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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21201
Experience:  As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
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I have a chicken that can not get up or walk, she is eating

Customer Question

I have a chicken that can not get up or walk, she is eating and drinking water great, I have her on a worm meds, poly-vi-sol, if you can help me please i can't lose my sweet pea, i have been making sure she goes outside I have to hold her up so she can eat weeds are she will fall over, all she can do is lay there, please help
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the chicken. What is the chicken's name and age?
Customer: Sweet Pea about 5 monthso I think
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Sweet?
Customer: Other than she can't get up, all her balance is gone
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

How long has she had these signs?

Can she move and feel her legs?

Can she grip your fingers with her feet?

Any swellings, sores, stiffness at the joints, or boney crunching or instability?

Any chance of a head trauma or toxicity?

Does she have a head tilt?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Going on the 4th day,yes she can she is trying to get up, she just can't,her feet are turned under, no head trauma that I no of she just can't get her legs to work
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok so what can I do, and what could it be
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Are you still there
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hi again,

I am in the midst of typing a full reply and will post shortly.

Thank you for your patience,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, sudden lameness in a single hen can arise for a variety of reasons (just as it can in people). Specifically it does depend heavily on the tissues involved (ie bone, muscle, spine, tendon, joint, or nerve). With this in mind and given your history on Sweet Pea, my main concerns here are nerve or spinal issues since it sounds like both legs are weak and affected. As she is young, we'd hope that abdominal masses nor eggs are at the root of this; but if she hasn't had a head trauma then there is concern about inflammation or infection of these tissues and neurological targeting viruses like Marek's.

With this in mind, you are right to be provided supportive care and having her isolated from others. Do make sure the pen you use for her is deeply bedded to reduce the risk of pressure sores. Otherwise, to tackle as many of those other concerns as possible, we'd want to consider having her on a strong (and animal safe) pain relief, ie. meloxicam or carprofen. These are equally good choices and will likely help her with the pain she is suffering from. Both of these will likely require a veterinary visit for her, as they are not available over the counter. Some people do advocate baby aspirin in these cases (at a dose of 25 mg per pound of chicken's body weight once daily) but we do have to be aware that it isn't as strong as those others. So, it could be a starting place but we may need a stronger option if she doesn't respond to this. As well, to counter bacterial concerns, a broad spectrum antibiotic from your local farm supply could be considered here as well.

Overall, as I mentioned at the start, the cause of the lameness is subject to the type of tissue that has been affected. In this situation, nerve/spinal issues would top our list and therefore we need to tread with care. So, do add the above to your treatment plan but if Sweet Pea doesn't respond, then we may need her vet to use one of those stronger options for this +/- rule out that viral concern for her weakness and neurological signs.

Just in case you do need an avian vet and do not have one already, you can check where you can find one at near you at AAV (, Avian web( or Birdsnway(

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.