Chicken Walking Sideways

Many animal lovers have taken to raising chickens in their backyard.

The rise in the popularity of chickens as pets is mainly due to two reasons: chickens are very low-maintenance and pretty fun pets, and you get the added advantage of getting fresh and organic eggs for every breakfast. 

Yes, chickens are sturdy beings.

Yet, it would be best if you did not ignore any strange behavior in your flock, as that is the only way your chickens can let you know something is wrong with them.

Indeed, chickens do sometimes walk sideways.

In most cases, when chickens walk sideways, the situation usually involves a health concern.

So, let’s discuss chickens and how their odd behaviors are sometimes meant as warning signals.

Why Is My Rooster Walking Sideways?

If you’ve ever had a rooster in your chicken run, you’ll know that these strange beings believe they own the world.

Roosters love to lead, even when they don’t have willing subjects to lead.

So, roosters will sometimes use their size to get their dominion in order, or they may use charm to get the job done.

When a rooster walks sideways around the chickens, you should know that it is part of a dance ritual to attract the females.

However, roosters are nothing if not contrary creatures, and sometimes these weird beings will walk sideways to approach and attack their unsuspecting victims.

You might want to head indoors if you are alone in the backyard and catch your rooster walking sideways towards you.

What Causes A Chicken To Walk Wobbly?

Chickens tend to wobble when they lose their balance or are severely sick.

Most roosters, as well as chickens, have longer legs and smaller bodies than juveniles; as such, most are usually tumbling around.

However, once they mature, the problem resolves itself.

But, there are times when chickens get wobbly due to sickness or disease.

Let’s look into the many times you will witness your chicken lose its balance:

Fungal Infections

When the chicken feed becomes damp, it can cause fungal infections in your chickens.

And your chicken’s unsteady gait may result from a fungal infection.

Aflatoxicosis, mycotoxicosis, Aspergillosis, and ergotism are all fungal infections that impact the balance of your bird.


Is a kind of food poisoning caused by ingesting rotten food sources such as overripe or rotten fruits or vegetables.

Botulism does affect the balance of your chickens.

Viral And Bacterial Infections

Marek’s Disease and other viral and bacterial infections can cause staggering.

If these infections are treated promptly, your chickens’ legs might become permanently paralyzed. 

Foot Injury And Bug Bites

Your chicken might appear uncoordinated simply because they have sustained an injury on its leg or been bitten by a bug.

When chickens get injured, and the wounds aren’t treated and get infected, they often contract infections such as bumblefoot.

Chickens suffering from Bumblefoot or scaly leg mites tend to have shaky legs.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Chickens suffering from a vitamin E/selenium deficiency or a thiamine deficiency tend to have an unsteady gait.

However, mineral or vitamin deficiencies are often associated with other symptoms such as head shaking or crossed beak.

Why Is My Chicken Waddling Like A Penguin?

It is ordinary to find chickens waddling like penguins sometimes.

The most common cause of the weird walking stance of your chicken is Egg Yolk Peritonitis.

Egg Yolk Peritonitis, or EYP for short, is an infection due to a build-up of yolk material in the abdomen. 

Hens produce eggs (mostly yolk at an early stage) from the ovary.

The eggs pass from a funnel known as the infundibulum. In truth, the egg passes through many stages before finally exiting the vent.

The shell layer comes onto the egg right before it exits.

However, sometimes the egg misses the funnel and drops into the abdominal cavity.

And, if the egg misses the funnel repeatedly and enters the abdominal cavity, the build-up can cause an infection.

So, if you catch your cute feathery girlies waddling like penguins, it’s time to visit an avian vet. 

What Does It Mean When A Chicken Crouches?

Crouching is a sign of submission.

A hen will crouch before she allows the rooster to climb her and mate.

Many avid chicken farmers claim that squatting is often a sign that the hen is ready to mate.

When chickens reach maturity, you will often see your chicken crouching.

Squatting is a behavioral norm among chickens to let interested parties know it is time to mate.

But, squatting is also done among hens.

Chickens have a social hierarchy, and a hen crouching before another accepts authority. 

However, chickens squat in other situations as well.

You see, squatting closer to the ground is a technique that chickens use to make themselves appear smaller and less visible.

The less visible you are, the more difficult it becomes for a predator to aim for an attack.

Hence, it is that you will witness that chickens in an open field or closer to the wall of the chicken run will squat. 

You see, it may appear that chickens don’t have many talents.

But, chickens have an acute sense of self-preservation and can detect even the slightest signs of danger.

When a chicken senses a threat to its life, it will either crouch or run in the other direction.

Wrapping Up

While it is true that chickens are still not seen as amazing creatures, it is undeniable that chickens now make popular pets.

Yes, chickens make certain sounds to communicate with each other and sometimes even with their humans.

However, the best way to understand your chicken is to observe how they move around and carry themselves.

Chickens in their youth are often found tottering, but if you find your adult chickens unsteady on their feet, you shouldn’t simply overlook the matter.

In most cases, chickens suffer from wobbly feet when they are unwell.

In such situations, it is recommended not to waste much time and get expert advice from an avian vet. 


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