lilting chicken: advice requested : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We have a hen in heavy molt (lost almost all her feathers in the last 10 days) who is lilting heavily to one side for several days now. She is able to walk straight at times, but often moves sideways to the left as if that side of her body was much heavier. Her feet look totally normal, and she is eating, drinking, going outside, etc. She has lots of pin feathers coming in to replace those lost.

She was given to us 2 years ago, has been a good layer until the last month, and we believe is a Rhode Island Red/Barred rock cross. That's the back ground, my question is: has anyone else seen this lilting walk as part of molting? Or is it a disease symptom? I can find no help in my chicken health handbook. I have begun giving her dry cat food for extra protein, and today she seems no worse, maybe slightly better. Thanks in advance for your help!

-- steph in southern vermont (, November 26, 2001


Don't think it's related to molting. And assuming you've inspected her foot/leg for injury the other thing i thought is this "lilting" may be paralysis. Check out this link on botulism. Did she get into a compost heap that has decaying food? Perhaps found some stagnant water?


-- Buk Buk (, November 26, 2001.

It also sounds like it could be an inner ear infection. I've seen that same gait in other animals with an ear problem. Unfortunately, I don't know what the solution is.

-- Gail (, November 26, 2001.

"when Irish eyes are shining......"

-- z Z (, November 27, 2001.

I don't have any fowl of my own yet, but my sister-in-law used to raise geese (as pets!). She had this happen to her geese. I hope what happened to hers is not what has happened to yours. She brought one of them to the vet (!) and he told her that it had gotten some grain or feed that had mold in it and that the mold had gotten into the bloodstream and become established in the goose's brain, (Seriously-- that's what she told me he said!!) and there was nothing that could be done. Unfortunately, all her geese ate the same feed and suffered the end. She was upset about losing her geese, and never got any more. She did say they looked so funny staggering around as if they were drunk.


-- MissJudi (, November 27, 2001.

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Guess I meant to say "listing" or "tilting", but said "lilting" instead! Ooops. She is definitely not singing.

No change in her today. Doesn't sound too encouraging from people's responses. The chickens do have access to compost, so the mold theory could be true, but I sure hope not. Hate to lose her! So far the others are well. Thanks again.

-- steph in southern vermont (, November 27, 2001.


Could be a magnesium deficiency. Try the feed store for a mineral supplement (preferably in liquid form because it is more bio- available), and if not there you might try your local health food store.

Magnesium is important for muscle control and about 300 other metabolic functions in the body.

-- Doc Mac (, November 29, 2001.

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