Brackish comb, fearful Serama rooster

Bocktobery 10

Songster
10 Years
Oct 8, 2010
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So, most of this whole year I had some issues with a 3 year old serama rooster. I first noticed a problem earlier this spring when he got beaten up by two of his flock mates -roosters which he had been living with fine for a little more than a year. Luckily I happened to see the fight and intervened. He was beaten up very badly, but didn’t have any major open wounds. When I got to him, I thought he was dead as he wasn’t moving. He stayed very still the rest of the evening, but was ok by the next morning. I brought him in and tended to him. I kept him inside until he healed up fully. He recovered, but I noticed from there on from time to time his comb looked dark red- not cherry red, but what I call “brackish” red. He also seemed very timid, not like his usual self- even afraid of me when going to pick him up. I have had him separated from the flock since early summer, but in a place he can still see and converse with his flock. He seemed content with this arrangement, even preferring to stay in the quarters if the door was left open. He also is quite docile with me once I pick him up. He will lay down on my chest and sleep as I pet and preen him. I say this to say he seems to favor inactivity. Any other rooster would stand up, get a bit squirmy or try and walk away, eventually. This lil’ guy will stay put.

What I’m concerned about is his brackish comb and fearfulness. Knowing how chickens are when they sense another flock member‘s illness, I realized this was probably the reason for him getting beaten up. But unlike most chicken illnesses, he has been doing well/ok, not getting worse. I expected him to have passed by now if it was a regular chicken illness. I was hoping these odd symptoms would clear with some time off, rest recuperation and vitamin supplementation, but he still will get the brackish comb, pant and act fearful upon some circumstances that require more activity. Other than that, he eats fine, has a beautiful continence..his comb will sometimes be of normal color.

I have brought him inside for the winter as I don’t have a way to give him supplemental heating, which I surmise he will need since I suspect he has a heart/circulatory problem. I was wondering if anyone has any other ideas as to what it could be? Is it possible the fight with the other roosters maimed something within him, or do you think they were going after him because they detected illness? Also, does anyone have any recommendations on how to treat him? I looked up if chickens can get heart worms but found that they don’t. I’m not sure what it could be- possibly just a genetic defect, but I’d like to help him if possible. I may take him to the vet soon, but wanted to get some ideas from other chicken keepers here. My vet is not avian trained, so a visit might be fruitless. Still, just looking for suggestions.

Thanks in advance for any replies. I will try and post a pic of him soon. He is a real sweetie, beautiful too.
 

Aapomp831

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Oct 4, 2017
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What has happened is he got beat up, and after your intervention you started spoiling him and he got used to it. Roosters fight over hens, territory and resources and he lost the fight for dominance. I highly doubt it was because the other chickens sensed illness. I know it’s weird that they got along for awhile and things changed, but that’s why I’m not an advocate of having more than one rooster. It can go from peace and harmony one day to a bloodbath the next.... always when you’re least expecting it. I would build him his own small coop and maybe get him his own little flock of girls. You’ll have two separate areas to take care of, but at least you won’t have any more injuries to deal with.
He shouldn’t need supplemental heat; why do you suspect a heart / circulatory issue? As far as the comb is concerned, it’s probably just still healing from the vicious attack - it would help if you posted pictures.
 

Bocktobery 10

Songster
10 Years
Oct 8, 2010
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What has happened is he got beat up, and after your intervention you started spoiling him and he got used to it. Roosters fight over hens, territory and resources and he lost the fight for dominance. I highly doubt it was because the other chickens sensed illness. I know it’s weird that they got along for awhile and things changed, but that’s why I’m not an advocate of having more than one rooster. It can go from peace and harmony one day to a bloodbath the next.... always when you’re least expecting it. I would build him his own small coop and maybe get him his own little flock of girls. You’ll have two separate areas to take care of, but at least you won’t have any more injuries to deal with.
He shouldn’t need supplemental heat; why do you suspect a heart / circulatory issue? As far as the comb is concerned, it’s probably just still healing from the vicious attack - it would help if you posted pictures.

I suspect the heart/circulation issue because any time he gets active his comb goes brackish- dark blackish red and he pants and gets lethargic. From experience I know heart issues and freezing temps for chickens result in death. They can‘t really take the stress of the cold. Seramas I was also told need supplemental heating in the cold of winter, which I do for the rest of the flock when temps get very low.

