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Rooster will not use his legs!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


A few days ago I found one of our roosters, who is about 13-14 weeks old, cowering in a corner of the run. He was balled up in the dirt and very wet. I figured he was just cold so I brought him home to put under a heat lamp but he did not improve. He does not really move around his box, he will kind of "scoot around" without using his legs and he is still pooping, eating, and drinking. I shot this video to demonstrate what is going on.


He will not use his legs for some reason. Any ideas?





post #2 of 9
Although an injury could be a possibility, I would be suspicious of him having Mareks disease. Was he vaccinated? Symptoms may appear commonly at this age, and may include paralysis of one or both legs, and sometimes involving the neck. Later there can be skin lesions, tumors, or eye changes. Starving can be a problem because of the lameness, so place his food and water very close to him in a small pen or dog crate. Observe him for any changes and make sure he is taking water and food. Since vitamin deficiencies, mold in the food, and diseases like botulism can also cause these symptoms, I would add poultry vitamins to his water. Occasionally, coccidiosis has presented with this symptoms. Symptoms of cocci are lethargy, puffing up, weakness, not eating, and diarrhea with blood or mucus. Corid can treat coccidiosis. Please keep us posted on his condition.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

The hatchery we got him from vaccinates for marek's so he should not have that. He is eating but not much. We have him in a small container we use to house chicks. He had not eaten a lot of the food we gave him being that it is on the other side of the bin that he is in. I dropped some food next to him and he immediately gobbled it up. We have been giving our flock food scraps from the school's cafeteria so I don't think botulism should be a problem as the description says it comes from canned goods. I assume whatever it is that I should keep him quarantined until he starts to improve, if he does. Is there a fail safe way to diagnose coccidiosis? This seems most logical to me because he can move his legs but it seems he just chooses not to, pointing to him being lethargic rather than inhibited somehow, and he does seem rather puffed up.


Thanks for the suggestions!

post #4 of 9

You can take in some fresh dropping to a local vet for testing for cocci and worms, or you can just buy some Corid powder or liquid from the local feed store and medicate him. Corid is pretty safe, not an antibiotic, and since he is still at the age where it may be common, it might speed things up in treatment. Not all vets are happy about doing fecal floats on chicken or pets they don't see. Mareks vaccines are available around a dollar extra per chick, so unless you paid extra, they may not be vaccinated. Even possibly vaccinated chicks will sometimes get the disease, so it's not foolproof. Food scraps should be limited, and chick feed should make up 90% of his feed due to being balanced for vitamins, minerals, and protein.Egg, tuna, liver, and high protein foods are good for occasional treats or when trying to coax a sick bird to eat. Let us know how he is getting along in a day or so. Hope he starts to improve.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses!


Unfortunately I learned what is probably the cause of the rooster's aliment. Apparently some children were seen in the coop messing around with some of the birds (holding upside down and perhaps tossing some). I think it's more likely that the rooster ended up paralyzed from this than contracting a rare disease.


Before I found this out I ordered some corid and will try that and see if that has any affect on him. I doubt it will but as long as I have the medication I may as well try it. 


We have since put a lock on the coop to prevent this from occurring again.


If the corid does nothing and I think it won't we will but putting down the rooster. We have two others and we don't need any to begin with as we aren't looking to breed. 


Thanks for all the help,



post #6 of 9
We had a chicken that was under the weather and we took her inside until she got to feeling better when we put her with the rest of the hens one of them picked on her terribly to the point she was climbing on top of her. So we brought her back inside. What should we do
post #7 of 9

I think it's more likely that the rooster ended up paralyzed from this than contracting a rare disease.


Marek's is actually an extremely common and widespread disease that is very easily contracted. My bet is that the antics of the children has stressed him, which has triggered an outbreak of Marek's. He is at a prime age to develop it. Good luck with the Corid though. It's certainly worth a try.   

post #8 of 9



Unfortunately that is to be expected. You need to provide a safe haven for your hen where the others can get used to seeing her again but without being able to bully her. A dog cage in the run or next to their run so that they can interact through a fence or barrier. It may take a week or two and when you do reintegrate them without the cage chose a day when you have all day to supervise and let them free range, so that they have other more interesting things to do than bully her. Throw a treat of meal worms or scratch down for them to forage for to distract them.


If that still doesn't work and there is one particular bully, then remover her into solitary out of sight of the others and see how that works. Keep the bully out of sight for several day-week and then put her back in. Hopefully she will be too busy trying to re-establish her pecking order status to bully the previously sick chicken.


Good luck. I know these situations can prove challenging. Obviously make sure there is shelter from the weather if you are going to be leaving your chicken in a cage in the run or next to it .


Best wishes



post #9 of 9
Thank you very much Barb
Edited by bonnie57 - 1/11/17 at 4:19am
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