Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Help ~ I Broke My Chicken! What to do for a Broken Leg

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Disclaimer:  Shattered bones, joint and soft-tissue issues may require different care than a cleanly broken bone and in some cases may not ever heal properly.



I have friendly chickens. Sometimes, though, their friendliness gets them (and me) into a bit of trouble. When I go out to feed, I tend to be swarmed by no less than 40 chickens, which can make it very difficult to walk. Two weeks ago the inevitable happened when I stepped on one of my younger flock members!


When you have chickens long enough, you'll notice a certain pattern seems to emerge. If something bad happens, all too often it happens to one of your prized chickens. The friendliest, the most well built, the best egg layer, or in the case of my little Snöleopard, one of a very rare coloration that I really want to keep in my breeding program.


Can you guess why her name is Snöleopard?

Thankfully for chickens, a broken leg is not necessarily a death sentence!

1) Examination: Assess the damage. If you were present when the injury happened, you will have a better idea of what the problem is, and where. If you didn't see it happen (which is most often the case) you will need to do a thorough exam. 

Is the chicken favoring the leg? Are they putting any weight on it at all? Will they grab your finger with their foot? When they pull back, is there strength in the hock joint and hip? 

In Snöleopard's case, she would not put any weight on her leg, but would grab my finger with her foot. That told me the issue was probably above foot level. 

Work your way up, paying attention to whether joints grind, pop, appear completely dislocated or if what should be straight, solid bones give to pressure. While her toes and ankle joint seemed to be fine, I could feel the bone in Snöleopard's lower leg (shank) moving when I tested it gently with two hands. 

2) Treatment: My first thought was to put a splint on the leg, but luckily for Snöleopard I consulted some of my long-time chicken-keeping friends who reminded me that this type of injury will swell and wrapping it could cause tissue damage. 

If the bird has a compound fracture (a break where the bone is sticking through the skin) treatment will be a bit different. The open flesh must be irrigated or washed with running water, and a good disinfectant should be used. 

If you wish to use an all-natural disinfectant, you can use bergamot essential oil, plantain leaves or a wash made from 1 cup water that has been boiled and cooled, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon vinegar.

Pat the area dry and with very clean hands, align the bones as well as you can. Cover the area loosely with sterile gauze and wrap with a self-adhesive wrap like Vetrap.
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*** Do not wrap the leg too tightly as there will be swelling in the first few days. A bandage that is too tight can cause the blood supply to be reduced or cut off which could be worse than the break itself.

Change the bandage daily being careful not to expose the wound to any germs. Unfortunately there are no guarantees with a compound fracture as nasty things can get into the wound and cause infection. There is also less natural stability for the healing bone if the skin around it is broken... yet there are also a good number of success stories. If the chicken is worth it to you, than it is worth it to try.

3) Isolation: Since Snöleopard had a clean break and no open wounds, I left the leg unwrapped and put her in a small isolation cage (which in my case is a brooder box in the laundry room). The primary purpose of isolation is to prevent the bird from moving and over-using the leg. The area must be small and there should be no perches or unnecessary objects in the cage. There should only be enough room to stand up, turn around, and take no more than a few steps. 

Special consideration should be given to shy or flighty birds. The last thing you want is to surprise said bird, sending it into an Olympic-style gymnastic routine in the isolation cage. These kinds of performances tend not to be conducive to healing. Birds like this should be placed in a low-traffic area, and spoken to in a low voice upon entering the room so as not to startle it.

Lucky for me, Snöleopard is an attention hound (which is how she ended up with a broken leg in the first place) and upon entering the laundry room, I am treated to this sight:




Oh hai!

The bird should stay isolated for a minimum of 3 weeks. In our case, I happen to have another bird with some sort of genetic defect affecting her ankles and feet. I was going to cull that bird, but found that Snöleopard stayed much calmer and happier with a friend. 


The friend also provides a great place to sit!

For the first week Snöleopard didn't put any weight on the leg. She became quite proficient at hopping about on the good leg to get to her food and water. In the second week she began to test the injured leg, and by the end of the second week she was putting her full weight on it. 

Although a bird may use its injured leg in 2 weeks or less, it is important to continue the confinement. While the leg is less painful, it is still not as strong as it will be with a little more time. It would still be a bad idea for the bird to try to roost and re-injure the leg jumping down. Older hens should not be bred for 3-4 weeks following the injury due to the extra weight and stress to the limb caused by being mounted by a rooster. 

In approximately 2 weeks, the bone will form a bone callus. While not pretty, the bone callus helps to stabilize the healing bone, and will be present for a few months while the body reconstructs the bone.


Noticeable bone callus on the bird's right shank.
Noticeable bone callus on the bird's right shank.

If the break was clean and sets well, the bone callus and most signs of the fracture could disappear in 3-4 months. If the bone sets with a bit of a misalignment, there may be a lump for the rest of the bird's life. Either way, the body does a wonderful job of repairing itself and a healed bone is generally about as strong as it was prior to the injury.



Hey... check that out!

Have you had a bird with a broken leg? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!


* Snöleopard (Translation: Snow Leopard) is a Swedish Flower Hen pullet. Her coloring is Mille Fleur but she possesses a gene that suppresses the expression of the red, giving areas that would be red a orangy-yellow appearance instead. This coloration is very unusual, but we are hoping the red-suppressing gene will be dominant so that the coloration may be passed to future generations.


Comments

144 comments:

  1. glad she's healing up well... and glad you took the advice to NOT wrap it.

    one thing I might add. for simple fractures, the swelling has another benefit to the healing leg. it helps immobilize the broken area and keep it from moving around too much. Also, though some people might think a pain reliever is a good thing, it's that pain that will keep her from trying to use the leg and injure it further. when it stops hurting, that means it's ready to use again, for the most part.

    I had an easter egger with a spiral fracture on one leg (stepped on by my blind horse). after nearly a month in confinement in the brooder and 2 more weeks in a smaller breeding pen, she was turned loose again, only to end up BACK in the brooder a few days later with the OTHER leg broken (same cause).

    She finally learned her lesson and no longer tries to steal the horse's breakfast. and her name is now 'broke leg'.

    In her case though, the callus won't likely fade from her right leg (spiral) because of the damage to the bone. Her left leg was a simple fracture that healed much quicker and cleaner.

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    1. Great insight, Karen. I may update this article with your information tomorrow. Thank you for sharing your huge amount of knowledge. We all benefit from this kind of sharing. :-)

      (And thank you for advising me to NOT wrap the leg!)

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    2. We are down to 1 hen- LuLu, family member. She's been through it All! Fox attack, opossum attack, raccoon attack, and the craziest thing I've ever seen- Owl attack! Which left her with an S shaped neck where it tried to pull her body through a small V shaped branch- by her neck! I saw it- horrified!! But I saved her-she also has a droopy eye from the attack. Anyhow, she's a Survivor! Well something got a hold of her leg- probably my terrier dog- her foot is now turned in, and her ankle? Is larger & discolored-& she cannot put weight on it at all. I'm following your advice and will pen her up- but my Q is- as it heals, it will heal Very crooked- & may inhibit her ability to walk correctly& scratch....should I try to gently 'correct' it? Thx!! South Georgia Holly

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    3. Oh dear! So sorry to hear about LuLu!
      The leg *may* need to be splinted to help it heal without being too crooked. Just don't wrap too tight so that if it swells it will not cut off the blood supply.
      Best of luck!!

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    4. I hope someone reads this...I have a 7 week old chick and my son went outside to find her on the ground. He brought her inside and it looks like her leg is dislocated it's just dangling. She is still eating. I have no idea what happened or what I can do.....can anyone offer advice??

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    5. I'm sorry to hear about your chick. Dislocations can be very tricky! I would say if you really want this chick to be OK, go ahead and try to put the joint back in place. You may need to pull slightly and try to pop it in. Be aware that either way, there is likely some soft tissue damage which can take a long time to heal.

