Cockerel crooked leg? need advice please

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fifibreen, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pictured is a partridge Brahma cockerel we purchased about one month ago. He was approximately three months old when we purchased him. We are small backyard chicken enthusiast, and love Brahma chickens. We are not breeding or intend too, but have always wanted a partridge Brahma. We bought this one very inexpensive for a pet.

    We picked out this one since he was so sweet and calm. My husband had him in him in his lap so quick and seemed this cockerel was the one. I admit I never observed him walking. I thought at first he was a little awkward and ungraceful since he is growing so much. He put on a pound of weight on in the first week we owned him.

    I am thinking more now that his feathered legs disguised his the right leg being crooked. Upon observing him over the month It has become more apparent that I feel his leg is deformed. He eats and drinks and seems well otherwise.

    My big concern is whether there is anything we should do for him, and if the problem will get worse. We of course have gotten attached already, and you get what you pay for so I'm not upset with the breeder.

    His leg the best I can tell is not swollen and he does not really limp. He does walk a little funny, and does not have good balance when encountering obstacles.

    The best I can tell the deformity is from his ankle down. Don't know if it is affecting his knee and hip.

    Is this going to get worse possibly? Or will he be able to have a reasonable life as a pet?

    Hopefully these images can help although its hard to see with all his fluff.


    Back of legs
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    Front of legs
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    Standing on his own
    [​IMG]

    Hopefully these pictures can help
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    His knees are 'knock-kneed'... This may be genetic, may be due to injury (doubt that) or may be due to deficiency. The first and last are my best bets. To me it appears his tendons are at fault here, they are weak and not holding his bones correctly positioned. This can and does lead to deformed joints and bones over time, and it looks like it already may have deformed his joints to a certain degree.

    It's possible it's fixable, but may take intensive rehabilitation if nutritional correction alone doesn't do it. Such rehab would probably involve sitting him in a sling that allows him to stand, but also allows him to take his weight off his legs while having them dangle in the correct position, and possibly carefully splinting his legs to apply mild force to straighten them. Too great a correction at any time, using force even gently, could of course damage his legs; it may help if you look up this procedure in horses with similar leg problems. It's doable, but takes careful splinting over a few weeks or months. In the worst cases it's not fixable but being a young chook I believe he stands a good chance.

    Just leaving it may not be wise, as he's going to become a big, heavy boy and there's a decent chance his legs could fail to sustain his weight, given their weakened status.

    Can you ask the breeder if this is something common to any family lines they have? Or for further information? Hopefully they won't mind helping you out, especially if they're a level headed sort, but some breeders take great offense at any suggestions that a bird of theirs has shown poor form. Hopefully that doesn't happen.

    If it's genetic, there's still a good chance it is treatable as though it were an acquired dietary deficiency, because diseases of deficiency are quite often passed on through generations, and are known by other names as though they were diseases unrelated to diet, further confusing newbies.

    Without intending to slur the breeder or you, I must say, he's not in good condition and could do with some extended TLC. That greyish/purplish tinge to his face is never a good sign in a bird that isn't one known for fibromelanistic genetics or darker pigmentation. It says his health is very poor, and combined with his pale wattles and crest means his cardiovascular system is very weakly. Weak circulation means lack of oxygen and nutrients being delivered to cells, and less waste products and diseased cells being filtered out, and lack of oxygen means everything 'anti life' now has an easier target. So, abnormal cell problems including cancer are far more likely to occur, as well as invasive problems like viruses, hostile bacteria & fungi, parasites etc all now have an advantage over him. It all goes hand in hand with slower healing and weaker immune system function, poorer organ function, everything is sub par when the circulation is.

    There's a strong chance his weakly knees have contributed to this unhealthy appearance he has, slowing him up so he couldn't compete for feed with his siblings; it's often amazing how even a single broken toe can set back a young bird and hold them back, leading to 'whole organism fallout' in which one isolated and mild but prolonged problem impacts the whole body until it's run down and fallen behind normal development milestones, and they can and do remain behind for life without some assistance to regain lost ground.

    The knock-kneed problem, I believe is most likely deficiency-caused, because overall, his health shows he's lacking several important nutrients.

    The equivalent of the following diseases of deficiency occur in many species, and the underlying deficiency, as a general rule of thumb, is the same (despite how great a dietary or digestive difference some people say lies between for example mammals and birds. The underlying factors are the same in almost all areas, as our organs all use the same nutrients and the same body tissues are comprised of the same building blocks so to speak, therefore are rebuilt and maintained by the same nutrients.)

