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Mr Rhode Island Red

Hen suddenly unable to walk

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Let out my hens this morning to find that one of my bantam-ish hens was just staying in the nestbox and wouldn't leave.


She isn't broody, I'm definite of that. When I picked her up and brought her outside she just sat down and spread herself out. When I filled the water drinker, it became apparent that she was unable to stand or even walk a few steps without stumbling over.


I have left her in a sheltered place now, with food and water. Her head, eyes, nose are all fine. Her feet and legs are no different to what they normally are. She is defecating normally and eating and drinking. She does not seem to be in pain, only when she tries to walk.


Any idea as to what is wrong with her, how to help/treat it?


She's a Silkie cross by the way.



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It could just be a viral infection, have you had a look at her ears? I assume she has not damages her foot/leg


But it could also be the onset of the dreaded mareks? I don't want to be the harbinger of bad news but Do you have a chicken savvy vet? I could get her checked out quick smart, if you don't have a vet there is a good link on the FAQ section with a list of vets.


Let us know how you get on...

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Sounds similar to one of mine only had her 8 weeks and she could not stand or walk so she had to sleep outside the coop but still inside the WIR she was using her wings as crutches but every time she tried to stand she just fell over so a decision had to be made even though she had food and water next to her I could tell that she was not eating or drinking and one day she had not moved for about a couple of hours so rather her starve and dehydrate I put her out of her misery using the broomstick method not nice but had to be done

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Thanks for all the advice everybody, and apologies for the slow reply.


Opened the pop-hole of the hen house on Friday morning (the morning after the bad walking) and was rather surprised to see the hen has made a miraculous improvement with her walking. She hurried out the door normally just like all the other hens, and is still eating and drinking normally.


She seems to be healthy now :eh: but I'm remaining vigilant.


Only thing is that she does not seem too inclined to go inside at night now. Prefers to roost under a large clump of wild flowers. But I bring her inside and place her in a nestbox for the night (she seems to flinch if I place her on the roost) and sleeps soundly.


I'm going to suggest she could have jumped down from the roost wrong and possibly "knocked a snap" out of her feet/shanks.


I'll keep an eye on her for a few days though, in case my relief is premature

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