Sick rooster; recent hen losses

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by janinepeters, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    I am wondering if someone can tell me what might be wrong with my rooster, how likely he is to recover, and whether or not his illness is related to earlier problems with hens. Also, do you think this is something that is likely to spread and kill them all. Here is a summary:

    1. My 3 yr old bantam buff Brahma rooster appears less energetic, rarely crows, and rarely mates hens. This has been going on for at least one week, perhaps a little longer. I was away for the week prior, during which time my husband and kids were in charge of them. They do not watch them carefully and do not know if this came on suddenly or gradually during the week of my absence. He was definitely crowing and harassing hens in the normal roosterly manner, prior to my departure. Since I have been back, I would say his condition is stable -- he is not normal, but is not deteriorating, either. Poops normal. Still eating and drinking. Breathing generally appears normal, but occasionally goes through the motions of crowing, but usually produces no sound. Don't know if this is a gasp, or something else. No evident injury, no neurologic abnormalities. Comb and wattles are bright red.

    2. About 3 wks ago, I gave a 3 yr old wyandotte hen away for slaughter because she was obviously declining, less energetic, but also with some respiratory distress, gasping a bit, towards the end. She was one that I always thought was never quite normal anyway -- hadn't laid in egg in 2 yrs, very submissive, and tended to hang away from the group.

    3. About 6 wks ago, a previously healthy red chantecler hen was found dead in the coop. No injuries, and all other birds were fine. They hadn't even picked at her after death. She was totally intact, but dead. The day before, she had appeared happy and healthy and active, and even laid an egg.

    At this point, I have 14 birds, the one rooster, and 13 hens. Several different breeds, both bantam and standard. Different ages, from 1 yr to 6 yr olds. They "free range" all afternoon in a 1/3 acre fenced in area, which includes our compost system where they forage for kitchen scraps and bugs/worms. Otherwise they are fed typical layer pellets, and a few handfuls of scratch grains mixed with bird seed every day. Waterers are washed daily with soap and warm water. Litter is changed several times a year, and poop in coop and runs is scooped daily. (I am quite fastidious about animal hygeine). Aside from the above problems, the hens have been laying well.

  2. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    Maybe I should clarify that rooster is much less active than normal, napping a lot during the day while hens are foraging. He tried to crow once this afternoon, but only a partial cockadoodle doo came out.

    Anyone have any thoughts of what might be going on, or is all of this too nonspecific?
  3. earthmama24

    earthmama24 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 20, 2011
    No idea but as a general, broad spectrum treatment, can I suggest grapefruit seed extract (GSE)? Per Nutribiotic's website, "Nutribiotic Grape Fruit Seed Extract can be used in the battle against a wide variety of single-celled and multi-celled bacteria, parasites and fungi. It also can be used in the fight against viruses and the improvement of the overall well-being of your body."

    I have used this with my chickens when they were infected with Coryza and as you can read in my blog (, we have had not further incidences since using the GSE. Prior to that, we were have recurrences monthly.

    If he is not critical, this may be just what he needs to fix whatever is ailing him. Hope you figure out what's going on.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011

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