My Limping Chicken

My chickens don’t get injured or sick very often, so when something is wrong, it is very obvious. A few days ago one of my girls started limping.  I first checked the most obvious: bumblefoot which is an infection in the pad of their foot.  No signs of scratches or problems anywhere on her feet.  She seemed very balanced while she hopped around on one leg, had clear eyes, ate and drank with no hesitation and other than the limp, she seemed totally normal.  This is my 3 year old Easter Egg hen “Cheeky” who happens to be missing a toe (she got stepped on by the horse) and that healed beautifully.  I assumed it might be a strain or injury from jumping off the roost…. or other crazy chicken acrobatics…but no, it was from a legband!

this was the culprit...for sale at a feed store. Never again ...

In the past few years I’ve had trouble identifying specific hens as we add younger birds of the same breed to the flock.  I wanted to make sure I could identify the ones that were of different ages, so I got some of the older girls leg bands – the little plastic spiral kind.  Cheeky had one and it had gotten so high up on her leg that her feathers covered it.  People.. chicken legs are not round like the little plastic spirals (which don’t give) and they ride up the leg!   This thing had cut into her leg deep enough that when I removed it she started bleeding. Oh the guilt!  I cleaned and treated her wound then separated her from the flock for 24 hours.

She seemed to enjoy isolation in the brood box... she even laid an egg just a few hours afterwards

After dinner that day I took her out for a "walk" with her bandage on & she was already putting weight on her leg

 The next day she was up and running around when I let her out of the box, so I let her range with the rest of the flock.  All is good now.
I’ve heard of people using zip ties and coloring them to identify hens, but the bottom line is they need to be monitored.   Also, it is a good idea to keep on hand medical supplies and somewhere to isolate a bird just in case of emergency.