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chick w/weak & hot legs but good appetite- any clues?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by artist chick, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. artist chick

    artist chick Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Auburn, Alabama
    Hi, everyone- I just joined but have been visiting and reading for several weeks now. I'm hoping someone can help me diagnose what's wrong with my young cockerel. We are new to owning chickens, too. We love it!

    Anyway, he's about 20-22 weeks old, and a couple of weeks ago he began showing signs of weakness. He would walk a few steps and sit down, then repeat if urged. We separated him from the other 8 chickens in case he had something contagious. We kept him warm and comfortable with plenty of water and food, and based on some info I read here we also fed him boiled egg, which he loved. After a few days we began letting him back out again during the daytime to walk and hopefully get stronger. We have to keep him separate from the others so they don't beat him up.

    He has a healthy appetite but his legs seem to be getting weaker and weaker. It appears as if he is almost walking on stilts- his legs don't function normally and he balances with his wings. His eyes seem clear, poop looks normal... but sometimes when I pick him up his feet feel really hot!!!

    Some of you have mentioned your chickens having a fever- how do you tell? I imagine hot feet would be a clue, but...

    I have a feeling that we're going to have to euthanize this poor chicken- we've put several weeks into this and unfortunately can't keep it up because we're going to be leaving town for a few days.

    Does anyone have any ideas at all? All other posts I've read about weak legs mention their chickens losing their appetite or having diahrea, or falling over on their sides. This chicken doesn't fit those symptoms. I'd love to know what we're dealing with before we have to euthanize this poor thing.

    Thank you for any help you can give!
    Leslie in Alabama
  2. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator Staff Member Premium Member 11 Years

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Does he walk like is is drunk? If so, that is a sign of Mareks.
  3. artist chick

    artist chick Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Auburn, Alabama
    Well, maybe in some ways, but he keeps a forward movement- doesn't reel or anything like that. it's more like his legs are about to give out than he's drunk. I've read the symptoms of mereks and it just doesn't seem like he shows any of the others. That's why I'm stumped. Thank you for your answer, though! It may be that's what he has, but it's odd that he still eats fine, etc. Everything above his legs functions normally.
  4. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    check the legs for raised scales..or any crust..Scaley Leg Mite.
    sometimes this makes them walk "stilted"..

    check the bottoms of feet for any sores or scabs, also between toes.

    also check the legs for any signs of sores or open wounds, rash, or swelling.
    use 1 (81mg) tablet of PLAIN aspirin, crushed into 1 quart of water to help with any discomfort or inflammation..

    has he been wormed?
    describe his droppings..color and consistency.

    at this age, sometimes they need some calcium for growth spurt.
    make a mix of feed, water cooked oatmeal, plain yogurt, cooked egg yolk..
    make so it's puffy, not soupy.
    you only need a small amount ..give a tablespoon or so 2 or 3 times a day for 3 or 4 days.

    also get some Poly-vi-sol liquid baby vitamins, Enfamil brand if possible, no iron..give 3 drops once a day for at least a week or more, then taper off for another week.

    watch for any increase in symptoms..
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  5. artist chick

    artist chick Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Auburn, Alabama
    Thank you, Sammi,

    His legs and feet look fine; no open wounds, no crusty places, no sores or scabs. His droppings look mostly normal- partly white and partly a dark color, and the consistency is not runny or hard. I can only think of one comparison- a freshly squeezed blob of oil paint.

    I doubt he's been wormed- he and the other 8 chickens were given to us at about six weeks of age from a friend who just "has chickens." I will call and ask to make sure.

    I did give him a mix of oatmeal, egg and feed for about a week after reading your response to someone else's post about a sick chicken (I didn't have yogurt and we're on a very strict budget.) I will try that again.

    Thank you so much for your help!
  6. spatcher

    spatcher Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    AC I posted a few days ago regarding the same thing. My next door neighbor has a 17 week cockerel with the exact same symtoms. Lays down a lot and walks stiff legged when he walks. No other symtoms - feet are fine, appetite and everything else is normal. I suggested oyster shell in the event it was a lack of calcium and vitamins in the water. Thus far no change though! Good luck and if I find out any more will post!
  7. artist chick

    artist chick Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Auburn, Alabama
    Thank you so much, Spatcher! I've spent lots of hours trying to find info on these symptoms online without any success. Sigh. We're heading out of town on Saturday and we've got to make a decision by then- there's nobody here willing to nurse a sick chicken while we're gone.

    There's been no improvement in over 2 weeks, but I hate to put him down if there's something we could do to heal him, poor thing.

    Thanks again!

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