How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Bob Your Own Question
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7940
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
Type Your Bird Question Here...
Dr. Bob is online now

I have a white Sussex hen who is hopping as she cannot put

This answer was rated:

I have a white Sussex hen who is hopping as she cannot put one of her feet down . This happened approx 2 months where she had about 4 bottles of metacam and then I just gave her time thinking it could be a sprain as vets for pets none the wiser . It was about 90% back to normal until the last few days and we are back to square one?!
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob. I'm sorry to read of Mildred's condition.
Do you know if she's laid an egg in the past several days?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Bob


Thanks for your reply. She's eating and drinking normally and still somehow gets up her ramp to the coop each night, but she sits down most of the day on the grass or in the soil instead of her usual walkabouts . She is still laying and her foot was checked over last time by the vet (with no chicken experience) with no visible signs of anything of concern. She does additionally have a red chest though where feathers are missing. Hope this helps.

Hello again, Nicole. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I'm in the process of getting ready to go to work, so my answers may be somewhat spaced apart. Sussex are a fairly heavy-bodied breed and sometimes a malformation in the leg bones can cause sporadic lameness as injuries can occur more readily than in normal birds. Once injury has occurred, another episode can be more likely. Be sure to check the bottom of her foot as a condition known as "bumblefoot" is somewhat common in heavier breeds in particular. Should you find a swollen area under the center of her foot, let me know and I'll detail the treatment of this condition. Another possible cause for her lameness can be the passage of a larger than normal egg. The nerves to the legs pass through the pelvic canal and can be pinched against the wall of the canal resulting in what is usually a temporary impediment to the use of one, or sometimes, both legs. The nerves to the legs also pass close to the kidney and a tumor or infection there can result in lameness. Lameness due to renal disease is highly unlikely to resolve on its own, so this is not high on our list of possible diagnoses.
The only practical treatment is to relieve any pain and/or inflammation using something like Metacam, or less expensive and quite effective aspirin. Aspirin is given in the drinking water, one low dose 81 mg (baby aspirin) in one cup of water, prepared fresh three times daily, or one adult 325 mg tablet dissolved in one liter of the drinking water, again prepared fresh three times daily. This can be given as long as needed. Hopefully she'll again return to normal, but she should be encouraged to rest rather than hop as the stress on her good leg can cause a problem there as well. If you should have further questions, please let me know.
fKind regards, *****
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Bob


Thank you. I'll get some aspirin as I went through 4bottles of Metacam last time and still took ages after that. I've just checked her foot again. Last time this happened a couple of months ago, there was no redness or swelling/Bumblefoot which I'd googled, but I've just looked again now and there does seem to be some redness this time though no obvious swelling or scab. Is there anything you can suggest at this stage?

Do you think the redness on her chest and missing feathers could be down to a tumour/infection in this area. I mentioned this last time at the vets with no answers?!


Thanks Nicola

Hello again, Nicola. Again, I apologize for the delay, I'm in the middle of a very busy clinic day here.

I would suggest keeping a close eye on the foot to be sure swelling or further progression of the lesion doesn't occur. Bactroban (mupirocin) is something that could be topically applied, eliminating the need to discard her eggs, as you would have to if using a systemic antibiotic. Bactroban is also effective against many of the antibiotic resistant staph seen these days. Your veterinarian should be able to prescribe this product for her (it may be called Bactrovet). I suspect the redness and missing feathers on her chest are due to abrasion from steps, roosting bar or other obstacles she must cross to get where she wants to go. Heavy bodied birds are prone to breast blisters and abrasions of this area because their legs are not as strong as they should be compared to their weight. When one leg is not being used the situation is aggravated, and abrasions, feather loss and bruising can occur easily. At her age a tumor would be unusual, but infection can set in secondary to the trauma I've described. The Bactroban would be helpful there too, if an infection is present. Use it for two days after everything looks normal, however long that may be, usually 7 to 10 days. Hopefully, the aspirin and Bactroban will resolve the problem, and she'll be her old self in a few days, but if you still have more questions, please let me know, I'll be more than happy to answer them for you. Kind regards, ***** *****

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Bob


Thanks for all your advice and just one more question before I finish. I'm not sure now about Mildred's last lay of an egg. If this is the problem, what do you suggest? I am struggling to get the aspirin down her and even tried soaking bread into it this morning so will probably go for the whole tablet in a litre of water. I presume the aspirin won't do any harm to my 2 other well chickens and that we can still eat the eggs?


Thank you ;)

Hello Nicola. There is a possibility that she may be egg-bound. An egg caught in the pelvic canal can cause this these symptoms to appear, but usually the bird is soon exhausted by the effort to expel the egg and looks much worse than ho you've described Mildred as looking. When chickens are stressed, they can temporarily stop producing eggs, but this should not last more than three or four days, or she may have another problem as well. Sometimes hens will drop eggs into their abdominal cavity, this will eventually become a fatal condition once it occurs as the egg materials become infected and cause peritonitis. Watch to make sure she starts laying again soon.
Aspirin is harmless to your other birds, and the aspirin and water solution should be offered as their only water source if you can't isolate Mildred. There will be no problem with selling or eating the eggs.
If I may be of further assistance, please let me know.
Best regards, *****
Dr. Bob and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you