Mystery Illness in Buff Orpington Cockerel


10 Years
Apr 2, 2009
Locust Grove, VA
I have seached on BYC and googled until I am batty looking for what could be wrong with my Buff Orpington cockerel. Can someone with more experience please help me as it seems to be getting worse. Description below and my sincere thanks for any advice.

- Buff Orpington LF cockerel

- DOB: February 2009

- exact weight - unknown but probably a couple of pounds

- walks "drunkenly" as if dizzy, sometimes stumbles and falls to one side particularly the right, always ravenously hungry

- no bleeding, broken bones or other signs of trauma

- seemed fine until about 6 weeks ago when I noticed the "drunken" type of behavior and as time progresses, he seems to be losing weight although he has a ravenous appetite, his body doesn't seem to be as warm as it should be, his comb has dark patches on it. Last night the temps got down in the low 50's. When I went out to check on the flock before bedtime, he was actually in a nest box as if looking for warmth in the nesting hay. I haven't been able to completely get rid of mites but they don't seem to be so bad as to make the flock sick

- he is fed Purina Layena Sunfresh, recently mixed with Purina Start & Grow for the added protein with the rest of the flock. The treats that I give at various times each week are Purina Scratch Grains, yogurt, cottage cheese, freeze dried meal worms, hull-on black oil sunflower seeds, various veggies, watermelon, cantalope, grapes on occasion and the treat of choice for him is wheat bread. He will literally plow over others to get to the bread. I also put the flock (confined in a pen) in the yard to free range at least twice a week. The lawn is not treated with fertilizers or other ammendments.

- at times I have noticed soft to sort of runny poop that I think is his and the past two days there has been grass green colored poop that I think is his

- things that I have done so far have been bathed the flock twice this past summer for mites using Adams flea and tick dip, once a week try to dust under wings and vents with Sevin, keep the coop, perches and run (dirt) dusted with Sevin, a month ago I administered topical Ivermectin but wanted to play it safe so this past Sunday I treated their water with Wazine, added Poultry Drench to the water at least once a week for vitamin content, for a week straight gave him a piece of bread with human grade Vitamin B complex and Vitamin E from one human grade gel tab, give small amounts of canned tuna catfood and dried mealworms for extra protein, give yogurt and cottage cheese for good internal flora

- I would hope to be able to treat him myself

- I do not have a picture but other than what I described above, he is a very healthy looking bird. No drainage from eyes or beak, bright eyes, pretty feathering, clean feet, no hard breathing or coughing that I have heard.

- The chickens are housed in a potting shed that I bought from Home Depot. It is made of all pine that I stained on the outside. there are opaque panels for light in the coop and ceiling high vents for circulation plus the coop window and run entrance. The bedding is pine large flake chips and a bit of hay. Nesting boxes have hay in them. The run is dirt and also covered so it does not get soaking wet when it rains, just slightly damp in a couple of places where it blows in.

Again, any advice will be appreciated as I just can't seem to narrow it down to one thing other than it seems that something in his insides just isn't right due to his great appetite and lack of weight gain. Worms, parasites, ulcers, cancer, etc. - I just can't figure it out. The comb turning brown also has me stumped.
Not an expert by any means but if he is eating good and loosing weight i would think of worms. They could be eating everything he eats not leaving him enough to thrive on. Good Luck and i hope someone with more experience will chime in with an opinion.
Thank you RendonRoo. I am such a newbie with chickens and am trying to maintain a healthy, happy flock but the only experience I can draw on is from other breeds of animals that I have had so I feel helpless at times. Thanks again!
Sounds like it would be a good idea to quarantine him and monitor his condition and his poo. If you do see worms, I believe Wazine works well.
Thanks for the response Ozark Hen. This past weekend, I used Wazine and plan to follow up with Ivermectin two weeks past that date. I just want to get him healthy and beefed up before colder weather hits.
Thanks TaLani. I think I will have to quarantine him simply because he seems to need heat from a heat lamp - he is actually sleeping in one of the hay filled nest boxes at night so I guess in chicken speak, that would let me know he needs more warmth than his body is producing?
Poor boy, I absolutely
my buff boy. He squirms a lot less than the hens when I want to hold him. Wonder if your boy would like some yougurt. Hope and pray he improves.
I have been giving yogurt and cottage cheese in hope of upping his internal flora. I think the quarantine idea is a great one though for many reasons but I could give him things such as the yogurt without contest from the others. I am just concerned about that though because he and my partridge cochin roo have thus far managed to co-exist peacefully in this coop and my fear is that if I take him out, I won't be able to re-integrate him without problems....Thank you for your prayers for improvement and keep the good thoughts coming:)

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom