rooster cannot walk straight, tips over - please help


8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
He's a bantam about 2 years old, previously healthy, other hens are fine. Got back from holidays and noticed he was walking "drunkenly". I isolated him last night in the coop (the birds are free range).

Today he could barely walk. I noticed he was missing tailfeathers and when I turned him upside down his vent was covered in cement like matter, which I cleaned off as carefully as I could. The whole area is red and swollen looking, the vent is wide open and has some stuff stuck in - I didn't want to hurt him by digging around, so I've soaked the area with warm water, loosened what I could and applied some antibacterial cream. Now he's isolated in my studio and eating well and drinking but tips over easily and isn't attempting to get out of the box. It's like his legs stopped working and he has no balance. Eyes are bright and his crest is red.

I can take him to a vet tomorrow, is there anything else I should do/know about before then?? I love this little guy, best rooster we've ever had
Best thing to do is keep him warm and quiet. At least 80 degrees. 85 is better. Don't throw a heat lamp on him, but heat up the whole room where you are keeping him. Then dark and quiet. Get him to the vet asap- those are serious symptoms that need a vet to evaluate, diagnose, and treat.

Water is good, but don't provide an open dish. IF he is coherent enough, and keeping his head up, then you can put a drop of water on your finger, then touch the side of his beak, about midway down. Watch for him to taste and swallow. If he doesn't look to be swallowing, leave him alone. Do this for 5-10 minutes, then Leave him alone! Too much fussing = death, even if he is use to you.

Again, fussing can kill a bird.

If you don't think he can handle the water, leave him be. The vet can give him fluids tomorrow very easily.

I hope he makes it and that the vet can help. :\\
Thanks very much for your quick answer - I've turned on the heat for him and covered the box. He's pretty thirsty, I had put the water in a flat dish and it was gone just now when I checked in, but removed it just in case.

I appreciate the tip about not fussing - I'll leave him be for the night.

I hope he pulls through, I will let you know what the vet says.
He didn't make it

I had him euthanized at the end, he just couldn't move his legs, there was no going back for him.

We sent his body to the epidemiologist because there was no one thing to point at that caused this - too many possibilities for the vet to consider, and it had been going on for two weeks at least.

I feel awful because he wasn't getting to the water or food properly while I was away and he was quite constipated and wasted away. It seems impossible he was so perky just two days before I had him put out of his misery - the vet says it shows what a will to live chickens have.

I miss him, best rooster EVER. Hi favorite hen is roosting where he used to

I'll post what the vet reports to me.
So sorry you had to go through this experience and the loss. Remember, as tough as it is, sometimes euthanasia is the nicest thing we can do for pets we love.
Just got the news back from the vets - it was Mareks' disease; he was filled with tumours and there was no chance to survive it. Poor guy! What a fighter. I'm so glad we chose to do what we did and get the autopsy - it cost ten bucks, and now we know.

I only have four hens but apparently they will have contracted it too. Vet said half will die. He suggested euthanasia, cleaning the coop and moving the run or waiting 6 months before getting new birds.

They are so healthy right now! I can't do it, but as soon as we see signs I guess I have to.

Any advice? One thing we will definitely do will be to buy our next birds from a hatchery, I don't even have the number of the woman who sold us Edgar. The hens are from a different breeder.

Thanks for your kind words, I feel so sad whenever I find one of his beautiful striped tailfeathers.

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