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I have a 10 month old hen having balance issues. On Saturday…

Hello, I have a...

Hello, I have a 10 month old hen having balance issues. On Saturday she was totally fine, then a bit later we found her laying on the ground with a bloody pecked head and unable to stand or walk on her own. She has been inside for the last 4 days with slight improvement. Eating & drinking small amounts and producing droppings only about 3-4 times per day. No egg laying. She seems fine other than off balance. when placed on her feet, she usually bobbles forward or rears up and falls backward. She needs to lean against something (sides of crate) to stay on her feet.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the bird. What is the bird's name?

Blanca

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Blanca?

She is a Delaware hen, about 10 months old. We have had her for 5 months. She seems perfectly healthy otherwise. She is very docile and friendly.

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Answered in 4 hours by:
2/22/2018
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 33,301
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

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I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner and I'm sorry to hear of this with Blanca. It appears that she was cannabalized by your other chickens which is consistent with their recognizing that Blanca was ill. An unbalanced (ataxic/"drunken sailor") chicken may have been intoxicated by ingestion of a toxic substance, or be suffering from a metabolic or infectious (e.g., Marek's disease/herpesvirus) disorder involving her central nervous system. Regretfully, her presentation can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues in chickens. They’re signs of “sick bird syndrome” - part of an array of highly nonspecific clinical signs. Thus, in avian medicine we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests, X-rays, and physical exams to differentiate one from another. Bringing her inside was smart (as can be seen here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2015/02/how-to-help-sick-chicken.html) but to further clarify the etiology of her condition, an avian vet (www.aav.org) will be needed. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thank you. That didn't really answer my question and I was hoping to avoid having to take her in, which seems like it would cause additional stress, but I appreciate your advice.

You're quite welcome. I'll opt out which will give another expert the opportunity to enter this conversation with additional information.

Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 33,301
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
Verified
Dr. Michael Salkin and 87 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thank you! She is doing a better job of eating & drinking on her own today, but still not standing or walking well. Other than that she's looks good & seems fine, so that is why this is such a big mystery!
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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 33,301
33,301 Satisfied Customers
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience

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