      Be sure to isolate this baby once you think her joint is in place... she will need to rest it for at least 3 weeks. It's fine to put a buddy in with her as long as the buddy doesn't make her move too much. (Be sure the buddy gets some play time out of the isolation area on a daily basis.)

      After that... time. And use your judgement. If the bird gets depressed you may need to find another answer. If the bird seems OK and is a fighter, she may gimp for the rest of her life, but be just fine otherwise.

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  2. Would that color be porcelain?

    Deirdre

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    1. nope. porcelain is very similar genetically, but uses the lavender gene to dilute the black and red... her black is still black, so it's a pheomelanin diluter we're dealng with here, hopefully Dilute (Di) which is dominant, but possibly champagne blond (cb) or inhibitor of gold (ig) which are recessive. I was thinking there's a chance she's also wheaten based, which further lightens the red pigments too. but looking at the pics again, she's got definite signs of being eb (brown or partridge), which, if anything, darkens the base colors, not lighten.

      I have two in the brooder right now, sibs of hers... waiting to see how they color in. so far all I can tell is that they're splash based (not black or blue) and have faint pink on their wing feathers.

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  3. I currently have a Jersey Giant hen favoring her leg so I brought her inside. She is in her third week of solitary confinement. Standing on the leg again but compared to the other gals her legs are much thinner so I am giving her extra time inside and then not putting her back with the rooster. She is a good layer so I'm not culling her over a small limp. ((She's family)) ;)

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  4. One of our chickens hurt her leg. I can't see a break, but it almost looks like its at the hip joint. Maybe just a dislocation? It's hard to tell. She will lie down but when she tries to stand, the hip seems to give way. Any suggestions?

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    1. It's hard to say without seeing her (or jumping in my T.A.R.D.I.S. to hop back a few days to see what happened to her initially - you know - that wibbily wobbly timey wimey stuff...) For now, I would isolate her with food, water... perhaps where she can see her friends but can't run about too much and strain it. So a box would be good... but not one that is bigger on the inside. Add Poly-Vi-Sol liquid baby vitamins (without iron) to her food and add finely-chopped liver to her diet on the side. It can take some time for pelvic/hip/hock injuries to heal, and the bird may never be 100%... but she still could have quality of life. Or you could cull her - it comes down to what you're willing to do for her, or if you'd rather eat her. Either ways is fine. “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
      — The Doctor, Season 5, Episode 10

      And, sweet Angel -
      "Don’t blink.
      Blink and you’re dead.
      Don’t turn your back.
      Don’t look away.
      And don’t blink."

      Oh, wait... that's not quite true in this particular case... :-) You can blink now!

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    2. comfrey compresses also are helpful for broken bones. also comfrey tea if they'll drink it

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  5. I have a leghorn chick that's leg got broken due to a chicken tractor smashing her leg. I do not know where it is broken but she can't curl her toes and she won't put wait on it should I cast her?? she is isolated from the other chicks I am going to give her a friend but what should I do???

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    1. Just keep her isolated. There will be some swelling in the first few days, so I don't recommend bandaging the leg - unless you can physically SEE the bone moving out of place when she stands on it. No - just give her time. Many birds do just fine after such injuries, but it should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Every bird deals with injury in their own way, and every injury is different. I'll keep my fingers crossed that she heals well enough to live a full and happy life!

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  6. Hi
    I have 5 Lavender Orpington chicks which are around 8 weeks old. They are feathering out and definitely in the awkward stage. We put them in the new chicken coop, but still have them shut in with air vents on both sides of the coop and the door open with chicken wire on it to keep them in and safe from things getting in. I went out yesterday and the largest one which we think is the Roo was laying down. He looked stressed by how he was breathing with his mouth open. When he got up and put weight on his left leg he would fall and roll over and struggle to get up and sometimes do it repeatedly (very hard to watch). I did have their food up higher so they wouldn't make a mess in it so I don't know if he was up in it like I've seen them do, and got his foot stuck and twisted it or what happened. I moved their food down on the ground now so hopefully it won't happen again if that was the case. What do you think I should do. He loves to be with the other chicks, but should I get him out? I think he will run from me if I try to catch him or try to any way.
    Thanks for any help.

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    1. Honestly I would try to put him somewhere where he can't - and doesn't have to - move around a lot. Perhaps in a cage or crate right in the coop or in a shady place in the run during the day where he can see and be with all his friends, but will have time to let the leg rest and heal for at least 2 weeks.

      After he has been caged, he will be weaker than he was before, but don't let this alarm you. It takes time for all the muscles to come back. He may well be able to live a long, happy life as long as he relearns to get around. Be warned, though - some leg injuries render cockerels incapable of breeding in the future as they lack the leg strength and balance to... well... you know. ;-)

      Here's the story of a bird that I thought was so badly injured I'd have to cull her:
      Being Happy

      As long as he is not getting picked on and is able to reach food and water, then go ahead and leave him.

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  7. I checked them first thing this morning and Praise the Lord he is up and walking. Thanks for your info though.

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  8. Thank you so much for this info! 2 weeks ago yesterday one of my hens was found with a broken leg. The break was in her fibula, right above her hock. I had debated splinting it for a day or two, but then decided to splint it about seeing how loose it was & I figured she'd do more harm to it without the splint. I had also made a sling for her out of one of my own t-shirts. Yesterday she was really restless, & having gone 2 weeks with a broken leg, & almost 2 weeks in the sling & splint, I decided to go ahead & take off the splint & take her out of the sling. There is a very good bone callus on her leg, & she was able to put weight on it, but now the poor thing needs to learn to walk on it. I don't want to push her too soon, but I also know the sooner she walks on it the better. Do you have any recommendation for physical therapy? & do you think that it's too soon, or should a little bit a day be OK?

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    1. Right above the hock - gotcha!
      Don't push her as far as walking. Let her go at her own pace - both literally and figuratively. :-) If you have an area you can let her wander about by herself so the other birds can't chase her or hurt her, then allow her to do what she wants in this space. An outdoor playpen of sorts with shade, food and water would be great if you can do it - otherwise just work with what you have.

      She'll walk when she feels she can support weight, and giving her an area like this will encourage her to try when she is ready. Remember - she may never be 100%, but as long as she can eventually get around enough to have a good quality of life, then she'll be just fine!

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    2. Thanks! I keep worrying that I'm going to do the wrong thing. Right now she is in a small dog crate. I plan to eventually move her to a horse stall, then add a hen & slowly introduce her back into the flock. Never thought to give her a small area outside ........ maybe I can put a temp fence up attached to one of the horse stalls. Thanks again! Very helpful, & this info is the reason I decided to give her a try & not put her down. If she's willing, so am I!

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    3. Best of luck! I hope she makes a full recovery. :-)

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    4. Hello...my young chick which is 2 montgs old has broken its leg...yesterday when I was playing with it I was about to catch the ball n it came in the middle..without knowingly I stamped its leg...can anyone plzzz tell me the solution for this...

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    5. For now I have just wraped it with a wet cloth loosely..can I co tinue this method..??

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    6. Vaaruni - if you wrap it, only use a dry cloth. A wet cloth can cause problems with the skin.
      Keep your chick in a box to prevent her from trying to walk for a few weeks.
      Good luck. I hope she heals well.

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  9. I said fibula, but I think it's the tibia ..... I didn't do too well in biology class! :-/

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  10. My chicken can't curl her toes and has no movement in the leg. Right now I have her in a dog crate. Do I need to splint her leg or will it heal on its own?

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    1. Do you know what the nature of the injury is? Can you feel a break?

      I would leave the leg alone for at least a week (unless you can see or feel a break that is not holding steady). It could be soft tissue which just needs time. Same thing for breaks that aren't wiggling about.
      Best of luck with her!

