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Constipated Cuckoo Marans

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have a middle aged Cuckoo Marans, named Willis, who seems to have become constipated recently. Over the last few days, she keeps standing still and flaring her feathers around the vent, but she is unable to actually pass anything. She's also been doing the "emu sit", sitting down with her upper body reared up so her legs are exposed, something I've never seen her do before. She's still eating. I believe she's still a layer, but I'm not sure. She had Marek's Disease a few years ago, and became extremely sick but survived. Since then, she's been partially blind and less active. Is she in any danger? If so, what can I do?

Also, she's molting. Does that have anything to do with it?


This is how she's been sitting:



Like that, with her legs out. Never seen any of my other hens do that.


Thanks if you can give any advice.

post #2 of 6

Chickens can sit on their hocks from a riboflavin deficiency, or from Mareks disease. Is blindness the only Mareks symptom she has had? Was she ever lame or paralyzed in her legs? I would start some poultry vitamins or offer foods rich in riboflavin and other B vitamins to see if it helps. I would worry that she has a very large egg or lash egg stuck in her oviduct. Can you insert a gloved finger an inch or so inside her vent? If you use some lubricant, it may help her pass some droppings if she is constipated. Make sure that she is drinking enough water, and you can give her a calcium tablet or Tums to boost her calcium level which may help her to pass an egg.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

The Marek's got so bad that half her body was fully paralyzed, but then she recovered, and in the years since then I haven't seen her sit that way. Perhaps she could be having leg trouble now from the disease a while ago. If she gets any sicker I'll try checking for eggs. Also, I've heard that Marek's can cause tumors that last long after the paralysis is gone. Could that have something to do with it?

post #4 of 6

Yes, Mareks can cause tumors anywhere in the body. The paralysis is from nerve tumors, and if they have only transient paralysis, they will usually become ill with tumors later. I would start some poultry vitamins including riboflavin and vitamin E just in case of a vitamin deficiency.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

So the constipation has ended, thankfully. I can try giving her vitamins, although from what I've read it seems that in the unlikely event a chicken survives the paralysis, the tumors will eventually do her in.

post #6 of 6

Yes, but vitamins for poultry come in types for the feed or water, and can easily be fed to the other chickens. Many come with probiotics, and most feeds like Purina and Nutrena contain probiotics as well, which can help to keep the gut in good shape. Some BYC have chickens with Mareks who continue to live for some time. Good luck with her.

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