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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 28547
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My chicken is struggling to walk and seems depressed she is

Resolved Question:

my chicken is struggling to walk and seems depressed she is eating and I have had a good look at her but can not see anything physicaly wrong
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Janet, I'm sorry to hear of this with your chicken. Can you elaborate on her "struggling to walk", please? Is she having a problem rising from a sitting position? Is she lame on one or both legs? Is she ataxic ("drunken sailor")? Is she walking like a penguin? Is she squatting often as if to lay? Has she been laying? If so, has laying abruptly stopped?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
she is struggling to raise from a sitting position , she puts her right wing out to steady herself, she can walk if she has to manages to get up and down the ladder for roosting but spends most of the last 3-4 days just sitting don't think she has layed for a few months
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. Have you been able to palpate (feel) her to see if she has lost considerable weight? Has her comb and wattles become pale or discolored? Are you seeing any other symptoms of illness - a change in her eyes, swelling in her face, nasal discharge, gaping, increased respiratory rate, sneezing, coughing, regurgitation/vomiting, distension of her coelom (abdomen)?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
she does feel very light when picking her up,her appearance is un changed ,no wheezing or gasping for breath or vomiting that I know of ,cant feel any swelling in her abdomen
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
she used to bully the other 6 chickens pulling their feathers out all that has stopped now
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

If she has gone light her struggles are likely to result from a chronic disease process/anemia - chronic infection, metabolic disorders, or perhaps neoplasia (lymphoid leukosis, Marek's disease, e.g.). Unfortunately, her symptoms can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues in chickens. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of such a presentation, so we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests, X-rays, and physical exams to differentiate one from another. Necropsy of a newly dead or a sacrificed severely ill bird then refrigerated (not frozen) can be an important diagnostic particularly in large flocks. With this in mind, your best course of action is to reach out to your county-extension poultry personnel or avian-oriented veterinarian for help.

It's best to approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of her financial value to your operation. Although some services such as your county animal disease diagnostic laboratory might be available free of charge through a county agency or land-grant extension office, the expense of some diagnostic tests and treatments can add up quickly. While it’s always worth your time and money to identify a bacterial or viral infection that could potentially impact more than one member of the flock, this might not be the case with a condition that only affects one hen. It frustrates me that I can't be more specific for you but such is the dilemma of poultry owners and vets alike. In the UK, you're now prohibited to even purchase drugs at your agricultural merchant and so my suggesting your presumptively treating her with this or that isn't helpful. You have to go through an avian vet (please see here: bvpa.org.uk).

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.