I’m not so sure I’ve spoiled him. I just separated him and gave him a peaceful comfortable place to stay as he recooperated. And I know you are correct that one rooster per flock is best. I was told serama roosters get along very well. I’m not certain this is true, but other than this issue I’ve not had bad problems. Not saying it couldn’t occur, just that I had read serama roos can get along. I also note, I’m interested in rooster behavior since other than the basics it doesn’t seem we know much about it.

I do hope to give him his own small flock and coop/run come this spring. The plans are in the works. I may add his “sister” (remaining nest mate) to his cage for company for now.
 

Bocktobery 10

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Oct 8, 2010
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2AF4E83A-345E-42A8-943F-6C1D37935B4B.jpeg
 

Bocktobery 10

Songster
10 Years
Oct 8, 2010
832
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241
This photo best shows the “brackishness”. He didn’t seem to have much of a problem today with it, but the color change and panting is still there. I just took this photo now. (The scab on the front is not what I’m taking about in terms of brackish). It’s hard to show that the comb is darker than normal in the photos without a comparison to the other rooster’s combs. Please just know, it’s a darker black-red..not the darker red that they can get from regular hormones, not dark-tipped fingers on the comb, but a very off “brackish” color that gets worse with activity.
 
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Bocktobery 10

Songster
10 Years
Oct 8, 2010
832
382
241
Do you have photos?

Sounds like he lost his courage. Sometimes if a rooster is beaten badly, they may never recover from that and be timid all their life.

If you have a little hen that you can put him with, this may help with his confidence.

Not sure about the comb color, will wait for photos.
Thank you. It seems like he has. I think I’ll put him with a hen. I just need a bigger cage for the both of them together.
 

Wyorp Rock

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I suspect the heart/circulation issue because any time he gets active his comb goes brackish- dark blackish red and he pants and gets lethargic. From experience I know heart issues and freezing temps for chickens result in death. They can‘t really take the stress of the cold. Seramas I was also told need supplemental heating in the cold of winter, which I do for the rest of the flock when temps get very low.
You may be right about a heart condition.
The panting and lethargy after being active are of concern.
Honestly, I don't know what you could do for that if he is having heart troubles. Having a hen actually may not be a good idea then, but you can see what happens. I'm wondering if his attentions to her might be the end of him, but...a rooster seems quite happy to have a lady, so he might die a happy little fella too.
Not trying to be sad there.

The only other thing would be respiratory illness, but you see no symptoms except when he's active correct?

Cute little guy. I've never had Serama, but have too read they are not that cold tolerant, so it sounds like you are taking care of him the best you can.
 

Bocktobery 10

Songster
10 Years
Oct 8, 2010
832
382
241
You may be right about a heart condition.
The panting and lethargy after being active are of concern.
Honestly, I don't know what you could do for that if he is having heart troubles. Having a hen actually may not be a good idea then, but you can see what happens. I'm wondering if his attentions to her might be the end of him, but...a rooster seems quite happy to have a lady, so he might die a happy little fella too.
Not trying to be sad there.

The only other thing would be respiratory illness, but you see no symptoms except when he's active correct?

Cute little guy. I've never had Serama, but have too read they are not that cold tolerant, so it sounds like you are taking care of him the best you can.

Yes, correct. No other symptoms and it’s been like 6 months since all this started. As you can see, he’s looking still well (despite his scab-which was a scuffle through a cage door, long story. He’s not in a position for scuffles now). You can see his dropping on the towel there too- poop looks fine. Eats, moves around fine.. everything good except for mentioned issue. (Been treating legs for scaly mite, which isn’t bad. A few raised scales). The length of time since this started and all these facts make me feel confident it’s not contagious, but yeah, part of the reason why I havent put a lady friend in there for him is because I’m not sure about contagions. I think it’s either genetic, or the fights he had damaged something internally. Yeah, I don’t mind him dying as a happy fella 😄🥰. (I understood what you’re trying to say). He’s a real sweetie. I know they really love and want to be with some hens.

I had wanted to possibly re-home him as maybe someone else can give him a flock. He’s a great little rooster, but I wouldn’t think this is ethical -even if the medical issue was disclosed to the buyer/owner, to sell/re-home him in this condition (as I would do). I’m not sure someone would want a rooster with such a condition too. I don’t want to slough off a problem onto someone else. My goal is just keep him happy and healthy. Plans were already in the works for large breeding/brooder/extra pens to be built next year- but with covid stuff going on, I’m not sure if that will still happen. If it does, I was then planning on just having him by himself in one, or put an older hen(s) in there with him, but that would be another 3 or 4 months from now.

Thank you, Wyorp Rock.
 
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