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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 2595
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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We have a healthy free range flock with a large buff brahama

Customer Question

We have a healthy free range flock with a large buff brahama rooster that's 3 years old. Tonight we found him unable to walk but showing no signs of stress. There's no sores on his feet and when you move his legs each time he pushes off as if to stand up with no sign of pain or stress.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 1 month ago.

HI this is Dr. Hill. No swelling along the legs and no wounds underneath along abdomen? Did you by chickens that were vaccinated for Marek when a day old?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No swelling in the legs, and I didn't notice any in the abdomen. I just went to separate him from the flock and when I carried him, his right leg stayed straight, but it still had full strength. The rooster is 3 years old. He and a brahma hen came from a friend who realized they didn't want chickens. They were only a few months old. But I don't know if they were vaccinated. We've had small backyard flocks for years and never seen anything like this.
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 1 month ago.

He cannot stand at all on either leg? Were your original chickens vaccinated for Marek's? Marek's disease can manifest in a number of ways, one of them with weakness like this.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
None of them. We've hatched them. Is that contagious? I have a mother hen with 16 pullets in a separate field that I was going to be moving in with the main flock.
It's strange. He can stand on the legs if he can lean against your leg. Otherwise he topples over and starts struggling to stand back up.
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 1 month ago.

He sounds neurologic. do not move the mother and pullets in. Do you have an avian veterinarian that you can take him to see tomorrow? Marek's is a viral disease that is contagious. Chicks are vaccinated at a day old. Some signs are neurologic, iris color change and it can cause cancer. I really think he should be separated if possible and taken to a vet to be evaluated.