We tried physical therapy — something not normally done with a chicken.
This young hen was brought in from a local hobby farm which would buy chicks by the dozen from a mail-order catalog.
She had a leg condition that prevented her from standing properly or walking, and was emaciated because she couldn’t reach the food in the cramped pen. She would try to stand but deformed legs would cause her to fall forward.
We immediately took her to a vet, who suspected a vitamin B deficiency. Given this hen’s advanced condition, her prognosis was poor. He suggested a course of action but didn’t show much optimism.
We named her Pecan and put her on a liquid vitamin B supplement. We tried a variety of materials to create a splint or sling to support her legs, but her body shape made this too awkward.
Instead, we tried physical therapy — something not normally done with a chicken. Several times a day we would manipulate her legs to walk her around the floor to build muscles and train her to walk.
Progress was slow, but after nearly 3 weeks of treatment she suddenly decided to run across the garden on her own! At first she was using wings to help propel herself. Within a few days she could get around just fine.
Now she walks and runs with her fellow chickens at WFAS and her perky, mischievous personality makes her easy to spot in the flock. Pecan is totally at ease with people, and she darts across the chicken yard to greet us whenever we approach.