How to help lame chicken?

One of my hens is lame, not weight bearing on the sore leg. I don’t see any sign of injury or infection anywhere on her foot or leg, and she does not appear to be sick. However, I do see just a very few scales lifting up on the front of her leg. Could this be scaly leg mites? Could a minor infestation make her that sore? The only other thing that I can think of is that she may have sprained her leg or a toe. Is there anything else I should consider?

I sprayed her leg with liquid permethrin (horse and stable fly spray; it’s all I have on hand), and I’ll coat the leg with petroleum jelly this evening. What else should I be doing for her? How long should it take the leg to heal if the lameness is caused by mites? How long should a sprain take to heal?

I don’t know much about chickens, so any suggestions will be appreciated.

Just from an awful lot of watching Dr. Pol - look up bumblefoot.

If you can catch her and take her to the vet, they might be able to tell you more, too.

I think you have two issues; one, the scaly leg mites, and two, the lameness.

Scaly leg mites usually don’t cause lameness, especially a mild case.

The best cure for scaly leg mites is ivermectin. You need the liquid ivermectin, commonly used for cattle, and you administer it topically, with an eye dropper, two drops on the skin, under each wing.

Best to treat the whole flock at once, not just the ones that have the lifted scales.

The most common cause of lameness in chickens is bumblefoot. Check out the bottom of her foot and see if you can see a hard swelling. Even a mild case of bumblefoot can make them pretty lame.,chicken’s%20skin%20and%20mucous%20membranes.

I kept hens years ago, and yes. Bumblefoot was the first thing I thought of too.

(43) What to do about Bumblefoot / Chicken problems! - YouTube

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I would also assume bumblefoot, did you wash the bottom of her foot really well?

Scaly leg mites won’t make them lame, especially not a mild case. Agree on treating them all. I usually just put the pour-on ivermectin all on the back of their neck area though, repeat in 10 days. Two week egg withdrawal. The vaseline will also help.

If it really isn’t bumblefoot she probably just sprained herself somehow, I’d keep her in a small wire kennel a week or so.

Well, the unanimous opinion so far is that the lameness is most likely bumblefoot, so I caught the hen and examined her foot and leg very carefully. Nope, nada. I ran my fingers all over her foot pad and in between her toes and looked for cracks, punctures, or any place that didn’t look like normal healthy chicken foot. Yes, her foot was clean, just soft pink skin. I could flex all the joints, and her toes curled as they should when I flexed her leg. I palpated everything from her toes to her hip and she never gave any indication of pain. I did notice two things, though. First, the joint where the toes join was slightly warmer than the rest of her leg, and there are some places on the scales of her leg that have some bluish discoloration as though it was bruised. But, I remember that within the past week or so one of the chickens had a slight limp. I’m not sure it was the same one, but I’d bet it was. If so, that makes a sudden sprain less likely. I feel like I’m missing something, but I have no idea what it could be.

Could have gotten it wedged in somewhere and managed to get out, and it still hurts.

My 6 year old buff Orpington had something happen this year that caused the same thing. No sign of injury or swelling or anything. She didn’t use the leg for several weeks, and now she seems fine except she limps a little when running. I hope your hen is okay!

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That’s good to know, because I’ve been trying to decide whether to give my poor hen more time or cull her now. I’m beginning to think she may have something going on with a nerve, or maybe a back injury. I called my vet office but they only have one vet who does chickens and he’s not available at the moment. I’m taking a cat in tomorrow for rabies vaccine and I’ll try again to get an appointment. Even if nothing can be done I would really like to know what is causing this.

Mine was eating, drinking, dust bathing, and living a happy chicken life still, so I decided to just see what happened. And she recovered fine. I am guessing she broke a bone or something in the foot.

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With chickens that’s kind of up to what you want to do, ultimately. If she seems otherwise happy (eating, drinking, preening) you could put her in a large crate or x-pen by herself and just let her go for quite awhile to see if she makes a full recovery. If she looks like she’s suffering, just sitting around puffed up and won’t even eat if given a safe space, I would lean more towards cull or pushing harder for a vet evaluation.

So I was able to talk to the vet. . . he thinks that, from my description, my hen most likely has a ligament or tendon injury or a partially broken bone in her foot. He says if this is the case it could take several weeks to heal. He suggested either confining her for a month or, if the other hens are leaving her alone and she seems to feel ok, let her out to be with the flock. She seems normal except for the bad leg so for now I’ll just keep an eye on her and see how it goes. I hope she recovers; she’s a good hen and I really don’t want to cull her.