass eggs, if they are backed up in her.

    Her weakness in standing may be affecting her laying muscles as well. Calcium and other mineral deficiencies may cause rough eggs or difficulty passing them.

    You can lubricate inside her vent with mineral oil injected with a small needleless syringe and this may help.

    If this is a reaction to something toxic, encouraging fluids may help. I would look around the environment to see if you can find something she might have gotten into.

    The rest of your flock may be at risk of similar problems in the future.

    You might want to consider supplements on a regular basis, including added protein, good fat, vitamins and minerals (especially calcium) and make sure they have access to vegetation daily.

    A lot of information here and many possibilities. I hope you can help her.

    Comments for Cochin can't walk

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    Cochin can't walk
    by: Sharon

    To me the life of a paralyzed animal is sad. Using wings to "walk", scooting forward on her chest and belly will probably lead to severe feather breakage and loss in those areas and eventually skin break down and sores.

    It's possible that her body has just become too heavy for her to support. Some heavier breeds can get this way.

    I believe the answer is in her quality of life and how much you and she are willing to go through together.

    Some people love an animal so much they are willing to do everything possible to help it cope with a disability.

    If you have the desire and ability to keep her clean and comfortable and happy with life, you should feel free to do that.

    If you are suffering observing this and believe she is unhappy then the kind thing to do is release her from this life.

    There is no right or wrong answer for both of you. I'm not sure what I would do in your exact situation.

    When faced with similar situations I try to get in tune with the animal's well being and attitude about life. It's easier to let them go when it's obvious they have given up.

    Unfortunately there may be genetic weaknesses in her that have lead to this; so nothing you did or didn't do caused this. She may be 1 in a thousand that develop this issue.

    Selective breeding has given us a wide variety of chicken breeds to choose from with many good qualities. Sometimes genetic errors pop up or are passed along unintentionally.

    Making these decisions is the un-fun aspect of keeping animals, but one of our responsibilities.

    No matter how much time and energy we spend to keep our animals healthy, happy and strong, things can still go wrong.

    She is a fortunate chicken to have such a caring and concerned owner.

    by: Kathleen

    My Cochin still can't stand or walk. She eats well and her stool is normal.

    I treated her for mites 2 days ago and I have seen the dead ones fall off her. Soaked her in warm water for 15 minutes and that didn't work.

    She can move her legs but she can't get them under her to stand up just leans to the side moves a little by pushing with her wings.

    Not sure what else I can do I can't keep doing this for much longer.

    Any chickens I have die in the past usually die within 24 hours this is so bizarre. Can a chicken live and stay paralyzed.?

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