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    2. I don't feel a break or wiggling around. Her toe got caught underneath the gate and got scraped it up a little bit. We thought nothing of it, until about a week later she started showing signs of lethargy and favoring the good leg. She usually stays immobile but when she does move, she steps on the bad foot with her toes all curled up. It has been a couple of weeks now and It has gradually gotten worse.

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    3. Hmmm... this makes me wonder if it is the gate injury or something else like Marek's disease. If it is Marek's, her body is fighting it, but she may never recover. If it is an injury and she continues to go down hill, you may need to decide if her quality of life has diminished to the point that she can't live the way a chicken should.
      I'm so sorry this is happening to your girl!

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  11. I have two chickens (egg layers), unfortunately one of the children left the gate to our second garden open yesterday and one of our greyhounds went after poor Nugget who was pottering about in her outer pen. Fortunately I was near by so managed to pick Nugget up before any blood was shed (just her tail feathers) however today Nugget still isn't putting weight on her left leg, is there a way I can help her? I have kept her in her inner smaller pen. Cannot put her into the house as suggested because of the dogs. What sort of box could I put her in inside her run and should I put the other chicken in with her? Thanks

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    1. Awwww, poor Nugget! A small dog or cat carrier is usually a good choice, or some folks use a large Rubbermaid container with a home-made wire lid for plenty of ventilation. If she is near her friends, you don't need to put another chicken in with her. Just let her rest that leg for a few days and see how she does. Some leg injuries don't need long, but others do take some time to heal.

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  12. I have a month old silkie chick that I believe has a broken leg...I holds it up and wont walk on it at all...I hate to do away with it but I also don't want it to be in pain. It is eating and drinking pretty good. Its been like this for about 3 weeks. It's by itself in my house. What should I do?

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    1. As long as it is eating and drinking well and stays in good spirits (and as long as you want to give it a chance) then give it a chance. My girl healed up perfectly. She perches on the top roost and has no problems with the leg any more. Young chicks tend to heal even faster than older birds.
      If it stops eating and seems unhappy, then reconsider... but until then, let it try! (Unless you don't want to - right now it's up to you and your chick.)

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  13. How do you know if the hip is out of place? My female (of course my best layer) will not put hardly any weight on one of her legs. I checked it for something broken and could not feel anything. However, when I move her leg it sounds like it is popping in and out of socket. She is not in pain and is eating as well as drinking. Just don't want to keep her like this if she might not heal.

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    1. It can be very hard to know for sure unless you have medical experience or a home x-ray machine... which most of us don't. In cases like these it is often a matter of wait and see. Isolate her, make her rest the joint and see what happens.

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  14. Hello, this evening while moving the chicken tractor, a pheasant got caught in the back/bottom. She started walking until realized something was wrong and now will only try to fly. I got her out of said tractor and inspected her leg, it appears fine until the hip area and there it's as loose as can be. She's been isolated already, but I'm wondering if there's any hope.
    Please advise, thank you.

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    1. Try 3 weeks of isolation and see what happens. This can be hard with flighty types of fowl as they tend to freak out sometimes and re-injure themselves. It's always worth a try, though. Let us know what happens!

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  15. Hello, I am not sure if my question was submitted... My chick who is now 6 weeks old was injured at 3 weeks old. I did not know it was a possible fracture. Now at 6 weeks she is still not using her leg and it has hardened in an awkward position. Can I do anything for this chick? Please help! I don't know how to tell is she is in pain... She eats and drinks. I have her intermittently separated from the rest of the chicks since they were pecking at her. Yet she calls out to them when she is separated, so we have her in the coup with the rest during the day. Thank you for your help in advance!

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    1. Watch her with her group and see if there is a chick that picks on her less than the others. Isolate her for a while with that chick. It is unfortunate that it has started to heal in a bad position. Unless it is re-broken (I really don't suggest trying to do this) and re-set, it will likely stay that way for the rest of her life.
      That said, many birds live long, happy lives with awkward limbs. The white pullet that was in with Snöleopard has a wonky leg, but gets about just fine! She's not as quick and she doesn't go as far as the other birds, but she lives with them and perches on her own low perch in the coop with the other birds each night.

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  16. Hello, First let me say thank you for your informative posts! I have w young rooster who got stuck in a tree (not sure how long) his foot was sort of wrapped around a branch and he was hanging there :( I have him isolated in a pen he is eating some crumble feed and some water. Not sure if I should put some type of splint or brace on leg? He allows me to move both legs I do not hear any popping noise or feel anything that may be broken, he also will curl his foot around my finger lightly, one that was not stuck he curls with more strength. When I lay him down he just lays to the side does not try to fix either of his legs. Don't want him to suffer and have poor quality of life. Sadly there are not "Chicken Vets" around here.

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    1. What you do with him depends on how important he is to your or your breeding program, and what your gut is telling you. If you think you'd like to try to let him heal, separate him for at least 2+ weeks to let the injury rest. He'll need a space just big enough to turn around... but not so big as to let him work the let too much.

      After a couple weeks, assess him and see if he shows any sign of improvement. If in that time he becomes depressed or seems to go down hill, follow your instincts. Many birds do heal at least to the point where they can comfortably get about again... though some have a limp.

      If you feel you'd rather not try to cage him, or if you feel he is suffering, then cull him. You'll know what is right for you and for him, and go with THAT!

      Best wishes either way!
      Leigh

      (I currently have one in confinement with a leg injury also. He's eating well and alert, so he'll get the time and benefit of the doubt. He also has bloodlines I hope to perpetuate, so that influences my choice to try to let him heal, too.)

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    2. Just want to thank you for your advise. It has been a week since I had written.Leonard (the Roo) is able to stand for longer periods of time. I assume it still tender as he will "sit down" to rest it more often than most chickens I have, but I think he is going to make a full recovery with just a limp. Thank you again!

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    3. You are very welcome! I hope Leonard is able to make a full recovery and live a long, healthy life!
      =)

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  17. Great post..I'm hoping you have some insight into my hurt hen problem. My of course prized hen Dorothy has hurt herself and I don't know how. She favors a leg, won't put weight on the other, and can't grab my finger with her foot (meaning she can't get on her perch either) she hops around dragging her foot with it bent to wear it looks like a fist. There's no movement at all. Ive given her baby aspirin but didn't notice a difference. I don't know what to do or how to treat/help her. My other hens aren't picking on her and she's eating & drinking.

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    1. I would say not to give her any pain killers. Pain is the body's way of telling us to rest a limb so that it can heal.

      It sounds like she's doing just fine where she is, and if she isn't over-using the leg (you said she's not using it at all at this point) and she's not getting picked on, then leaver her be. Make sure she has a safe place to sit at night. While she can't roost up high, sometimes just giving a bird a section of 4"x4" set on the ground (make sure it can't tip over) can make them feel more comfortable without the risk of injuring themselves while getting up and down. Getting them even a few inches off the ground at night also helps prevent poop from clumping on their bum.
      Let us know how she does!

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  18. I have a two month old chick. I thought she had a broken leg, but after reading this I think it may be dislocated. She is separated and I put her in a sling so she is elevated and could stand if she wanted. She will only tolerate this for about a half hour then flails about. I am not willing to go to a vet. I have felt up her leg all the way to her body and cannot feel anything different from her other leg. How do I attempt to relocate her leg. I am not wanting to cull her but I will. I am open to any ideas or suggestions.

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    1. Poor thing! Dislocations are tricky and I'm not qualified to explain how to relocate a limb, I'm afraid. I'm so sorry I can't be more of a help. If you're determined to try, perhaps Google it. On a critter so small, it can be a very hit-or-miss procedure.

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  19. I have a silkie roo that injured his leg above the elbow joint i can feel the break. He has no movement of that leg at all it just flops around. He is eating and drinking. We have him in crate near his girls. We could not figure out how to splint his leg. We need advice?

