"Meat" chickens can't walk

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CuteChick369, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. CuteChick369

    CuteChick369 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2013
    North Carolina
    It's a long story, but I "rescued" two meat chickens this summer. They did well until they became full grown. The rooster I believe just got too fat too fast, and stopped walking. He walks around on his knees. I've been careful about their diet, but he just can't get up on his feet. The hen I believe may have injured her leg because she was fine until all the sudden one morning she couldn't walk. She gets around VERY little on her knees, but mostly just stays in one place.

    I want to rehab them if it's possible at all.

    I have been putting some extra multi-vitamins in their water, and I bought a dog harness that I put them in for about 30 minutes per day, and I hang it so they are lifted off the ground, but their feet just touch. They don't seem to try to put weight on their feet, or use them to walk at all. So, I'm unsure if the walking problem is injury / weight related, or neurological.

    My question is, does anyone have suggestions of things I can try to help them walk again? I don't feel they have a good quality of life like this, so if I can't get them walking again in a couple weeks, I''ll end it for them.

    One more piece of background, one of my other chickens was diagnosed with coccidiosis this summer, which we treated her and the flock. A few weeks later, another showed symptoms, so I treated again. They both recovered. I wonder if it's possible I should treat the meat chickens for it again, but more aggressively. They are only about 4 months old.

  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I'm sorry your are having trouble.
    Do you know what breed they are?
    Any photos?

    If I am not mistaken usually "meat chickens" if they are something like Cornish Cross, would normally be "processed" at 8-10wks of age, possibly a little longer. They are bred to gain weight as quickly as possible for the purpose of food.

    Meat chickens can survive longer if on a very restricted diet and exercise regimen, but their life span is drastically shorter (usually less than 1yr.) than that of say, a Dual Purpose breed like Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, etc.

    Meat chickens, when life is prolonged can develop leg/joint issues that you describe and these usually can't be resolved/treated, not to mention heart failure, liver and kidney trouble, etc.

    I think your main problem is they have lived their lifespan and now are too heavy to support their weight and their legs have just given out. As you suspect, their quality of life is not good, so maybe the kindest thing to do would be to put them down.

    Just my thought.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Agreed. Meat birds were never bred for longevity. Trying to keep them, considering the issues they have, will only prolong their suffering.
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Agreed - unfortunately even with careful management (and that management must start from the first days) their design is such that they prolonging their lives is more often than not simply prolonging their misery.

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