Rooster limping badly.. help please...


13 Years
Oct 24, 2009
My rooster has injured the joint in his leg.... (I think its his ankle). His foot is fine.. it's the bend in middle of the leg.. where it bends forwards.

I can't feel any breaks.. but in that joint I can feel clicking and things moving a little. It is stable though and not wobbly. It's not swollen or anything... but his foot on that leg feels cold... although its still healthy colour.

He can't put any weight on that leg at all. Its hard for him to even move.. because he is a Japanese Bantam and has really short legs. His injured leg the foot is very weak and can't grip. He can't pull it back up to his body.. and holds it out in front of him more than the good leg.

Could the vet do anything if I take him tomorrow. He has been like this since last night... It took me many times of examining him before I found the problem.

At first I was scared it was Marek's Disease.. as I had that in my flock 2 years ago. But I am confident it's an injury now.. after I can feel the clicking and moving in the joint... and also he has really good balance and can perch fine on one leg if I put him on a roost.

I feel guilty that it is my fault.. because he was upset when I got a new rooster. I kept him in the aviary so they would not fight.. and my old rooster kept flying up and down onto the aviary mesh top to try to get to the new one... and I suspects he got his spur or a toe stuck in the netting when he tried to jump down.. so injuring his leg.

Anyone else have this leg injury in their birds.. and can they heal from it? He is a sweet tame cuddly rooster I have hand for years.. and he was hatched at my place.. so I am very attacked to him.

Resting the leg by confining to a small pen close to food and water for a couple of weeks is the best way to treat a bad sprain. A vitamin B complex tablet can be ground into his food or water to boost him a little. The vet may be able to give a steroid such as prednisone to help with inflammation. Mareks stays in the environment for years, and any birds present during an outbreak may be carriers for life, even if they were vaccinated. However, he probably would have shown symptoms earlier, but I'm not an expert. With his leg feeling cold it could be because he is not moving it much, but the lack of movement and holding it forward sound somewhat like nerve damage or Mareks.
Thank you.

I have put him in a small chicken tractor on his own. I put him in a cage, but he could not walk at all on the metal bars on the cage floor.

Today his leg is not out in front so much.. and he is actually holding it off the ground. He has a low roost in there.. which he can get onto at night.

He seems very alert, and still crowing.

I am going to give him a couple of weeks on his own (and I have the B complex mix with his drinking water).

Again, I have a feeling its not Mareks' because his balance is 100 percent OK, and I can actually feel something is wrong inside the joint.

When my chickens had Marek's in the past they did the 'high stepping walk' and appeared off balance.. also the legs were stiff kind of doing the splits in the end. This roosters leg is kind of floppy.. and his other leg is in the correct position. All the other chickens are very healthy and acting normal.

If he has damage the ligaments or sprained his joint.. is recovery likely.. or will it be permanent?
A lot of that depends on the problem. A common problem in all poultry are leg bone deformities, such as tibial dyschondroplasia (TD,) varus valgus deformity, and others that can cause tendon rupture or twisted bones. Since he is older, he may have just suffered an injury. From what I have read the higher on the leg the injury, the worse the outcome. Since his injury is lower, that is in his favor. You will probably just have to wait and see.

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