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    1. You will need to very carefully trim the feathers off the upper leg where you feel the break. Trim a space all the way around that is about 2" wide with the break being in the middle of that area.

      If the bones are not stabilizing on their own and you feel a lot of movement, use a wide popsicle stick or tongue depressor as a splint only on the outside o the leg. Cut it down so it's not so long as to catch on things or impede his movement. Then use vet wrap and wrap around the leg once or twice - then put the splint in place and continue wrapping a few more times. Don't wrap too tightly or you may impede the blood supply.

      You will need to check the bandage a few times a day to make sure it isn't rubbing or hurting him.

      Best wishes!!

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  20. my rooster just broke the leg from jumping the top floor of the roof. The joint is broken and i can feel the whole leg from start to end is now a different part of body. Tell me what to do and I just gave him a pain killer and some other stuff to stop the pain . Now I want to move that leg back where its broken. I will give him some medicine and also put a bandage to make his leg work.

    If any other thing i should do then please tell me.

    I read some articles and comments i found some useful stuff thanks for that.

    Thank U

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  21. my daughter has a young hen. americana i think. it definately has a broken leg. now she wont move just lays down. the leg is blue and doesnt seem to have any activity in it.
    we tried to isolate her from the rest of the older hens but it seems to be getting worse.
    any suggestions of where to go from here?

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  22. Thank you very much for very useful information! I tried finding it about broken chicken legs in my own country (Latvia), but I could not, so I am happy to have come across your blog. My hen has a broken leg - it wanted to get out of the henhouse, when my husband was closing the door, so it got the injury. It is not open, and she can jump around, but she would not put the injured leg down and would not grip my finger when I touch the foot. After 4 or 5 days of jumping around with others that were not harsh on it, I have now put her in the cage where she can see others and others can see her, she drinks, eats and lays eggs, and I hope she will recover. I read also that there should be an elevated perch in the cage for sleeping, so I'm going to arrange that too, just not sure if the space will allow. Please tell me if that's ok if she does not have much space for moving around or for a while it is ok. I have put some hay in the cage and it is not easy for it to move around.
    Thank you once again, this has helped me a lot already!
    Valda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Valda - I would wait at least 4 - 6 weeks before putting any kind of elevated perch in the cage. You don't want the bird to jump down and re-injure the leg before the bony callous forms to hold the bone in place.
      :)

      Delete
  23. What would you do with a chicken whose hock is injured? It's swollen double the size as the healthy one and the chicken won't put its weight down on the leg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time.
      Some chickens heal well, some heal well enough to get about in a gimpy way but live long, happy lives, and some don't heal well. Give her at least a month if you want to try to save her and from there, follow your heart.

      Delete
  24. Hello there,
    My 3 month old chicken hurt herself yesterday. We found her behind a compost bin in the ankle between the bin and the wall. She seemed to be slid in there somehow. However, her legs were very swollen and she couldn´t stand up afterwards, neither grab my arm with her toes. I cooled her legs and put her in a box. Today the one leg looks a bit better but she stretches her other leg in a funny position back. This one is still swollen and she can´t use her toes. They are curled up. I tried to bring the leg in the normal (front) position so that it can heal like that but she always buts it back. Is there anything I can do to help her? Thank you very much in advance!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm SO sorry I didn't answer you sooner. I was experiencing technical difficulties that wouldn't allow me to leave answers to comments. Finally had to totally uninstall and reinstall my web browser.

      In your bird's case, corrections have to be made when the injury is new. It sounds like the hip could have been out of joint. Joints are very tricky to work with and sometimes need slings to keep the limb in place for a while. This can be very difficult with a chicken! Also with the hip being up against the body, it can present even more challenges for healing.
      Please let us know what had happened with this bird.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your advice. It didn´t get better so I went to the vet. He said that her joint seemed to be very damaged and that it would be the fairest to let her go. So she is in chicken heaven now, buried next to my sheep. It seems always to be the special animals...

      Delete
  25. I need help please!
    my chicken got stuck under a gate yesterday. I can feel that the joint at the joint down from her hip is moving, she can still move her foot and toes. She can stand up but does not put any weight on it. I have her in a small cage inside with food and water. do I try and splint her leg? and is this something that will heal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This could probably heal. I have a rooster that had a similar injury. Joints don't tend to heal as well as bones unfortunately, but he can get around with the best of them now. Just give your girl time, good food, probiotics and a little privacy (or limit friends to those that don't pick on her).
      Some chickens heal well, some heal well enough to get about in a gimpy way but live long, happy lives, and some don't heal well. Follow your heart. She'll need at least a month to heal from a joint injury, and then plenty of playtime in a pen to learn to get about again.
      Best of luck!

      Delete
    2. Thank you so very much for your help. She is just starting to stand and hop around now. Time will tell but things are looking up.

      Delete
  26. My chicken , "danika" was attacked by a dog...and walked again three days... however, only 4 days into her healing from dog attack i stepped on her as she was hidingvin tbe ling grass. Its been three days she is still eating her dog food for breakfast and french toast but cannot walk... omg... i dont know what broke. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give her a little more time and see. Accidents happen, so don't beat yourself up about this. If she can get mobile and lead a somewhat normal life within a few weeks, then you're good to go, but if not, then follow your heart.
      Best wishes and best of luck!

      Delete
  27. Hi my hen just recently "broke" her leg, i don't know if it is surely but when I pull on it gently you can hear like a grinding kind of noise? she also wont curl her feet around my finger and she doesnt walk any recommendations?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I have a chicken that is not walking properly. When she tries to stand, she stands with the back part of her legs. She doesn't put any pressure on her actual feet. She still eats normally, she just can't walk. I have her loose with my dogs, which actually give her company. What can i do to fix this?

    ReplyDelete
  29. I have a chicken that is not walking properly. When she tries to stand, she stands with the back part of her legs. She doesn't put any pressure on her actual feet. She still eats normally, she just can't walk. I have her loose with my dogs, which actually give her company. What can i do to fix this?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Um.. Hello .. I was wandering If you could help me and my baby chicks .. One of them accidentally broke its leg .. And I was wandering on how to fix it.. I really need some help especially because my mum fell in love with the baby chick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Astrid - isolate the chick. Perhaps put one little friend in with it to keep it company. Broken legs in chicks can be treated about the same as broken legs in older birds. Read the article above - set and bandage the leg only if it is not straight... otherwise just give it time and rest.
      Good luck!

      Delete
    2. Oh okay thanks ! I recently put a Popsicle stick and 2 bandages on its leg .. It seems better than yesterday .. And we only have 2 baby chicks.. So I think it would be fine .. But thank you so much ! You are a life savior !

      Delete
  31. My bantie chicken Tundra has I think broken her leg. She doesn't have any nerve reactions when we push it up to her body compared to the other one. She won't get up to go poo so all the poo gets stuck in a clump in her bum. Whenever she is up she uses her wing to balance herself out a bit. It looks like she just can't make her leg move anymore. We do not know how it happened, maybe from a rooster or from jumping off of something, but she did limp a little before she couldn't move at all. We all thought it was just from old age or she tripped or a little feather got pulled out. Please help as soon as possible!
    My email, if needed is amyroonowell@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your little hen! The older a bird is, the harder it can be for them to recover - but that is not to say she can't survive this. It just depends on her attitude.

      For now, separate her from her flock so she doesn't get bumped about. The leg needs rest. If she has a good friend who is gentle with her, put that friend in with her - otherwise put her in a cage or crate in the coop where she can still see her friends but won't be further injured by them.

      Clean her bum off every day. Keep her quiet for at least 3 weeks to give the nerves, soft tissue and bones a chance to start healing. I also highly suggest giving her Turmeric tea to drink - this wonderful herb helps nerves heal - and it sounds like your hen may have some nerve damage.

