My young cockerel cant walk properly and fumbling


9 Years
Jun 20, 2011
Lahore , Pakistan
Dear Members,

I have this Partridge Cochin cockerel. He is seven months old. He has just started crowing and now mounting on hens. I also got few fertile eggs.

He was absolutely fine one day , running, mounting, crowing and eating. Next day he started to fumble. I thought that it might only be a sprain due to mounting. I gave him Indomethacine 12 mg (Pain killer for birds) but no change.

Temperatures here are around 10 degrees at night and 20 degrees in day.
lots of sunshine, clear weather and no wind. Bedding is of soft wood shavings. and he is completely on organic feed with vitamins and amino acid supplement in water.

  • I checked the legs and feel no fracture or dislocated joint.
  • I checked him for lice and found medium infestation on him so i immediately started dusting. He is now absolutely clean and no external parasite is on bird.
  • I gave him Levamisole to eliminate the possibility of worms.
  • His eyes are bright.
  • His comb is red.
  • He eats normally
  • Walks slowly with fumbling
  • Not crowing anymore
  • Not mounting anymore
  • His droppings are like green solid lump in a white pool of urine.

From the last point I have a doubt that he may be suffering from CRD but there is no obvious sign of any disease ( Bubbles in eyes, water in nose , sneezing etc)

Senior members please advise.

Video link:

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I have never experienced this so don't really know what to do. But from they way he opens his beak i can tell that he is very stressed and annoyed with his leg. Good luck and i hope someone more experienced replys. BTW he looks like a gorgeous boy
Worms and external parasites generally won't cause staggering, which is what he appears to be doing....not unless the bird is so emaciated that he is so weak he stumbles...but I seriously doubt that as he was fine one day and stumbling the next. Possible, but not probable. If it were the external parasites that you treated, his comb would be very pale and he would look dull and thin as well.

The first thing that leaps to mind is Marek's because he appears to stumble. That is not a good sign. I will link a really good BYC article on Marek's for you to peruse.

It could also be a soft tissue leg injury. Watch to see if he doesn't want to touch one of the feet to the ground (also check for bumble foot as it is winter and he is a foot feathered Cochin).

I had a similar situation with my Barnevelder rooster....absolutely fine and healthy one day, then the next severely limping. But he clearly didn't want to touch a foot to the ground, not desiring to bear weight on one of his legs, rather than stumbling...although it could appear to some that he was stumbling at first glance...which is why I offer this possibility to you. Watch him. Is this stumbling from weakness? Or limping to avoid putting down a painful leg?

With my Barnie, I determined it looked more like limping on a tender leg. He too had no appearance of broken bone, and the leg moved freely. He also was reactive in that leg, curling toes to touch and vigorously attempting to pull his legs away from me (a good sign). I looked around the yard and discovered a rolled ball of weed eater twine had mysteriously been dislodged and strewn....ah ha...he had been in that area. I strongly suspicion he had got caught up in it and strained a leg in frantic attempt to get out of it. He limped hard on that leg for about a week. I locked him up in the coop for a couple of days to give him some rest. After about 2 weeks he limped lightly. After about a month, I see no sign of any limping, and he has been fine and healthy. While it could have been a mild incident of Marek's, with the twine and no further sign of paralysis (no wings or neck affected), I have chalked it up to twine injury.

CRD, IB, MG and various other ailments can cause stumbling as the bird is ill, but in my experience you have other obvious signs of illness...coughing, wheezing, nasal discharge, imho. I've had birds with IB run around, coughing, but not stumbling. Only the birds that were really sick sat huddled and rumpled. They didn't stumble around.

My best guess right now is he may have strained that leg. I would isolate and give some TLC to see if a few days rests improves things. I'll link the Marek's symptom checker below, with botulism poisoning info, in case it could be either of those. Botulism comes as a second guess, or another such toxin, since it came on so quickly. Vitamin deficiency is also a possibility. Marek's, unfortunately, will be my front runner guess if the stumbling worsens and does not appear connected to a tenderness in a leg. (You can see if he still has good reflex reaction in the feet and legs).

Placing him on some vitamin boosts and electrolytes can help if vitamin deficiency. The Marek's article will include some good info for other treatments for Marek's mimicking illnesses.

My thoughts. I hope your boy is improving soon. Keep us posted.
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