    Rickets, soft bones, bone deformities, swayback, joint problems and weaknesses, knuckleover (contracted tendons), and numerous similar problems are all caused by mainly lack of vitamins A and D, and to a lesser extent boron, calcium, magnesium, copper, and cobalt. Phosphorous is another important one often contributing to these types of skeletal or joint problems. Lack of sulfur can also create similar problems as the whole body including bones relies on sulfur as a building block. All vitamins and minerals and so forth, all nutrients even the micro or trace ones, are digested, processed, synthesized in conjunction with others, more or less, so a whole supplement spectrum containing a wide range of balanced ratios of nutrients is generally better than isolated supplements.

    People with for example goats with severely bowed legs have seen apparently miraculous cures effected within days simply by supplementing their diets with the minerals they were lacking (generally phosphorous, cal-mag, etc). Depending on what caused the problem, it's not uncommon for dietary correction to straighten bent bones and tendons back into correct formation. Of course, overdose of anything is likewise a cause of problems. Everything in moderation, and in correct ratios, and in as natural a form as possible.

    This website will help explain many deficiency diseases and symptoms; I highly recommend you bookmark it. But it only deals with the most commonly seen diseases and rather briefly too, it's not comprehensive, so best to bear that in mind.
    Quote: This is another site with a wealth of information on treating leg and foot issues in chooks:
    Quote: Best wishes.
     
  3. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe deficiency is a very good thought. Although the pens looked nice, the breeder had a lot of animals, and likely not able to keep up with it all.

    I asked and she had not been feeding a higher protein feed, as the feed I saw looked to lack. When we first got him he seemed underweight, and what I though was calm. I later thought could be weakness.

    I noticed he had louse, and soon noticed his dropping indicated worms.

    I have treated him with two rounds of prytherine dust 10 days apart, for mites and louse. I wormed him two rounds with "safeguard" and got confirmation in his droppings that he for sure had worms too.

    He eats nearly constantly and gained a pound in the first week we had him.

    We put him on medicated chick feed with 18% protein.

    I feel his nutrition should be much improved, but if there is already lasting damage, then not sure where to go here.

    I'll have to do some more reading, and try to see if any vets in the area could help me learn to splint his legs. Getting a vet to touch a chicken is pretty hard around hear.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, forgot to mention, the leg on the right looks like partial perosis, or slipped achilles tendon. Can sometimes be corrected, sometimes not. Not 100% sure that's what's going on, the fluff does make it hard to see.

    It does sound to me like he's been run down by this, definitely with the worming and lice you had to do, it doesn't indicate that you got a prime bird. Still, you wanted a pet, and a special needs animal is often the best pet you'll get from any species.

    Sounds like he's landed on his feet with you. Even if he's not fixable, at least you're watching closely enough to know, whereas a breeder with too many birds wouldn't likely notice until he's actually quite far downhill and suffering (sounds like he was well on his way when you got him, to be honest. Not trying to slur the breeder, it's easy to lose track and they can go downhill so fast, and hide it so well... Happens to everyone sooner or later, I've had my own sneaky cases I missed the beginnings of despite being more hands-on with my birds than the average).

    Wish you and him all the best.
     
  5. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah thanks. Don't worry I did not think the world of the breeder, and knew the low low price was a warning sign. Its just hard to get a small number of birds since most breeders are far and they will have to be shipped. When I ordered from my pet chicken we lost over half our chicks and it was so unpleasant. I decided after that to find something locally if it were ever available. Its also likely I would get more then one cockerel with no where to go with it. Next time I will plan a road trip and drive further. I wanted one so bad and was very excited, and this is a good learning experience.

    I am worried as he gets bigger that it could be hard on him. I will try to contact a vet that might be able to give further advice on how to deal with this.

    On the bright side he has gotten stronger. He did not flap his wings when we got him, and the other day he almost lifted off the ground for the first time I have seen.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like he's happy enough then, and with a good knowledgeable vet onside, should have as good a chance as one gets. I had a very similar experience with buying from a breeder when I first began, but the chicks I bought looked fine; the serious problems were on the inside, and heritable (Leukosis) and caused plenty of grief, and long term suffering, in their own way. Not as comparatively obvious and simple to manage as injuries or deficiencies, but it's not like your little lad there is a simple case either. Ah well, live and learn, aye?

    Hopefully he can go on to have a good life.
     
  7. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have a vet appoint for tomorrow. Hopefully the vet has enough experience to give an evaluation on the severity or not of the problem. Not having experience with this issue, I have no scale to weight the problem against. I posted today since I thought the crook in his leg could be worse. I was hoping it would get better as he got better care.
     
  8. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Vet agreed that it is perosis. In her experiance treatment has never yielded good results. Since it had Likely been deformed for a while there is little we can do. Since he is able to stand and walk there is not a huge concern a this time. We will watch for changes in behavior that would indicate pain. We will watch for swelling and keep a eye on the condition of his feet. Leaning more on one foot could cause sores or other issues. Hopefully he will not get worse.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, at least you know one of his problems for sure, about the best you can do is try to give him a good life I guess.

    Best wishes.
     

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