      After the first week of isolation, you can take her out and let her roam for a few minutes a day. Increase the amount of time as the days go by. She may not be able to walk at all, but I have seen birds that do figure out how to get about on one leg after a month or so.

      Time - that's what she needs most.

      If you believe that she is becoming depressed or not dealing with her bad leg well, than follow your gut and do what you think is best for her. Otherwise... just give her time.

      Delete



    2. Hello again, I have a new chick about 1 month old who we got from a fair and she at the time has splayed leg. The other chick we got who also has splayed leg has recovered but our other one has a rotation at the ankle. We are not quite sure if the splayed leg is still the problem anymore. We keep taping her legs together and she is able to eat and drink but she still isn't walking correctly. She has one leg in front of her and the rotated leg behind her. We are considering taking her to the vet but we would like to know if anybody knows what it is and how to fix it. Thank you again, my email is: amyroonowell@gmail.com












      Delete
  32. Hi there.
    My 3 on the old rooster some how hurt his leg or hip, I cannot figure out what exactly but I have his isolated with his 2 sisters for company. He will stand with all his weight on his good leg and take a step IF he has to or use his bad leg for balance too...Should I examine him more to see where he's hurt? I hate to stress him even more... and what should I feed him during this time?
    Thanks in advance and a Happy Mother's Day to you!

    ReplyDelete
  33. One our 40 reds broke her femur..dont know how. Took her to vet..xray showed clean break..no splint recommended..just isolate in small enclosure for 4 weeks. Been a week...she laye an egg in cage 2nd day..today she thought she wanted out and hopped about. I took her outside and she ate fresh grass then headed hopping toward henhouse. I picked her up and set her in nest in henhouse..10 mins later she layed an egg...took her back to small cage in living room where she watches tv with me and shes happily sitting down. Guess ill be taking her to nest daily over next few weeks to lay her egg...then back to movies. I'm thinking she might get used to this and fake a broken leg even after healed :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I read your article after our 3-week old broke her leg below the 'knee joint' (I have no idea how it happened) and I was desperate to save her. We did end up splinting her leg with a cut piece of wooden skewer wrapped in medical tape which was placed against the break, wrapped that in gauze, and secured it with self-adhering wrap. One week later she was putting weight on it and three weeks later she is now the head hen in the small flock of four. Thank you for giving me hope as the guy at the feed store told me I should just cull her, but I couldn't until I gave her a fighting chance. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I have a just hatched (last night) chick with a weak left side - her left wing seems a little weak, but it is her left leg that is very weak. it doesn't seem to have any muscle tone and she can't use it at all. right leg fine & normal. I'm wondering if my best course of action is to just see how she does for a week? She's in the house with me under a heater. Any thoughts? Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try giving her Poly-Vi-Sol infant vitamins (without iron) and see how she does in a few days.
      Good luck!

      Delete
  36. Rooster with injured leg from a racoon. Had him separated and wound seemed to be healing. Went out of town and had to put him in with hens. Now would is bigger and I can see his bones, one of which is broken. He is eating and drinking. Can I help him? Or do I need to put him down? No vet near me that will see chickens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This will totally depend on if you WANT to try to save him. If you really do, than get him separated again and pack the wound with Nu-Stock or BlueKote. Splint it if the break is moving about. Then he needs at least 2 - 3 weeks by himself where other birds can't peck at the wound and where he won't over-use the leg.

      Best of luck!

      Delete
    2. Thanks! I have separated him again. I love him and want him to be okay. I will get him splinted and bandaged up tomorrow. I sprayed it with our antibiotic spray (purple) today. Thanks for the response. He killed a raccoon a while back that was trying to get the hens...so I feel like he has more than earned his place on our little farm. :)

      Delete
    3. Thanks! I have separated him again. I love him and want him to be okay. I will get him splinted and bandaged up tomorrow. I sprayed it with our antibiotic spray (purple) today. Thanks for the response. He killed a raccoon a while back that was trying to get the hens...so I feel like he has more than earned his place on our little farm. :)

      Delete
    4. Thanks! I have separated him again. I love him and want him to be okay. I will get him splinted and bandaged up tomorrow. I sprayed it with our antibiotic spray (purple) today. Thanks for the response. He killed a raccoon a while back that was trying to get the hens...so I feel like he has more than earned his place on our little farm. :)

      Delete
  37. Today i went outside to feed my rooster and i noticed that he wasant walking on both legs wen i grabed it,i checked his leg and surely enough his leg was broken, right were the joint was from his leg, his bone was shattered wat can i do? To heal it

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi! Thank you so much for your wonderful information. Tonight I found my adorable little 6 wk old chick caught in the auto-waterer. She definitely has a broken metatarsal (bone directly above the foot). No skin break through, but I can move the bone. My first instinct was to splint it, but after reading your info, I just went with a loose vet wrap. Her foot/leg is already swollen. I feel so bad for the poor little girl. :( I've got her confined in a small cage and in the house where I can monitor her. With a bone break, do I need to watch for signs of infection? Such as her becoming "septic" (infection throughout the blood/body)? Thanks again for helping all of us chicken owners out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have a young hen that got attack by a cat or some kind of animal. It looks like she has a small bite mark on her back and one of her legs is bent all the way back which she cant move at all. Please, what can I do to save her?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. just had my husband help me look at it and its her femur

      Delete
  40. HI, I was wondering if I could get some insight since I have only had my chickens for 6 months. My clumsy boyfriend managed to knock over a huge concrete block onto one of the only 2 hens that are laying amazing eggs (of course!!!!). She wasn't able to put any weight on one of her legs and wouldn't let him near her. When I got home and picked her up and examined the injury I realized that her femur (very up high on the leg) is shattered, not just broken in one place. I seems that it's almost in her hip and it feels like it's not even attached to anything on the inside. I CAN NOT put her down and have temporarily left her at the person's house who sold her because he has a cage where the rooster and others wont bother her. She is able to hop around on one leg but it seems the injury is VERY bad. I am wondering if there is anything at all that I could do to help her heal and what outcome I should expect. The farmer that raises chickens said the break is too high up to splint and was not able to do anything for me. Any information would be greatly appreciate! I am extremely upset and can't imagine loosing her.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear this. Shattered bones are much harder to deal with - especially those that can't be splinted. Give her time and see if she'll learn to get about on one leg. If she does, then that's wonderful. If not, then you need to make a decision based upon her quality of life.
      Best wishes!

      Delete
  41. Hello, Thank you for your helpful article! I have a 15 week old Black Plymouth Rock pullet who I discovered this morning with a completely broken upper right leg. :( She was with several other pullets of the same age in a hoop style chicken tractor and her leg must have been caught when my Dad moved it this morning, but we didn't hear any sounds or notice anyone getting caught! The break is just above the knee/hock joint - her whole lower leg is floppy. It is NOT broken through the skin, but I can feel the bone grating slightly when I was trying to support her leg when I was holding her. My sister helped me put a simple cardboard splint to support her leg in a bent position. We did not wrap it tightly, just hope to keep it from flopping around too much. She hasn't tried to move much yet (it just happened an hour ago), was very calm when I was holding her, and is now just reclining slightly on her good side in a cage with bedding and hay to lay on, and a small food and water dish in front of her. I put electrolytes in her water. I know we will just have to wait and see how she does, but if you have any other suggestions I would appreciate it! :) Thanks! ~Charity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear about your pullet! With the leg being so floppy, I would suggest wrapping the splint tight enough to prevent the break from moving about. Just check her regularly (every few hours throughout the day) to make sure there isn't too much swelling.
      If the break wiggles too much, it won't be able to calcify properly. Just use your judgement and do what feels right. Wishing you the best of luck!

