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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28526
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a rooster (large) approx. 3 years old. Energy level

Customer Question

I have a rooster (large) approx. 3 years old. Energy level has dropped steadily over last 5-7 days, comb is pale. I gave him a nutritional "drench". He is drinking and eating (unenthusiastically). This AM is not leaving the roosting box.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunately, the symptoms you've mentioned - lassitude and pale comb (anemia, usually) can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of a presentation, so we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests, X-rays, and physical exams to differentiate one from another. With this in mind, your best course of action is to reach out to your county-extension poultry personnel or avian-oriented veterinarian (please see here: for help in differentiating the various causes of what you're seeing. Veterinarians can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to distinguish between the differential diagnoses. Are any of your other birds ill? If just one bird is ill an infectious and highly contagious disease isn't likely. Instead, infections (and neoplasia/cancer) such as avian leukosis and Marek's (less likely at his age) need to be considered. Is Harvey exhibiting any other symptoms that might help clarify why he's symptomatic - a change in his eyes, nasal discharge, sneezing, regurgitation/vomiting, increased respiratory rate, or lameness, e.g.?It's best to approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of Harvey's value to your operation. Although some services such as your county animal disease diagnostic laboratory might be available free of charge through a county agency or land-grant extension office, the expense of some diagnostic tests and treatments can add up quickly. While it’s always worth your time and money to identify a bacterial or viral infection that could potentially impact more than one member of the flock, this might not be the case with a condition that only affects one rooster.Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.