Rooster unable to balance himself

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NicD, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. NicD

    NicD Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    I have a 6 month old BR-mix rooster that seems to have lost his balance. Before I cull this good-natured guy, I thought I’d try for some advice here.

    I noticed him limping slightly 6 days ago, then realized he was unable to get onto the roost that evening, so I placed him indoors in the “hospital” kennel, thinking he had injured his leg somehow. The following morning, he was not able to stand…falling backwards when I lifted him up and off his haunches. His neck, wings, legs and feet are working (no paralysis) and he is able to hold his weight standing as long as I steady him. He is also using his legs to push-upwards and fluttering his wings to maneuver around the kennel to reach his food and water.

    I have found no sign of injury, his eyes are clear, his comb is bright red and he is very alert…plus eating drinking and pooping. His poop is somewhat watery, but I have been pushing vitamin water and it is certainly not unusual for a stressed bird. Also, I have not seen any worms. I have not administered Corid - but I’m not sure about the quantity to give a single bird, so was concerned of making matters worse by overdosing.

    Of course, I can’t rule-out Mareks, but it seems unlikely with his age, activity and especially since he is not getting worse after nearly a week. He’s lost a little weight, but again…not unusual for a stressed bird. Otherwise, he seems content (reminds me of a brooding hen sitting on a nest) and I’m 99% sure he’s not in pain.

    The only thing out-of-the-ordinary I can think of is that I gave the flock a whole pumpkin the day these symptoms started, but all of the other birds are fine. I’m willing to give him a fighting chance, but if he’s not improving…I have to be realistic about my efforts and his quality of life.

    Has anyone ever seen symptoms like this?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I would still think it could be Mareks, especially with his age, it also could be something like botulism if he's had access to moldy feed.
     
  3. NicD

    NicD Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    I have always been under the impression that Mareks will cause a steady decline. He hasn't changed much in a week...perhaps even a bit of improvement.

    I live in the Pacific Northwest (with all the rain!!), so am fastidiously careful about keeping food dry, so can't imagine them getting anything moldy. However, we have had some unseasonably warm weather in addition to the excessive rain...and then, there was the pumpkin. I'll double check their water and the yard for anything out of the ordinary...

    And do more research on botulism...

    Thanks
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Some with Mareks will take a while to die from it, I have watched some sit around for a couple of weeks before going down hill, and some can actually recover a bit, unfortunately you won't know without an autopsy. Sometimes a respiratory infection will cause a balance problem as it can affect the inner ear, so check for sneezing, or coughing.
     
  5. NicD

    NicD Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    The articles I've read and especially the videos I've watched show real paralysis with mareks. Im not ruling it out, but all of his parts are working.

    I found a little algae in their hen hydrator, so took care of that. I found nothing else that appeared rancid or moldy...and the other birds seem fine.

    He's trying to stand today...able to keep himself upright, but leaning back on the corner of the kennel to stabilize himself. I'm viewing that as an improvement, so I've rigged a way for him to be up on a roost (of sorts)...which he seems to like.

    He has shown no signs of respiratory problems other than a little gaping for an hour or so the first day. No sneezing, no nasal discharge, no lethargy. I guess that's what really has me stumped: he is very alert and doesn't act like a sick bird...just not able to stand on his own.

    His poop is more watery today with only a bit of normal color (brown-green and white). I need to get him cleaned up, so that doesn't add another problem. Also, my sister reminded me that we heard "gut gurgles" the first day. I'm wondering if he is indeed dealing with something gastrointestinal. For good measure, I forced a small syringe of yogurt (much to his protest!!)

    I think for now I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing...keeping him warm and quiet while pushing vitamin water. I've also read several articles suggesting apple cider vinegar in the water and in a paste with burnt toast, so I'll try those things, too. In addition, I offered him cooked brown rice with yogurt which he gobbled down!!

    Still...any other ideas will be greatly appreciated [​IMG]
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    It's always possible he took a knock to the noggin, or fell off the roosts and injured himself in some way, I always give everyone a chance to recover, some things you just never know.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I would also give him some time, especially since he is a nice rooster. Mareks is very possible at his age, but he could have hurt his leg or he could have had some problem with dehydration or some other unknown illness. You can also put some yogurt, buttermilk, cottage cheese, or a commercial probiotic in his feed and mix it with water. Most chickens like that. Probios is a product that goes in the water, and many of the chicken feeds, such as Purina and Nutrina contain probiotics if you check the label. I have just noticed that in 2015.
     
  8. NicD

    NicD Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    Isn't that a fact!!

    I really don't "need" this rooster in my flock, but he's so good-natured and in truth, I learn so much for future reference with every problem or obstacle I've had with these birds.

    The most difficult, but most valuable lesson was learning when to call it quits. It's such a tough call, but is sometimes necessary. I tried WAY too long to save a little wry-neck hen...and cried for two days when I had her put down.

    I'll not do that again!

    Since he's not in distress or pain, I'll give him some time and try everything logical to help him. As soft-hearted as I am and as much as I enjoy having chickens, I do have to remind myself that they are livestock and I have to make rational decisions accordingly.
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Well said.
     
  10. NicD

    NicD Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    Our mature layers have been molting (horrible time of year for it here with temperature fluctuations and all the rain)...so we're feeding feather fixer. Need to compare the ingredients with our normal nutrina...especially for probiotic.
     

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