      Delete
  42. I ordered 10 baby hens online, and got 11 hens...and 9 roosters. One hen died shortly after arrival, and one rooster came with a bum leg. His leg below the "knee" is larger and knobby looking and his toes curl inward. He seems to be a bit behind the others in development. I have "doctored" him with some essential oils, but that's about it. I didn't want any roosters, so I am certainly not thinking about taking him to the vet, but since I have him, I would like to fix him up if I can. His whole wing seems a bit askew, and I'm just wondering if a splint might help. I even thought of just bandaging that whole wing to his side and splinting his leg. He is about 6-8 weeks old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK - are these chicks? Like day-old peeps? Or are they youngsters that are fully feathered? If they are day-old peeps, you can often use medical tape to straighten out the toes. Hatching with curled toes can be a result of humidity issues during incubation.

      If these are older chicks, chances are this boy developed this way all along and it may be a bit late to correct the issue. That said, many chickens do just fine on a gimpy leg. They may be a bit slower and not be able to roost as well, but they get around and make do. Follow your gut.

      Delete
  43. hello. i dont know if my first post was received, so here we go again. I think my pekin bantam has a broken leg. It was flopping around and she couldnt walk on it. Upon closer inspection i think there is a break above the elbow. There is no break in the skin. When i hold the joint it moves ok so i think the break is above this. I have bound it up. But after a few hours the leg has swollen right up, and also the foot pad is now swollen. The bird was left for a few days after the incident that caused this injury and there was no swelling up until i bound the joint a few days later. I dont think the binding is too tight as i had to bind over some feathers that i could not remove, so i think this might keep the tape from being too tight, but im not sure. Can you offer me any advice please. thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the delay - due to spam I now have to moderate all the comments before they are posted.

      I'm sorry to hear about your Pekin's leg. You have done the right thing - bind it up and watch for swelling. While the leg is bound, you will have to keep her dry and isolated. Try to keep her quiet for at least a week and then limit her activities for a few weeks after that. I'm assuming she is a Pekin duck? If so, swimming will be good for her once she's ready in a few weeks... just limit her walking.

      Use your judgement - if she heals and can get about (even with a limp) that's awesome. If she seems depressed and the bone does not heal well... follow your gut.
      Leigh

      Delete
    2. hi ive just checked my chickens leg. It is swollen quite a lot, and it seems to now be coming up in blisters. I dont know what to do. Could it be the binding is too tight. The leg was left for three days after the incident and there was no swelling then, . within three hours of taping up the leg the swelling started. i cant help thinking weve done something to cause this. If we take the binding off and the leg is not set will we do more harm than good. Please can you give us any advice. What would you do in this situation. thanks

      Delete
    3. There is a possibility your chicken has an allergy to the binding. If you have access to VetWrap (available at most feed stores in the US in the horse section) that is the best stuff to bind with because it is stretchy. Do NOT bind tightly. You can wrap one layer and then place cardboard in there to help stabilize the leg and then wrap another layer on top to hold the cardboard in place. Just keep checking it for swelling. You can also use an old rag against the skin to help prevent an allergic reaction to the binding.

      Delete
  44. Hi, I did a young family a favor and took a rooster off of their hands to let him free range with my hens. They told me he was being picked on by the larger rooster so they isolated him. Now that I have him home, in a large area of my garage in a see through large dog cage that keeps him and my hens separate but able to see each other, I see he is dragging a leg and using his wing to balance and do not know what to do. He is young, not even a year old. My hens are quiet and inquisitive and staying near his cage, but he is scared. I read this is how you socialize for a few weeks before putting them all together. Thanks for any help. Are there chicken vets? I have been on a farm my whole life and do a lot of my own basic vet care for all of my critters, but never dealt with a broken bone before in any of my animals. Hoping this guy will be ok, I think he will love our little farm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would take him out and give him a thorough inspection. Feel around to see if you can feel a broken bone. It could also be a joint injury or a soft tissue issue. It is good that he is already in a dog crate - he will have some time to heal before going out with his new flock.
      Good luck!

      Delete
  45. Thanks! We took him out and he had full use of his leg joints, pushed into contact, but is not squeezing that much with left talon. Think it's a sprain/ strain in the foot. We put a box in his crate so he can move less until he heals, and the hens can come and go to see him during day and are in near his crate at night so they can become used to each other, he seems to be calmed by their presence as we back away.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I have a hen that broke her leg when she fell out of the nest box and she's been in the brooder and won't even stand up and it's been 3 weeks...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very sorry to hear about your hen! If you think you want to try to save her, take her outside (away from the other chickens) and see if she shows any interest in trying to get about. Perhaps scatter some scratch or meal worms just out of her reach and see if she will try to move. If she does, do this kind of "physical therapy" with her daily, getting her to move a bit further each time.
      BUT...
      If she seems unhappy and depressed... if she won't even try to move to get treats... you may have to think seriously about putting her down.
      It all comes down to quality of life. She doesn't have to walk perfectly to have a great quality of life if she's a fighter and WANTS to live. On the other side, if she has given up, she may be telling you her time has come.

      Delete
  47. Hello madam. Very happy with this blog.
    I have 4/5 month old two chicken. Yesterday one jump over the roof n unfortunately his legs broke down. I am very very sad coz of this. It have broken bones in between leg lower part. It's not in joint. I am sorry I can't explain proper but plz understand.
    I am very unemotionally attached to him but now he have pain so I very upset.
    Please madam tell me how to give treatment better. It neither cut not nor bloodingng but broken n heavy swallen.
    Please can you give us any advice. What would you do in this situation. thanks
    Plz also reply in my email
    careerabdulahad@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear about your chicken. The blog post above describes a good way to try to help your chicken heal. Many chickens do heal just fine. Please read my post again and see if this will work for your chicken.

      Delete
  48. Good evening, I am so glad I have finally found a blog that might help my situation. I have a 2 month old hen, she has had a problem with her legs since she was 1 week, looked like slipped tendons in both legs. I strapped them up, put her in a chick sling and managed to correct her left leg 100%. Her right leg has caused endless problems. It seems to be bending outwards at the hock, the tendon also seems to slip out regularly and now I am feeling a 'popping' in the hock joint, each time I put her back in the sling for a day or 2 she comes out walking perfectly......3 days later we are back at square 1. I have now noticed her thigh muscle in the right leg is none existent and she is no long walking on that leg at all. My question is, could this be a tendon issue, or is it more likely an injury or break caused by the other chicks in their first week? I am at a loss, I have formed such a close bond with my Chicklet and she is part of my family and an inside 'pet' now, PLEASE help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately it sounds like a tendon or soft-tissue problem and may not be fixable. It is interesting that she does OK after allowing her joints to rest but then goes lame again. Chances are she hatched with this issue and there may not be anything you can really do about it. :(

      Delete
  49. i have a brown leghorn rooster and he can not stand up at all and he wont get up to eat nor drink he just stays on on of his sides and i just dewormed him i dont know whats going on can you help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt his issue has much to do with being dewormed, but I can't diagnose him on the internet. If he is simply refusing to get up, it may not be a leg, but an illness - either physical or neurological.
      Isolate him so the other birds won't pick on him, keep plenty of fresh water and food where he can reach it... that's all I can offer at this point. Sometimes chickens just get sick... sometimes they die. I'm sorry he is not well and wish the best for him.

      Delete
  50. Greetings! Hoping you have some insight. I have a chick that was hatched by a kindergarten classroom on April 29-30 (so 12 days old approximately). Sometime between 5/5-5/8 she was injured in her legs by overhandling :(

    The teacher gave her to me to nurse on Monday. I've had her 2 1/2 days now. The first day kept her comfortable with a warmed up rice sock, she ate and drank normally with normal pooping & peeing. Continued that regimen until now.

    Her legs are weak, she can't/won't extend them. The upper legs are normal (not splayed leg, she was doing fine until late last week), but the lower limbs are not doing much. She flexes her toes though, and stretches, trying to use them. She is sort of hopping around on the "knees" and uses her wings. The feet are turned out to the outsides. I can almost rotate them to normal when I hold her in my hand, but they don't stay that way.

