Rooster and hen health

by Joseph Hickman
(Brunswick G.A. 31523)

Question
Rooster and hen health: Chicken health: I have twenty roosters and 15 hens.

All are healthy until 4 days ago. He is a Bluface Hatch (game Rooster) he's 3 years old was 4-5lbs a week ago.

He has dropped weight, won't eat ,but he will drink. I noticed a greenish dropping so I gave him 1cc of Sulmet.

The next day I feed him 20 crickets cause he wouldn’t eat his feed. The next evening he went to his roost, but his balance was bad and he fell off his roost pole.

I checked his feet and they were fine. He got up flapping his wing to walk down the roost pole and finally got still.

Today he wouldn't eat his feed, a cricket or anything. The day I noticed he was sick his feathers were messy.

He just lays around won’t eat, was drinking yesterday, but not today. He's been pecking at his food but won't eat. I noticed he has been balling one of his feet up also but he'll walk on it.

And when I hold him his legs are kinda stiff. Do you think you could tell me what’s wrong with him?

Answer
This sounds like a disease of his nervous system and it could be a highly contagious virus. He needs to be separated from the flock in a warm and safe environment.

Some chickens seem to have a natural immunity to some diseases, which is why you might see one in a flock go down and no others.

You could search the internet for "Marek’s Disease”. There are three forms and one attacks the nervous system.

I’m not sure what kind of set up you have for your flock, but I need to suggest that having 20 roosters with 15 hens is too many roosters for a healthy flock.



Roosters get along fine when raised together and young, but as they mature their natural territorial instincts kick in, more and more.

The most dominant roosters may work at starving the least dominant out. In a natural environment, excess roosters would be pecked at and harassed or fought, in order to get them to leave.

In a domesticated flock, excess roosters have no where to go.

It’s really hard to tell that a well feathered chicken is loosing weight unless you pick them up.

By the time you notice one behaving unwell, they’ve probably been enduring some problems for weeks.

A healthy immune system can keep many problems under control but is dependent on proteins, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, good water and a stress-free life.

Poor nutrition can happen even when a good balanced diet is offered, especially if a chicken has been singled out and kept from food.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can appear as disease and not be contagious or lead to a previously controlled illness, taking over.

Other sick chickens may just be suffering from the same deficiencies. The only way to know what has caused this condition is by veterinary testing.

Treating him quickly with vitamins and minerals and some conditioning feed, coaxing him to eat and drink as needed, may reverse the condition.

Keeping him warm with a heat lamp may help him feel better and increase appetite. Isolation from the flock is important for his and their safety.

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