Do chickens have strokes?

Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Rogue Valley, S. Oregon
I have a 3 month old barred rock who recently began acting as if he can't use his right leg without extreme difficulty. I got him as a day old chick and for about two months he was running just fine, but now "Gimpy" spends most of his time lying down. I thoroughly examined him for wounds and found none, and he is not in pain that I can tell, but when he stands he is at best pigeon-toed and at worst sits on the side of his foot with his toes looking like he can't move them. Also, his wing has begun to droop on that side. He is one of our extra roosters scheduled to be eaten so we don't really want to spend money taking him to the vet, but I also don't want him to suffer!
So far he has made the daily trek from the coop to where the rest of the flock spends their time (near the food) and he eats, but he does so lying on his side with that leg beside him. Up till now, he has just come out in the morning, stayed there all day, and gone to the coop with the others at night. Tonight, though, when all our others went to bed, he was lying outside the pen peeping so pathetically... I picked him up and put him to bed, but I don't know what to do.
Should we put him out of his misery? I am not sure what is wrong with him, but it may be getting worse as he gets heavier. Certainly it is harder for him to move around. It seems a senseless waste to just kill him, but it seems cruel to keep him around long enough to be eating size and the kill him. This is the first time I have raised chickens with any intention of eating them, so this is already hard for me. Like many here, one of my primary motivations in raising my own meat birds is to be sure that the chicken I eat lived a good life and was treated humanely... but what is the humane choice for Gimpy?
you need to separate and put his feed and drink close so that he does not have to do much to get to it... offer some yogurt free choice 9live culture/non-flavored) ... restricting his movement will help if this is an injury and you can better monitor his symptoms.
We thought about it being a sprain or a badly healing leg or something. All of his bones and joints appear to be in line, and it is happening to his right leg, right wing, and starting on his left wing. We could not find any other symptoms of Mareks disease, he has no wounds or lesions, his eyes appear to be perfectly normal, and he has no abnormal growths. He has been sick/wounded for over a month now. We originally thought he had sprained his leg or something, or that even possibly his legs were growing abnormally. His wings don't always droop, so that could simply happen because he is exhausted from walking on a hurt leg. Before we weren't all that worried but with it getting worse we are not sure what to do for him. Fortunately the other chickens don't really pick on him, but after last night (header post) I am worried that he is not going to be able to survive much longer on his own. It seems a little callous to kill him for this, but at the same time if we can't fix it then it is probably crueler to let him live 2-3 months in agony then kill him (as we will be doing). Additionally I don't want to have him die by starving, freezing, or being hunted because he can't operate like a normal chicken. We just want to do what is best for the chicken.

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