    We tried a narrow length of athletic tape to hold the legs together under her for a day, she just snuggled the warm sock, ate and drank, and peeped. When she'd fall over, she would really peck at her left foot, so I felt like maybe that tape thing wasn't right and cut the middle part. Now she is obviously gaining strength, working her way around her box, but she's not able to stand.

    Other than time, is there something I can do? Do I need to splint or tape her lower legs in place so her feet are under her again? I'm feeling more hopeful now after reading this blog, but I could use some help. This is my first bird experience since my beloved middle school parakeet. Thank you so much for your advice - especially how to splint the leg if I need to do that.

    He/she has a little blog over at alvinthesickchikee.wordpress.com if you'd like to see pictures. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww - poor little peep! It is very hard to know what will happen with soft-tissue injuries like the one your bird has. You are doing the right things (though you might consider getting a heat lamp for the little one as a rice sock only lasts so long). You might also try Poly-Vi-Sol infant vitamins (without extra iron). A drop or two a day can help... and avoid medicated chick feed. Stick to the un-medicated stuff. The medicated feed has an ingredient that blocks the uptake of thiamine, and your little bippy needs thiamin more than ever right now.
      Best of luck!

      Delete
    2. I know, she is so sweet. I feel so bad! I asked at the U of MN extension and they aren't sure it was even overhandling. Anyway, the sum seems to be keep her comfortable and wait and see. Should I try to immobilize the legs so she can rest? Should I be manually extending them? I just went to check her again and she is definitely moving her legs around, it just seems she won't put much weight on them and the feet are aiming the wrong direction :(

      Delete
    3. At this point I would not handle or work the joints too much at all. Let them rest and heal. You can start helping the chick stretch the legs in about 2 weeks, but leave them alone until then.
      The chick could have a birth defect. It's impossible to say. If the chick is a fighter, it may do just fine scooting about for the rest of its life. Time will tell.

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  51. I need an experienced chicken enthusiast to help me with my chicken. I accidently hit one of my chicens with a rake that was tossed when I fell due to a very cocky rooster, and the group of 5 chickens moved so that an egg layer (don't know the kind) got in the way of the rake and its handle end swung around and popped her in the ankle. I love my chickens and if I can I try to fix them. I may need to know a thing or two about having roosters running with my hens, because they changed their attitudes being with them. Anyway I checked and compared her legs, and I believe her tissues are injured, or severely bruised. I separated her and gave her one day to rest in a coop, and fed her by small dishes that day and the next morning to my amazement she hopped down a ramp and got to the fresh air part of the coop made for 4 to 6 chickens. Maybe she needed water. its now the 3rd day, and she is still not using it. The first day I wrapped it for support in 3 parts, and next morn, I took off the top wrap and the middle wrap and left only the lower Shank wrap (up to the ankle)& half way to the foot. Next day I removed the last wrap. She is not swollen, but she won't use it. I think I bruised the ankle, and I don't have internet, using someone's, but need to know what I can do to help the tissues heal faster. She is basically hops for a bit on one leg. Her name is Blackie. She is all black with a blue hue to her feathers, but at the neck she is blended with black and gold feathers up to her face. She has a greenish yellow skin on her legs.
    Any suggestions or homemade concoctions would be appreciated to soak her leg in a soft wrap. I got her as a chick, she is in her 3rd year, please send email to me (Sally) at diethealth2@Yahoo.com with Blackie in the title please. She has tried to use it once when she was afraid of the dog that won't hurt her, as I let her out for fresh air, grass and a tiny bit of exercise, and away from other chickens for about an hour a day before sundown so I can watch her.

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    1. I would highly recommend isolating her for a few days to prevent her from trying to use it and allow it to start to heal. Soft tissue injuries often take longer to heal than broken bones. You can soak her legs in Epsom salt and warm water daily for a few days - not only will it help the healing process in the injured leg, but help her good leg which may be a tad sore from being used more than usual.

      After a week or so, let her go out a bit, but be sure she's not in a situation where she might be harassed or chased by other birds.
      Use your judgement... many birds - even those with permanent damage - can lead long, happy lives if they have the right attitude. The fact that she hopped out of the coop for water suggests she is a fighter, so give her a chance to heal.
      :-)

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  52. Hello,
    I'm grateful to find your blog. We are chicken lovers to be sure and the thought of putting our dear Dawn Cala Lilly Rose down (named by my 5 year old), is near to impossible. I believe she was pulled through the fence, (the one foot not protected by hot wire of course), she is separated from the flock with some chicks we had separated and appears to be eating and drinking. She can stand and move around on the other leg. The joint is swollen and still oozing. I. Am cleaning, spraying with antibacterial and wrapping lightly with vet wrap. She has not use of the foot:(

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your hen's mishap. Preventing infection should be the #1 priority right now. I would suggest daily Epsom salt soaks followed by an application of a Blu-Kote, Nu-Stock or another good antibacterial wound spray or ointment. Unless the wound is gaping, it is often best not to wrap it at all so that it receives plenty of oxygen which will promote healing.
      And then... time. Healing takes lots of time.
      Best wishes - I hope she makes a full recovery!

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  53. Hello, This was a wonderful read. I am a brand new chicken owner. I have a RIR that isn't yet 18 weeks. She has become lame in both feet. They just curl up under her and she stumbles about. Am I correct in my reading that RIR's tend to have genetic issues? This one seems fine other than her feet and now she is getting picked on by the rooster some. She eats and tries do move around, it is hard to watch. We were getting ready to dispatch her...but if there might be a fix I am interested in hearing it. I was hoping for some sort of splint maybe or brace? I just am ignorant of such things and in all my reading I haven't come across this particular issue. Thank you for your time.

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    1. Gosh - that's a difficult one. You can try splinting her feet - be warned that she may have just as much difficulty learning to walk with splints on her feet, but depending on the injury, it could help her feet heal. (Please understand that since I am not there and don't know the nature of the injury, I can't guarantee that she will heal.)

      Check out these Birdy Booties - You could add cardboard insets to help stiffen the boot and straighten her toes... then use tape or VetWrap to secure her toes in a straightened position.
      See Birdy Booties HERE.
      Good luck - I hope things work out for you and your pullet!

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    2. Depress and guiltyJuly 15, 2016 at 4:15 PM

      Hi blogowner and everyone
      My chick was bitten by my dog 2 days ago. After my dog released him, he was bleeding on both legs. And left leg immediately limping. Foot cant grip. But he was able to rest this limping leg on ground few times that day and forces himself to stand. Im not sure if he force himself to stand nicely using the strength of right leg only or a bit from the left leg. I can see that the fibula/tibia portion of his left leg is swollen and I quickly clean the wound and gave antiseptic spray wound guard and gave antibiotic drinking solution regular medicine - sulfadimethixine. He can eat and drink since same day of injury. Now he is in a paper box with towel and low lying food and water. While feeding medicine using syringe, he has struggled and May have hurt his leg further. Yesterday, his left leg seems worse. He never rest on ground again. And of course the foot was never ever to grip and clench. All Toes cant even move and are fully open since the injury. Did he sprain, fracture or dislocate his left leg? His left leg has no control and loosely hanging towards right leg. What else can i do. I cant afford to send him to a bird vet. I am feeling very sad and guilty. Please help. I even thought of doing a splint for his left leg. Will that help? Or would it be nerve damage, or sprain, fracture or dislocation? He cant seem to move his whole leg including the toes. Can it be fracture of fibula/tibia? Should i set it using a splint myself. Pls help. Thanks.

