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 Post subject: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:47 pm 
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We recently hatched two chicks. They are now 2 and a half weeks old. They have been healthy and active, but one has suddenly become lame in one leg/foot.

I had cleaned out their box this morning and as I was putting her back she flapped and struggled unexpectly and did land a little awkwardly, but Im not sure if that was that was the cause.

Now she is very handicapped and is lunging around falling over. her left foot seems to curl up instead of sit out flat, and she just goes sprawling all over the place. She seems to be just lying around now, not really pecking at food.

The other chick is fine. The one that is now lame was the stronger of the two initially and was the first one to hatch.

They are eating chick crumble, not sure if its medicated or not, the label didn't say, I just picked it up from the local Rural traders store.

Any ideas on cause or advice as to what I should do?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Was she limping prior to the fall?

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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:59 pm 
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No, she was fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:08 am 
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Whether it's from an injury or from a vitamin deficiency, I'd still take the same course of action. I would put vitamins in the water. Berocca would be appropriate if you haven't got bird vitamins. I would also ensure the bird has good access to feed and water, but can't drown in the water. So you might have to keep the crumble sprinkled around the ground, and place the bird near the water from time to time. Don't squirt water down it's beak just dip the beak into it, or else trickle water into the beak so that the bird can swallow itself.

If it has severe injuries from which it can't recover, then there's nothing else you can do. It's only possible to give it the best chance you can and then see if it rallies around.

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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:42 pm 
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The chick is just laying around sleeping. Not interested in eating or drinking. She seems to have gotten worse. She is now laying sprawled out style.

I have just given her some vitamins in water which I dripped into her beak and she swallowed.

I think the hard landing yesterday must have been coincidental- she is not behaving like a chook with a sore foot, rather like a sick chook.
I will attach a photo when I figure out how to do that here.
thanks for the help
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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:51 pm 
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A two week old chick that is sick could have a couple of quite serious problems. Two things that concern me are the possibility of coccidiosis, and also the possibility of vitamin deficiency. I am thinking about these two things in order to protect your other chick. You would deal with those problems differently so you need to have a closer look here. If one bird has a vitamin deficiency then the other could have too. If one bird has coccidiosis then the other is likely to develop it as well as it is in the same conditions.

You need to have a look at the droppings. What sort of litter are they on? If they are on shavings droppings can be hard to see. Put them on newspaper if you aren't sure. Any sign of diarrhea? Any sign of darker colour/blood in the droppings?

Now the posture. Describe it exactly. Is the leg the only postural symptom? Are the wings slightly dropped? Is the bird pulling it's head in a little and looking a bit more fluffy than usual around the neck? Also think specifically about the leg. Are the toes curling properly? Is the hock joint swollen? Any thing else unusual? What about the angle?

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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Posture: she was fine then started limping. Initially her left foot curled up and caused her to stumble. Then it seemed to progress in a few hours to her walking back on her elbow on her left leg. Then she just staggered all over the place.

Today she is just lying down as in the photo. Her wings weren't droopy before she went lame. Its difficult to tell if they are droopy now because shes jsut laying there not even trying to walk around. I think they are drooping a little.

Droppings: have been normal up til yesterday. I have not seen any red blood in them although today some are a darker brown colour. Her vent area is clean, only just starting to get a little dirty I think because she is just sitting there.

Earlier I gave her some vitamins in water through a dropper and she swallowed. I just tried to do that again and she did not swallow what was in her mouth, it just ran out.

She can still move her legs, like when I picked her up to give her the vitamins she kicked her legs a couple of times.

I have put the chicks in seperate boxes now.

They are on newspaper with some straw.

She does not seem to have fluffed up feathers around the neck. I have looked at the photos of cocci and she doesn't really have that posture.


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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:21 pm 
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I would put your other chick on vitamins as well. Just put it in the drinking water for a couple of weeks. The fact that your bird clearly went lame first, makes me think it could have some type of deficiency, but be observant with the healthy bird. If you notice any lethargy, or droppings with blood, or hunched posture, then stop the vitamins and treat for coccidiosis straight away.

Sadly, I fear you've lost the first one. Once a chick of that age lies down and can't eat or drink there's no real prospect of recovery. I'd love to be proved wrong though. The only thing you can do is keep drops of vitamin water going in and wait and see. Alternatively, you could decide that it's not going to make it and do the kind thing. That's a personal decision.

edit: just reread your post. Is she able to sit up now? Has there been improvement?

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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:45 pm 
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No improvement. Her head is resting on the floor, she is not holding it up at all.

Occasionally she seems to have almost a spasm where she chirps and moves and falls over to a new position.

We hatched these chicks from eggs and have kept them inside in a brooder box. They have not been around other chickens at all. We got some five week old chicks about a week and a half ago but they are kept outside.

I think if she doesn't improve soon we'll have to euthanase her. I have put the vitamins in the water of the other chick.

Thanks for the advice


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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:53 pm 
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Sometimes vitamin deficiencies in chicks can be caused by the diet of the breeder bird that laid the egg. Not all fertile eggs have the goods to produce a healthy chick, and some chicks that have problems do manage to hatch. Given the fact that it lasted a couple of weeks though, the egg can't have been too bad. The other issue is the feed. Processed and packaged feed loses nutrients over time, and sometimes the added nutrients that are in there aren't mixed through evenly. For whatever reason, feed can sometimes be of poor quality. You can put newly hatched chicks onto vitamins as soon as they hatch for a couple of weeks to give them a boost.

In this case, it's impossible to say for certain what has gone on to cause a problem. At least you can help the remaining chick stay healthy.

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 Post subject: Re: Suddenly lame chick
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:13 pm 
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We were going to put her out of her misery Monday afternoon, and then I saw that afternoon that she was sitting not sprawling on the ground.

Then I noticed her trying to preen her feathers, although she was unbalanced and fell over. And then she started pecking at the food with jerky uncoordinated pecks.

Today she is sitting rather that laying down, she still staggers but is trying to walk on her feet. her right foot has uncurled but her left is still curled up. She is eating and drinking and her pecking action looks more co-ordinated. Her poo looks normal.

So I think the vitamin deficiency must be it because she is responding to the vitamins in the water. Just hoping she continues to improve, as I think we couldn't let her live in this current state, but she seems to be getting better.

Thanks for the advice. I'm a bit attached to these chicks and I am sure glad that she is getting better and we didn't euthanase her!


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