On Wednesday, Pat Barberi of Vermont contacted me for advice on what to do with a six-week-old pullet who had dislocated her hock, the joint above her foot. “Her left leg sticks out sideways. She was not born this way. She must have sprained it when she landed on a slippery surface in the coop,” said.
On Friday, she followed up on how she had handled the injury. Here’s her report:
I ended up speaking to Dr. Ben Lucio at Cornell Veterinary Medicine, http://tinyurl.com/6avqk5. The University of Vermont has no poultry department, but their animal science unit gave me Dr. Lucio's number and also Dr. Mike Darre at the University of Connecticut, http://tinyurl.com/6n7lzn.
Dr. Lucio concluded that whether this was a break or dislocated joint, the leg should be set. I called my own vet but he does not do avian. They gave me referral to a vet in Waitsfield, Vermont, Dr. Leroy Hadden, http://tinyurl.com/6lxnc4, who does farm animals and regular services.
I took the pullet out there. Dr. Hadden gave me two choices: Leave her as she is, which would leave her with a twisted leg for the rest of her life, or leave the bird with him and he would set the leg. I chose the latter and cried all the way home with relief that someone was willing to help.
When I went back four hours later, the pullet had a cast on her leg. A metal rod held the leg in position, wrapped with gauze pads and held in place with vet wrap. Dr. Hadden gave her anesthesia and found that it was a complete fracture of leg above her "knee". He reset it. He said she came out of the anesthesia and the operation very well. He said he will take it off in two weeks, or that I could return and have him remove it and check her over.
Now she is in a comfortable guinea pig cage on my kitchen counter with treats, attention and help moving around.
The complete vet service, including the check up, was $65. They were apologetic when they gave me the bill, but I assured them that it was the best $65 I have spent in a long time.
The staff was so caring that I brought a flowering plant for the office when I went back. They asked if she was named and she wasn't, so we brain stormed some names, ended up with Tiffany, due to her high cost of maintenance! It was very heartwarming experience.
Thanks for sharing it, Pat. Your experience helps others find ways to treat injured chickens.