We noticed that one of our laying hens was under the coop and didn’t want to walk. After examining her it was clearly evident that she wasn’t putting any weight on her swollen leg. Her injury was also not allowing her to get to water and food. Not being able to take care of herself in a flock of birds made her a very easy target for the rest of the hens.
We moved her into a building and kept her segregated in a dog kennel. It took six weeks to bring her back to good health and a whole lot of investigating and ruling out ailments. Throughout the entire convalescent she never lost her appetite and her will to live so we took this as a good sign that if we could figure out what was wrong with her, we could eventually save her.
We ruled out a retained egg within the first 48 hours because she wouldn’t have survived. Since she couldn’t get up and move around she was very dirty. We thought she might have a stomach issue. She enjoyed warm water baths with epsoms salts several times a day. It was no problem keeping this gal in the spa bath! We gave her yogurt mixed with feed as well hoping to encourage the good bacteria in her gut.
After three weeks of pampering with minimal improvement on her walking status I had to bring our large animal vet in for a consultation during one of the biweekly dairy clinics. Her examination revealed that the hens bum leg was still swollen and felt warm to the touch so we decided to put her on a regime of antibiotics to clear up the infection that we felt she was harboring.
We continued to keep her segregated for seven days after she finished her meds, if she laid an egg we wanted to be able to throw it away. Once we decided that her health was restored we started putting her outside in a makeshift hut near the coop so the other hens would get used to seeing her. It will take a long time to slowly acclimate her back into the flock without the other hens attacking her as a newcomer. We’ll work on that and keep you posted.