Young Rooster Too Heavy for His Own Legs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Susie Seagrave, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. Susie Seagrave

    Susie Seagrave Chirping

    Jul 29, 2015
    Aegina, Greece
    I have a young rooster, about 18 weeks old. He came from an unknown source at 5 weeks old, so I know nothing about breed or his history. (I was sold a hen that turned out to be a rooster!). I haven't kept a rooster before.

    He grew extremely quickly and is now HUGE and pretty heavy. The problem is that he can't seem to walk for more than a few steps before he has to sit down and rest. Apart from this, he seems healthy and alert. He has already tried to mate with one of my older hens. Unfortunately, he can only just fit through the hen house door now, has serious trouble getting up the ramp into the house and has to be assisted inside. He sometimes loses his balance on uneven surfaces and walks with his legs spread wide. I've been giving him a calcium powder supplement with his food for the past 3 days (he generally eats the same as the hens). Poor Valencia - it's tragic to watch him.

    I also got a 5-week old hen at the same time from the same batch - she's now also 18 weeks old and is also a very large, heavy bird. She walks with a slight limp but it's not bumblefoot. I treated this with Epsom Salts and it improved a bit but she's very heavy and often wheezes with movement. I see there's a thread for a wheezing hen and will investigate this further.

    My main question is: what can I do to help both my birds, but particularly Valencia, the rooster, to strengthen his legs and cope with his weight? He is a really fine looking bird and I will take some photos today and add them to this thread. Has anyone any ideas?

    I'm the one who lives on the small Greek island, so available resources are limited!
    anna-newhampshire and BlueBaby like this.
  2. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Crossing the Road

    Mar 21, 2016
    Maricopa, AZ. (near Phoenix)
    Maybe you need to put those 2 overweight ones on a diet. I've heard that feeding too much calcium to roosters will ruin their livers. Only the hen's need the calcium for egg laying. Is it possible that you can post a picture of your 2 overweight one's? Maybe someone here can help you to figure out what breed that they are.
  3. PouleChick

    PouleChick Crowing

    Apr 6, 2016
    SW France
    Can you get hold of vitamins over there? Sometimes vitr B deficiency can cause leg weakness. Photos will be good. What is your feeding regime with them?
    Susie Seagrave likes this.
  4. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

    Jan 19, 2018
    Sounds to me like you have a Cornish Cross rooster. Production meat bird usually butchered at 9 weeks.
    If so, these problems are not surprising. Can you post pictures?
  5. Aapomp831

    Aapomp831 Songster

    Oct 4, 2017
    Lincolnton, NC
    It sounds like you have meat birds. They are bred to get very fat, very quickly to be butchered and processed.
  6. Susie Seagrave

    Susie Seagrave Chirping

    Jul 29, 2015
    Aegina, Greece
    Thank you everyone for your responses! There is NO vet treatment here for poultry. I usually post a thread on BYC and see if the pharmacy can get the medication I need, having researched any Greek equivalent or seen what the main ingredient is and got the closest thing available. In the only animal feed store on the island (where I bought the two birds in question), the owner's 'advice' is always vague or hopelessly generalised! There are no commercial sellers of birds as such here; the feed store takes orders for young birds, obtained from whoever has a surplus, or you buy from someone you know who has a surplus or from a truck that drives round with caged pullets on the back of unknown mixed breeds. It really is like something from the ark.

    The idea that they may be meat breeds sounds likely.... bummer! I don't want to eat mine, although when I told the feed store owner he'd sold me a rooster not a hen, he just shrugged and told me to eat him.....

    Current situation: I usually only keep 3-5 birds for eggs and the joy of keeping chickens. However, I only have three at the moment, as I lost two birds to salpingitis earlier this year. Of my current three, one is a healthy three year old and an excellent layer, but much more petite than the two young 'porkers'. I've attached photos: - in one, the three of them together highlights the size difference. The buff-coloured, 18-week old hen is Solskjaer, and the others are of Valencia the rooster, who's the same age. There's also one of his feet, in case anyone needs a look. He finds it near impossible to get up and down the little ramp into the hen house, and can only just fit through the door. I have to help him in and out, morning and night, and if he does attempt it himself, it usually ends badly. It's such a shame, as he's a placid bird, alert and happy apart from this problem. They have total free range of the garden at least twice a day, and he can run, but only for very brief bursts.

    Food/Feeding routine: As Valencia is in with the hens, he eats the same as them - a mix of corn, cracked corn, growers pellets and grains, freely available all day. Little Pea, the 3 year-old, usually has wet layers mash daily, and shell and grit in the morning, although she's just gone off the lay at the moment. Question: I've been giving 2 tsps of calcium supplement powder mixed with 4-5 tsps of wet mash for 4 days now. Should I stop? It's not possible to feed them separately.
    Vitamin Question: The pharmacy has vit B tablets for humans but I can ask if they have something for poultry, although they might have to order it. What do you use?

    Breeds: Does anyone have any ideas from the photos? Solskjaer is not as nimble as Little Pea (any ideas of her breed??) but doesn't have the problems Valencia has. Question: If the buff-coloured Solskjaer was bred for meat, how do you think she will get on in her life with me as an egg layer?

    I want to help my birds the best I can but feel I've been dealt a bad hand! Your help and advice would be greatly appreciated to help find the best way forward.

    Valencia the Rooster
    Valencia Standing (Custom).jpg
    Solskjaer (buff-coloured), Little Pea (white), Valencia (huge!)
    Valencia, Solskjaer & Little Pea (Custom).jpg Valencia's Feet (Custom).jpg Valencia's splayed feet

    Solskjaer (who has actually got two legs, in case you were wondering!)
    Solskjaer (Custom).jpg
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  7. Susie Seagrave

    Susie Seagrave Chirping

    Jul 29, 2015
    Aegina, Greece
    Hey PouleChick,

    Drifting off the key subject a tad - what a strange world it is! You're an Aussie living in France, I'm a Pom living in Greece! I've also just finished my annual Masterchef Australia TV binge. I never miss it! How funny that it features two English-born Aussie judges and the one who's Aussie-born comes from Greek parentage! How do you like living in France? Ok, I'm going back to my birds now!
  8. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    I think the buff coloured hen may be a Catalan. She's the right colour and size and she's got the white marks on her ears.
    She should be fine in Greece. She's a bit overweight though.
    I'll post a picture of one of the Catalan hens I've had here later.
    DobieLover likes this.
  9. ChooksNQuilts

    ChooksNQuilts Crowing

    Nov 26, 2017
    Southwest Idaho
    I would back off giving them the corn and grains for starters.
    That will always make birds fat.
    Feed all of them the “youngster pellets” (is this a complete feed ration with vitamins and minerals? What is the protein percentage?) and put out oyster shell and grit free choice so the layers can get calcium.
    Stop giving the male bird calcium powder.
    I’m not sure about the vitamin B12, hopefully someone else can advise on that.
    What is Valencia’s background?
    Have you raised him from a chick or did you get him later?
    Perhaps he was kept in a small cage or crate and has developed problems with his muscles due to cramped conditions? :confused:
    Or he may have meat bird genes and you just have to manage it.
    He really is a beautiful guy though.
    anna-newhampshire and DobieLover like this.
  10. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    This was Rosehip. She was a Catalan stray I rescued. Really (Large).JPG SAM_2641 (Large).JPG
    anna-newhampshire likes this.

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