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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 32753
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I keep a few hens which are going through the molt but one

Customer Question

i keep a few hens which are going through the molt but one of them is struggling to walk and is is just standing with legs spread eating and drinking ok hasn't got runny nose eyes look good its just the walking been like this for a week tried extra protein in food but no change
regards anthony
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Anthony, the difficulty I face is trying to understand if this hen is overall weak due to a systemic disorder or, instead, is paretic (weak)/paralyzed due to a disease such as Marek's or lymphoid leukosis (more likely at her age). I first need you to review this link and let me know if any of the symptoms of Marek's are present in this hen:!mareks-disease/c1qzk/Unfortunately, the symptom you've mentioned can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of a condition, so we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests, X-rays, and physical exams to differentiate one from another. With this in mind, your best course of action is to reach out to your county-extension poultry personnel or avian-oriented veterinarian (please see here: for help in differentiating the various causes of what you're seeing. Veterinarians can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to distinguish between the differential diagnoses.It's best to approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of the bird's 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.Please respond with the additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.