Rooster with balance/walking issues

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Dani27, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Dani27

    Dani27 Out Of The Brooder

    I have searched and searched the forums and the 'net before finally deciding to write it up, because I can't find anyone describing my rooster's exact issue.

    He is an adolescent Rhode Island Red (assumed adolescent, he hasn't found his voice yet and his black and green tail feathers are only now about four inches long or so, so he's not very old).

    I got him from a farmer who had let his coop get overrun with too many birds. When I got him, (and some hens also) they had all had their feathers pecked out, and the usual you find in a coop with too many birds. They still don't mingle with my original hens, but they all tolerate each other with no more pecking or feather pulling (or at least nothing bad anyway). Anyway, I've had them all for about two to three months now, no issues, all got their feathers back, healthy, get out all day long and run around my farm.

    Just two weeks ago I had noticed my roo was slightly limping, but didn't seem to impede him. Then he disappeared. We went out looking for him and found him bedded down in a fence row in our back field. He didn't want to walk, and when he stands, he stands on his toes, and then gets real shaky. He will then plop down like he's roosting, but after a little while he will lean forward a bit, put his tail high up in the air and his head down on the ground, and lift himself up in almost a standing position while keeping head down on the ground and tail up. (Makes me think of how a cat will do the same when either in heat or when you pet the base of their tail.)

    I have brought him in in a large tote with blankets and food and water. He is eating very good, drinking good, and his droppings look normal. I have washed his legs and feet to make sure there are no injuries. There are no scales, no sores, no swelling, nothing that I can find at all wrong with his legs.

    He will get up and walk a little bit, but he wants to walk on his toes only instead of flat footed and then after a few minutes he has to throw his wings out to balance himself, then he'll just plop back down and start the process all over again.

    Like I said, he seems healthy otherwise, beautiful shiny feathers, eyes are good and clear, no discharge or sneezing, just nothing that I can find physically that would account for his symptoms. If someone could point me in the right direction, that would be great. He's our only roo for our 11 hens and we've gotten kind of attached to him. I can send a short video of what he does if anyone wants to see his actions for more clarification.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Are his toes curled?
  3. Dani27

    Dani27 Out Of The Brooder

    Nope, and he has the human equivalent of the Babinski reflex. His toes are straight and true, and when I run my hand down his legs, he reflexively curls them up when I hit the right spot. That's what's so weird, he just seems absolutely fine. I thought maybe it was soreness or something where his spur nubs are growing but I can run my hand right over them and no flinching or pulling away. He's sitting right now in a normal roosting position, except he has his bottom elevated up into the air.
  4. Dani27

    Dani27 Out Of The Brooder

    I just had him out again on my lap, ran my hands all around his legs and feet, no flinching with pain or anything else. I put him down and watched him walk and what I notice watching from the back is that he's almost like a knock kneed person, he's holding his "knees" together as he tries to walk instead of having them aligned with the sides of his body. When he did his usual routine of "giving up" and just plopping down, I reached under him and separated his legs to a "normal" position and this didn't seem to bother him either. I hope someone just tells me he's having growing pains. Sigh.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens
    I don't know if this will help or not.

    It almost sounds like he is having a problem with his tendons. If he were my chicken I'd try vitamins just to see if it helped him. Especially Vitamin Bs and Vitamin E/Selenium.
    vitamin deficiencies in poultry can cause walking problems...also there are diseases such as Mareks which can cause problems with lameness. I don't have any idea if any diseases would be a candidate for the diagnosis or not.

    So I am sorry I don't know what the answer is, but I hope my post helps a little anyhow.
  6. jenifern

    jenifern Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2013
    My guesses would be vitamin E deficiency or possibly bumble foot?
  7. Dani27

    Dani27 Out Of The Brooder

    I'm going to try the vitamins, but in looking at multiple images and pages about bumble foot, I don't think it fits. And someone said possibly Mareks, and I know symptoms can vary, but it doesn't really fit either. I'm going to try some different feed, vitamins, and conditioner and see if it helps. Thanks for the responses.
  8. bcuatt

    bcuatt New Egg

    Nov 11, 2015
    What ever happened with your roo? Mine is doing the exact same thing now knee knocking and all. Ive tried everything from polyvisol without iron, rooster booster poulrty cell, brewers yest and feeding chick starter. He has been this way for almost 3 months. At first he looked at though only one leg was injured and he eventually started to hock walk, now its the knee knocking with half bent legs whaile walking on his toes so to speak. Im as a loss.

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