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Help! Hen can't stand and one wing is limp!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

This morning I came outside to find one of my hens unable to stand, walk, or even lift herself at all. There's nothing that I know of that happened to cause this, since I know for a fact all 8 of my hens were fine yesterday, so I'm very confused as to what happened when I wasn't around. One of her wings is hanging to her side, and she can't seem to move it correctly. She doesn't seem lethargic or have any other abnormalities, so I'm hoping this is merely some kind of physical injury and not a disease or something. Here's some pictures so you can get a better idea of what things are looking like:

 

 

As you can see, I built a wooden stool for her to sit on with a little backdrop in the back so she doesnt end up having to sit in her own poop... She can't even stand so that was the best I could think of. Does anyone know what is wrong with her? I wanted to ask you guys before I consulted a vet.

Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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post #2 of 7

Classic Marek's Disease symptoms.  No pain, just unable to move about, usually quickly continues to second wing, and leg and unable to walk at all.  Rarely recover.  Sudden death or if food and water are right in front of the bird, may linger for days or a few weeks.   If recovers,  is a carrier of the long lived virus for life.   All your birds have been exposed,   no treatment.   May not show symptoms or have "natural" immunity.    If the bird dies, a necropsy will show if it is Marek's for sure:   tumors, may be very small, in nerve tissue or larger on organs.   Virus is not carried in eggs, so no worry about eating or hatching!!!!   Vaccination at hatch may give immunity (2 weeks to develop immunity after vaccination).    I have vaccinated every chick for 14 years, (100s altogether) and  only 3 or 4 breaks).    Once you have the virus on you premises (housing--is carried in the dander/dust, almost impossible to disinfect, but worth the try of spray EVERY thing they have contacted, walls, ceiling, etc. of their pens.    And although I do not EVER obtain unvaccinated new birds, I re vaccinate any I have purchased.    Marek"s, perhaps, the worse scourge of poultry--and is world wide!   There are other forms, with different symptoms--none nice!!!!!   Some breeds can be bred to develop immunity--but how do you know--they can carry it for a lifetime without showing symptoms!  Sudden death--with no symptoms is hard to understand or to take--love all my birds!    Good luck......

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Oh gosh.... That does explain a random death with no explanation last year. Thank you for letting me know. If all of my birds have it, would it just be best to have them put down by a vet? That is, when they start showing symptoms like this bird? Would it just be better for her to not drag it out?

Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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post #4 of 7

Hi

 

Sorry to hear about your hen.

 

How old is she? I have Marek's in my own flock so I know a bit about it too. One of the things is that it mostly affects young hens in their first year and is often triggered by stress.... perhaps the additions of new birds to the flock, a cockerel's unwanted attentions or the confusion of the onset of egg laying.

 

Not saying this is or isn't Mareks that your hen had but it's less likely if this is an older bird and she does look quite mature. Might be worth trying a vitamin supplement as I've read that Vitamin B deficiency can cause paralysis.

I have had cockerels completely recover from an attack of Marek's and pullets that recovered from one attack only to get hit by another several months later. Thankfully my strain isn't as virulent as many others I've read about and I'm not suffering huge losses to it. I allow my hens to raise their own chicks (unvaccinated) within the flock and perhaps that is building up some resistance to it but I'm always vigilant for symptoms. Mine usually start with paralysis of one leg and they limp on their hock on that side. Sometimes they deteriorate rapidly, sometimes they recover within a few days but then have another more serious attack later. I spent weeks/months nursing two pullets with it last winter. The crucial thing I found was keeping them happy. Having the company of a pal and access to sunshine and grass whenever possible caused huge improvements in their condition but obviously the weather is not something you can buy at the pharmacy or feed store. 

 

Unfortunately if it is Marek's there is no cure and the choice is to cull or offer palliative care. I have done both and will offer care as long as the bird has a decent quality of life but cull once things go too far.  

 

I hope it's not Marek's for you and your flock's sake but it is an extremely widespread and easily contracted virus (it can even be wind born) so the likelihood is high that if you have chickens (especially young ones) experiencing paralysis, it will be Mareks.

 

Good luck

 

Barbara

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
My hen is about 2 years old. There was a sudden death last winter that makes me more convinced that it could possibly be Mareks. It looked like the bird just fell over and died. I truly hope this isn't the case. How would I go about getting Vitamin B for my sick hen? I haven't bought vitamins for my hens before because they've always seemed healthy, so I wouldn't really know where to get it.
Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
My hen is about 2 years old. There was a sudden death last winter that makes me more convinced that it could possibly be Mareks. It looked like the bird just fell over and died. I truly hope this isn't the case. How would I go about getting Vitamin B for my sick hen? I haven't bought vitamins for my hens before because they've always seemed healthy, so I wouldn't really know where to get it.
Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
My hen is about 2 years old. There was a sudden death last winter that makes me more convinced that it could possibly be Mareks. It looked like the bird just fell over and died. I truly hope this isn't the case. How would I go about getting Vitamin B for my sick hen? I haven't bought vitamins for my hens before because they've always seemed healthy, so I wouldn't really know where to get it.
Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
Reply
Momma of 6 RiR ladies, and soon more by by start of march!
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