Keel bone deformities

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by maryleo9, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. maryleo9

    maryleo9 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've got a large breed chicken (at least part Jersey Giant) that feels like he's got a deformed keel bone. I'm still guessing that he's not a she because while he's 5.5 months old and no crow yet, he matured VERY quickly as far as size and comb and I'm seeing signs of spurs on his legs. I would really like to keep him as long as he stays quiet like now but he's having some problems. Plus, he's special because he's one of two chicks we've hatched out on our own. We had a hen go broody on 14 eggs 2.5 weeks AFTER we got rid of the two roosters we had before.

    He used to be able to get onto the perch that's about 3 feet off the ground...hop onto the lower perch then up to the top. Recently I picked him up and noticed his keel bone feels like it's inverted. Could it have gotten broken when he jumped or got pushed off? He's not very high in the pecking order of a 19 bird flock and he's the only boy. About 6 weeks ago I saw him bedding down in the nest area and thought with high hopes that he was, after all a she but with the appearance of spurs that hope is gone. Now that I think back, this was probably when he would have gotten injured (on his 4 month birthday). He was fine getting up before that.

    This morning, I went out and the other chickens had forced him crookedly into a corner so they could use the nest and I had to get him out. He was limping some but worked the stiffness out. He wouldn't eat from the food dish but would from my hand..until another chicken tried to eat from my hand. He does feel a little lighter than normal today as well.

    Anything I can do for my poor guy? I'd rather not cull him since we decided not to do meat birds because the kids aren't emotionally ready for that yet. I also don't want him to suffer needlessly.
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Welcome to BYC! Is it sort of "s" shaped? If so, I think that can be from a vitamin/mineral deficiency. Maybe rickets?
     
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  3. AshlyMommaWard

    AshlyMommaWard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Unfortunately if the injury actually happened that long ago it should have healed up by now, even broken bones, chickens heal so quickly. If his main issue now is bullying then it may be good for him to have some time separate from the rest of the flock each day with food and water provided to ensure he is getting a fair share. I'd put a large dog crate in the coop or run and give him a few hours a day in there at least, with as much food as he'll eat and water. If his quality of life seems good, even with bone deformities and a limp, I'd keep him around. Likely the limp is from incorrect healing and not something still causing great pain (IF the injury was 1.5 months ago). Build him a lower roost (not under the others) and give him time separate to eat and I think he could have a good life. He may well even adapt enough to his disability to one day win the affection and respect of his flock and be a good rooster. Time will tell. If he does have a decent quality of life, yet your flock doesn't seem to do well with him you'd be surprised how many people love "special needs" animals.
    I'd like to add, I am in no way advocating for this rooster to suffer if he is in pain or is accosted by his flock more than just pecking order feed time stuff. If he has low quality of life, the best option would be to cull him. If he simply needs a lower roost and some uncontested feed time, there are pretty easily obtainable solutions for that. Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  4. AshlyMommaWard

    AshlyMommaWard Chillin' With My Peeps


    I didn't even think of that.. if he's hatched from op's bird's eggs and always eaten what they've eaten is this still a possibility? Rickets seems a nutritional thing, and one would think if it were either genetic or nutritional, op would be experiencing it with others? Not trying to be rude, just thinking "out loud".
     
  5. maryleo9

    maryleo9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Casportpony: No, it's not S shaped. It's more like the keel got pushed inward. That's why I'm thinking it was broken. At first I was thinking that due to his size, maybe it grew wrong because he spends so much time on the roost though I did think it also may have been broken. Since we've noticed he can't get onto the perch himself at all, that made me think it was a break.

    He has always been a bit hen-pecked since we put the mama and two babies she hatched into the coop. He and his sister still get "put in their place" frequently, even when outside free-ranging.

    Ashlymommaward: Thanks for the advice. Before I read your response I'd already set my daughter (designated chicken girl because she'd live in the coop if I let her) up to watch Cheep (the rooster), Blackie (a hen recovering from lost muscle tone after a bout with mites) and Salt (our itty bitty bantam). All three of these birds literally get walked all over by the others since we've had to keep them in the coop more often lately. Blackie and Salt have been getting some meals during the day hand-fed out of the way of the others so we're adding Cheep to the list of special attention. Most of the time he moves around fairly well on the ground. I think the limp is just from being scrunched into a space much too small for his large frame for a while...like your foot falling asleep.

    We are working on building a larger coop at the moment that will have a separate brooder space (about 12 square feet) where we can put those that need extra attention. It'll be having a separate run area as well so they'll have access to the outside and still see all the other chickens both in the brooder and the brooder run. This will come in very handy for times like this!
     
  6. maryleo9

    maryleo9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm to both of you! I just looked up rickets and I'm not sure about a nutritional deficiency possibility. I do mix my own feed but I add in some chicken scratch to the mix of grains I use. In addition, they get a good sized bowl of kitchen scraps daily. Yesterday they got all the bones, skin, etc from a large batch of bone broth. I cook it until the bones are crush-able and then smash them before giving it to the chickens. Plus, they get lots of egg shells and I've always seen him getting a good share of those shells. If there is an egg in the nest with a crack or hole in it, it goes straight to the food dish.

    Up until recently, they'd been free-ranging most of the day. After the predator took two birds in 3 days is when we decided to keep them locked up most of the day until evening when we can watch them while we spend time outside as well.

    I appreciate your help too. We've been keeping chickens for just over a year now and until recently, hadn't had any problems.
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Here is the study as a PDF:

    @ChickenCanoe , you might find that study interesting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Scratch is actually lacking in quite a few essential vitamins and nutrients. Have you had your feed mix analyzed? It could very well be deficient in many nutrients.
     
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  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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