Rooster looks great, but something is clearly wrong...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by aliprowl, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    My three year old Australorp rooster, Moses, is acting very strange but looks healthy as a horse. He has not attacked my husband in a few weeks and is sitting down in the yard quite a lot of the time - not sitting constantly; I do see him walking and doing his thing with the girls (though not with his usual frequency) but he is sitting a LOT - at least half the time. He'll sit, then get up, then sit again. And it seems to be increasing. He walks kind of stiff legged - chicken arthritis?? He and his harem of 8 hens free range all day and he stays near them. He looks great - red comb, glossy feathers, bright eyes. I've looked at a million photos of scaly leg mites on the web and his legs don't look like anything I've seen - yet - they look fairly fine. I do see some red streaks down the leg (he has really thick, powerful legs and enormous spurs) and he definitely has scales on his legs, but from what I've looked at, these two things seem normal. Legs are warm to the touch. Do not see any sign of bumblefoot on the pads. This evening I coated his legs in bag balm, for lack of any other idea, and did see some red, somewhat raw areas at the top of the legs where the feathers begin - but we're talking very small red areas - like the size of a ladybug. Tonight once he's asleep I'll go out and manhandle him and really do an inspection - look for mites and anything else amiss, but I'm wondering what on earth else this could be??? Isn't he too old for Marek's??? Some of my feather footed ladies have lost their foot feathers, but I assumed that was the onset of a molt. Maybe they all have something gnawing on their legs?? Any ideas or suggestions on what else to look for when I go out with my flashlight? It must be early something, because he routinely tries to kill my husband and this sitting around is just plain weird. Would appreciate any ideas from you veterans.
    Oh, and today he seemed to be standing with his legs slightly splayed - like bracing for extra stability - and as I said, his gait does seem stiffer. Thank you!!!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Are his spurs getting in the way of him walking? 3 isn't that old really.
  3. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    No, I don't think they are - I've watched him walk for long periods of time, trying to figure this out, and I just don't see where the spurs could be causing this. They are wicked long, but when he stands, there is still plenty of room between them.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Are his toe nails too long, I know they can get so long they curve in a circle and make it hard to walk. Has he had any injuries lately. Does any part seem dislocated. I wish I could think of better things to check.
  5. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    Nails look normal - like all the other chickens' nails. Felt up his legs and up into the feathered part - but it doesn't seem like an injury because it is generalized and not specifically one area. He's generally walking stiffly and sitting down, not limping or carrying himself weirdly. If I weren't watching so closely, I'd just say "oh, how nice, he's sitting down comfortably" but it is just so out of character that there must be something wrong. Absolutely no injury - it has to be a disease or a condition of some sort. It seems arthritic or neurological or something along those lines, which seems almost impossible and I can't imagine that is it - that's just what it looks like. What chicken disease looks like that? Is it early stage scaly leg mites??? Also, it has been going on for at least 4 weeks. In my experience, when chickens get sick, they get REALLY sick and die or get better fairly quickly - but that's just in my limited sphere.
  6. Pickaduck

    Pickaduck Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2011
    Something is definitely going on since you've noticed such a change in his behavior. Have you checked him for mites and lice on his body? They can cause a chicken to get more lethargic. Also, have you wormed them any time recently?

    Since you said his spurs aren't making his walking around difficult then I don't know what else to suggest! I hope it gets resolved for you and your roo!

    ETA: Some times roos will sprain/strain their legs jumping down from their roosts or doing other roo things. It would explain his not wanting to move around a whole lot. If you suspect he might have just sprained/strained something then you might want to consider putting him in a crate inside so he can rest the injured leg/joint so it can heal up.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  7. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    maybe he needs worming?
  8. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    will worm this weekend - I worm in the fall but was wondering if I should be doing it twice/year? Will check tonight for mites/lice; hopefully the critters will be visible if they are there. But nobody else is doing this, just poor Moses. Do mites/lice ever attack just one chicken out of a flock and ignore the others? Not sure how Moses will feel about being in a crate in the house, but will certainly think about it and suggest it to him! Maybe I'll keep putting bag balm on his legs - can't hurt, right?
    Thanks for the advice - keep it coming, if anyone has any other ideas.
  9. taprock

    taprock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2010
    Northern L.P. Michigan
    Could he have gotten in a fight with someone or thing? We had two younger roosters who loved to spar with each other, no meanness just playing and one of them injured his legs - no marks or outward appearance. He walked splay legged and was sitting down most of the time. I separated him. I debated on culling him, but he wasn't in any pain so I didn't. We just played the waiting game...wait and see. It took a few weeks for him to get back to normal. It also happened to the other younger rooster when they went to a new home. Again he was injured sparing and it took several weeks for him to return to normal. To me it sounds more like an injury or condition than a disease. Diseases seem to act quickly. If he's not in pain or obviously sick I'd fuss over him and wait.
  10. nickie

    nickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    north central KY
    Just got my chicken health handbook and was flipping through it. Anyways under deficiency symptoms I found stiff walk listed under a deficiency of biotin.

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