Limp chicken

Chickens are very good at hiding illnesses, so it’s always a bit of a surprise if one of them is obviously under the weather. They are prey animals and it doesn’t do them any good to appear weak, so they fluff themselves up and put a brave face on it. As a chicken keeper this is deeply unhelpful because it makes it really easy to overlook a problem.

Anna sitting down - it's the nearest leg that's troubling her

Anna sitting down – it’s the nearest leg that’s troubling her

However, it is hard to miss a large bluebell hen hobbling round the garden and sitting down whenever possible. As with human ailments, it’s probably a mistake to take to the internet too soon, where you are bombarded with possible ailments – anything from being egg-bound to having bumblefoot. However, a quick examination revealed nothing – apart from the fact that there’s nothing wrong with her ability to peck (I really wish I hadn’t had my sleeves rolled up). My conclusion is that she’s got the chicken equivalent of a sprain… possibly from jumping down off the higher perch in their house – her preferred roost. Apparently this can be an issue with heavier birds, and Anna is certainly one of those (bluebells are huge).

My remedy, therefore, is to remove said perch and make sure that she is able to access plenty of food and fresh water. Once Mr Snail returns home later today we will examine her for wounds under the masses of feathers (bluebells are also very fluffy). She’s being doing plenty of sitting down, so I don’t think enforced cage rest is necessary, but we’ll see how she gets on over the next couple of days… fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

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  1. It’s hard to tell her size from the pic – what does she weigh? Hope she gets better soon 🙂

    • I’ve just weighed her… she’s about 3.1kg. This is at the high end for backyard hens, so it’s no wonder she’s hurt herself. Anyway, I’m please to say she’s much better now – still limping slightly, but eating well and sitting down less.

  2. Rabbits are the same Fine or at death’s door… she is very lovely though. I’ve always wanted chickens but our deeds say no 😦

  3. I’ll cross my fingers for her too.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  4. Poor Anna. Fingers and toes crossed she is AOK.

  5. She sounds as grumpy as Granny Weatherwax. Perhaps she needs a sign around her neck saying “I atn’t dead – yet”! Seriously though, big chooks can get joint problems because of all the extra they’re carrying around. She’s got the right idea, lots of sitting down.

  6. Oh, poor girl! I hope she’s bouncing back already! What beautiful gray feathers.

  7. I’ll hope for the best outcome as well. I love chickens though I can’t have them here.

  8. I hope she feels better soon! We have a Bluebell called Ruby, she first limped around a year ago. A few days later, she was fine. It’s happened four times since, she’s always fine, just takes her time moving about for a couple of days xx

  9. Yep, we have had very few appear ill compared with those that we just find dead in the morning. If one is really ill and I think them unlikely to recover then I will kill them. If unsure of the cause of death will bury them, usually where a tree is to be planted. If I can be sure of the cause of illness then we will eat them but as they are usually at least two or three years old by this time they need long slow cooking.

  10. Perhaps they are like terriers, who feign injury at the drop of a chocolate-coated hat to engender a bit of fuss?!

  11. I’m behind on my reading, so very happy to read that your lovely chicken is on the mend.


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