I put this rooster in the barn months ago, maybe around lambing time. He had a wound on his foot, probably from fighting with other young roosters, and he was limping. The others were hassling him, so I stuck him in the barn for some respite. I sprayed some antibiotics on it a few times. It healed on the outside, but must have sequestered infection on the inside. This is apparently called bumblefoot.

A person can apparently hack the infected tissue out of there in an attempt to aid the body in ridding itself of the bacteria. In my case, I opted not to mess with it. The rooster seemed happy in the barn, he chortled and crowed; and ruled king over the sheep, pecking their noses if they didn’t honor his space at the feed trough. He didn’t put much weight on that foot, but managed to limp around fine; scratched for grain in the bedding, and would roost at night on the gates. Seeing that he didn’t seem to be suffering, I procrastinated butchering him because I absolutely hate butchering chickens. I’m ok with the killing part, but the dressing grosses me out, as they are just so stinky! Plus, I am slow at it.

This last week, however, I could tell he’d taken a turn for the worse. He stopped roosting, instead finding a fluffy pile of scrap hay to sleep on. He sat with the bad leg pushed up and out. He stopped joining the sheep for their grain snack, so I brought it to him, which he seemed to appreciate. He stopped chatting and crowing. So, it was time, a top priority this weekend to put an end to his new discomfort, and put him in the stew pot!

Here are a couple pictures comparing his feet- you can see that the affected foot is completely healed on the outside, but is hugely fat. Even his lower leg was enlarged, so there was some serious inflammation happening.

He was a healthy, heavy bird, otherwise; full of yellow fat. I’d bring him greens from outside occasionally, but the contents of his crop show that he was supplementing his corn diet with alfalfa leaves from the hay troughs.

He’ll make a nice soup bird. Mature chickens make the best broth, something you just can’t achieve with store-bought birds.