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    3. Dear Depressed and Guilty - accidents like this happen to many chicken owners.
      The fact that your chick is starting to get worse and not better may mean that it has internal injuries from your dog. While it is easy to see when legs are injured, it is impossible to see when there have been injuries caused inside the chick. If you can not take the chick to a vet, the best thing to do is make it as comfortable as possible. Offer it fresh food and water... and then just hope. It may start to get better, or it may not. Chicks are very delicate and hard to treat for injuries. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful than that.
      :(

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    4. Thanks Bulldogma for taking yr time to reply.
      Im just hoping based on experience, if i should splint the leg. I goggled and the procedure is not difficult. Using micropore medical tape then waterproof medical tape and cut and shape.
      I just want to know if anyone knows, if it is a fracture or not. Because i read somewhere some people say if it is fracture at some part of leg, the toes should be able to move. How true is that.
      And because if i can have more confidence that it should be fracture and not dislocation, then i may splint it. If it is indeed dislocation, i read it carries high risk for surgery of the bird esp small bird. And it is very expensive.

      Any opinions pls. Thanks pls. Thanks.

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  54. I happy to have see this site, I have one of my broiler of 1month old leg broken and seems to lie to eat and drink. But is still very smart even with the broken leg. I want to if this could kill her or cause further complication

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    1. I am sad to say that Broilers do not do very well once they have a leg problem. They grow very heavy very quickly and this can make it nearly impossible for them to heal and recover.
      You can always try to put her by herself in a box with food and water and see if she'll grow, but I would not be hopeful that she will be able to walk again.

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  55. Hi, My dear four chicks were attacked by two dogs today and one was seriously injured. She was seen limping but since I located her I have yet to see her put weight on her legs. She seems happy though and is easily letting me hold her. I have isolated her to another coop and was wondering if I she feed her upstairs in the enclosed sleeping loft or bring her downstairs to the ground level chicken wire enclosure in the daytime. Also, a 3 inch circle of skin is bare on her behind and I am worried that the other chicks will pick at this. Will I need to keep her from the others until the new feathers grow in? She is a black sumatra 6 years old. Thank you.

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    1. Tricia - I am sorry to hear about your injured chick. Be sure to use something to avoid infection in the open wound.
      I would recommend keeping the chick apart from the other birds for now because the other chicks may be curious and peck the wounds. See how the wounds heal and allow the injured chick to go back with her friends when she has has a week or so to get better.
      Best wishes!

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  56. Hello!
    One of our chickens was stepped on by our donkey the other day. We can't find a break but she isn't putting any weight on one of her legs, and it is swollen and warm. We're not sure what we should do to help her. She seems to be getting around just fine on her one good leg, and is eating but she cannot put any weight on her leg. She also won't grab with her foot.
    Thank you in advance :)

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    1. Sorry to hear about your chicken! Pardon the pun, but after being stepped on by a donkey, it might behoove you to separate her - put her in a dog crate or something small where she won't feel the need to move around. She should rest it for at least a week to let her body heal as much as it can. See how she does and give her time.
      Best of luck!

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  57. Help! my chickn is aa silver lacec wyanndotte and i think there is something wrong with her crop, everytime she stands she keeps moving it like its dislocated and whenever you pick her up she vomits
    someone please help me im desperate

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  58. OK - the Crop is a soft organ... kind of like a stomach. It can't be dislocated, but it could be blocked or she could have sour crop. Try massaging it. If it is soft and she burps foul-smelling air, then she has sour crop. If it is hard like she swallowed a golf ball, she has an impacted crop.
    Without me writing an entire post, first figure out which of those issues it might be and then Google it. There are great articles about treatments on Fresh Eggs Daily and other sites.
    Good luck with her!

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    1. thank you for this, it really helps. Ive done some research and found out that she has impact crop and what i am going to do is give her, her own pen and not let her eat for a couple days. that should help. thank you for

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    2. Hello my name is kelly i am sick as i didnt realize the chickens got out till after i let the dogs out we lost 1 chicken but i have one that played dead and survived she wasnt attacked no puncture wounds but will not use one leg this happened yesterday morning shes eating and drinking great but leg is cold and will not use it at all i felt pretty good feel no obvious breaks but the joint closest to her body seems a lil crunchy when i move it but it doesnt seem to bother her i already isolated her which wasnt hard as she is our family chicken i called a vet but they want to charge me 200 for exam and 1 xray i am currently financially challed and i feel like the worse pet owner ever any suggestions or ideas that may help
      Desperate in seattle please HELP!!!!

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    3. Hey Kelly... stuff like this can happen to any chicken owner. Good for you for isolating her. It sounds like a knee issue from what you are saying. Unfortunately, joints take more time to heal and sometimes don't heal well at all... but that doesn't mean your chicken can't live a happy life with a bum knee.
      Give her time. Some chickens learn to get around just fine with a bad leg, and some don't do as well. You are the only one who can judge. Be patient though... she'll need at least 6 weeks of limited activity to let things heal up.
      Good luck!

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  59. I can't explain how it happened but I noticed my little hen bleeding from its limb. It's been isolated and has refused food and water for 2days now. I am worried it might be infected

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    1. If there is an open wound, put an antibiotic spray or ointment on it like Blu-Kote, Nu-Stock, etc. Do NOT use Neosporin products that have a pain reliever in them as they can be toxic to poultry.
      If your bird is still acting ill, you may need to resort to a broad-spectrum antibiotic like Tylan or Oxytetracycline.
      Good luck and best wishes!

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  60. Hey, I have a chicken i found on the road yesterday, its leaning on one side more than the other and she can't stand at all, she doesn't even try to get up i don't know what is wrong with her. She's eating and drinking like a normal chicken would, but as far as her legs i don't know if it's broken or fractured or dislocated. She's still young she's not a full grown hen yet and she looks pretty healthy and is responsive.I've been keeping her in a cage isolated from chickens i already had.HELPPP i don't kno what to do.

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    1. Awww - poor chicken! I take it this is not your chicken, but perhaps a chicken that may have fallen off a truck or something?
      With that kind of fall, it is very likely she has a spinal injury which could basically cause her to be a paraplegic or sometimes only one leg is affected.
      If you want to try to help her heal (and I'm not saying she will, but sometimes they do...) make her a turmeric tea. You can buy turmeric in the spice aisle at your grocery store. Boil a Tablespoon of turmeric in about 4 cups of water and allow to cool. Then use a tea strainer or a coffee filter to strain the liquid and give it to her in lieu of water for a few days.
      Turmeric can help nerve endings heal. Sometimes chickens recover from these injuries and sometimes they don't. Follow your heart and do what you feel is best for this bird.
      <3

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  61. I have a 2year old. Dominique hen with a break straight through high on the leg. Took her to the vet to x-ray & splint. I was told that the break was too high to splint without compromising her respiratory function. She consulted colleagues at Texas A&M to give her the best fighting chance possible. The consensus was tomconfine her for 6 weeks...she'll walk with a limp but otherwise be fine.mits been 4 weeks and seems like a lifetime to me tMaribel. I just hope the dominan hens dont harass no peck her to death when she returns to the yard.

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    1. Sending healing thoughts and wishes to Maribel!

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  62. I have a very young chick with an informally diagnosed knee-joint break. She's barely a week old, and was born with curled toes. After a quick internet search I treated both feet by configuring 'shoes' for her out of medical tape. The thing is, for the first few days she walked only on her knee-joints and after I taped her feet she was hesitant to put weight on them. It's been a few days now and she walks gingerly on her left foot, with the majority of her weight on her right knee-joint, the one that is broken. It is swollen and a red and yellowish colour. I know it's a long shot but I want to do everything I can to save her. I'm not sure if I should put her in some sort of splint or leave it to heal on it's own. She is very loud and after I put a soft bandage to cushion the joint she was quiet. I don't want her to be in pain, but I don't want to cull her if she still has a chance.

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    1. Sadly, it is impossible to make any guarantees with a chick so young, but if padding her joint helps her, keep it up! I wish I had a magical way of helping you make her better, but I don't. Keep doing what you're doing. Hope for the best, but understand it may not work.

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