At first, we thought she might be injured. I looked at her leg and didn't see any cuts or swelling or anything. So, later Dakota and I looked in our chicken books to try to figure out what else it might be. Our current best guess is: chicken rickets.
Apparently, this is fairly common, although I can't find many personal stories about the treatment of chicken rickets online. Rickets seem to come from a vitamin D deficiency. The symptoms include weak legs and slower growth, both of which fit Jackie's current condition. The only place I really found info on what to do if your pet chicken gets rickets was on the forums of backyardchickens.com, and even that wasn't as specific as I would have liked.
This morning, I ran down to the drug store and got some liquid children's multi-vitamins with vitamin D and then to the grocery store for some plain yogurt. Then, we went down to check on the chickens. Jackie got her foot caught in the floor slats in the night, and I think she wasn't strong enough to pull herself out. It was very sad.
Jackie seemed really quiet and like she wasn't feeling well. I gave her a mixture of plain yogurt, liquid vitamin and cut-up bananas, Jackie's favorite treat. She ate a little yogurt and most of the banana. But, we were worried that she didn't get enough vitamins, so we put a dropper-full in her beak. She seemed to drink it down with no problem. We waited a little while, and then put her outside with Lisa (who was freaking out because we shut her out of the coop while we tended to Jackie and they hate to be apart).
Jackie did eventually perk up a little, and seemed to be somewhat okay--although still limping and sitting down, a lot. This afternoon, I got some unfiltered apple cider vinegar to put in their water. I guess it's supposed to be good for their digestion and to prevent infection and algae in the water and whatnot. Possibly an old wives tale, but I figured it couldn't hurt.
Tonight Jackie seems a bit better. She's still limping a lot and unsteady. We're going to keep giving her the vitamins for at least a week and see what happens. I really hope she gets better soon. It's really sad to see her limp and she's such a sweet little chicken. I have been worrying about her non-stop since we noticed the limp.
Here's a picture of Jackie snuggling up to my dad's Crocs a couple of weeks ago. Chickens love Crocs, and my dad.