Rooster has trouble walking

Question

Rooster has trouble walking: My rooster is big, but not a meat bird he is 2 years old, he sits most of the time when he gets up it looks like he is weak and he shakes and limps around.

Answer
I think you are justified in being so concerned for this guy. He could be weak or he could be in pain.

I wish I could help you more, but all I can do is offer a few possibilities that you will probably want to look into.

I would check his droppings and see that they look normal. Healthy poop usually means healthy chicken. I would watch to see if he is eating and drinking.

Gently check his crop located at the bottom front of his neck and at the top right of his breast area. It should feel kind of mushy and a bit lumpy from grains and things he eats.

If it feels hard it may have soured on him, blocking his digestive system. Another sign of this would be no droppings at all or for long periods of time.

Check his keel bone, the bone that divides his breast muscles. If he hasn’t been getting enough nutrition this bone will feel sharp as you touch his chest.

While you are so close, check his legs and feet for any wounds, look into his eyes, nares and mouth for discharge or obstruction.

Give him a good looking over for any parasites, like ticks, lice, mites or poultry fleas. If you notice any bad smell try to find the source.

One more thought comes to mind, if your exam turns up nothing specific and external. I know in people, too much calcium in their diet or not being processed properly can cause painful joints.

Most of us keep our roosters with our hens and expect them to do just fine on the same food.

There are cautionary notes on some layer feeds against this, but feeding a rooster separately would require housing him separately and they love being with their girls.

The only cure/test I can think of for this would to be keep him from eating layer feed and get him on a more basic feed without calcium and other minerals and see if he gets better.

For suspected weakness I would try some vitamins and electrolytes for chickens, available at most feed stores.

Just follow the dosing directions (and while mixing it up you may as well give it to the rest of the flock, too). This might perk him up and help him feel better.

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