Lameness in a hen, ? possible causes

Asked September 16, 2020, 4:22 PM EDT

I have a Copper Maran hen who is about 5 years old. She developed unilateral lameness fairly quickly ( over about two days ) in her left leg. She has no nasal discharge or cough. Appetite is still good. She spends most of the day sitting now apparently due to pain. Her stools are normal. I see no evidence of bumblefoot. I suppose she could have injured herself, but didn't see anything like that happen. No birds in the rest of the flock have similar symptoms. Any ideas on causes? Can gout in chickens present this way? This is a backyard flock that are pets. Any suggestions on what can be used for pain relief for humanitarian reasons? Aspirin? NSAID like meloxicam? If it was gout would aspirin potentially make the attack worse in a chicken? Thank you.

Fremont County Colorado

6 Responses

Aspirin can be given to chickens for pain - see http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/aspirin

There are many different causes of lameness. See - http://www.poultrydvm.com/views/symptoms.php

You have eliminated some by saying she does not have bumblefoot or any wounds on her feet. Gout is possible. What are you feeding her?

Thank you for the information.
She is eating Purina Flock Feeder, a small amount of scratch( cracked corn ), and gets meal worms as treats.
Since I posted my question, it now appears that she is lame on both sides. I am guessing, but it looks like the hip joints are where she is stiff. I am unable to palpate any swelling or warmth in the hips but am not very experienced at this.
The lameness came on over about 6-8 weeks.
Her appetite remains good. I will try her on the aspirin as per the reference.

Sometimes hens appear to be lame when the problem is actually internal. Is her abdomen hard? Is she laying?

She stopped laying around the time all this lameness started, but her flock members who are all about the same age have also stopped laying. Perhaps this is because they are are older hens and are all now molting including the sick hen. Her abdomen is not hard. Bowel movements look normal. Her appetite is good. Her weight is down.

Could just be arthritis from old age. I don't have any other suggestions. The aspirin may help.

Thanks. I will give that a try.