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Pullet intermittently stumbles like she is drunk

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I have an approximately 10 wk old pullet inconsistently walking strangely.

My wife noted yesterday she didn't come out of the coop. She got her out, and she just laid there. Then she got up and walked around. When I got home, I picked her up, and she showed no great fear (she's usually the most skittish of our 6 chicks). I tried to examine het skin but the feathers were too thick so I didn't see much. I was looking for any external sores/infections. She jumped down off my lap when I noticed her booty looked odd. When I raised her tail feathers I found 20 to 30 poops stuck back there a third on one side of her cloaca and the rest on the other side clinging to the little feathers around there. With DW holding, I gently trimmed the feathers releasing the fecal masses. No blood in it whatsoever. Her cloaca looked nice and normal pink. No skin irritation whatsoever either. All looked healthy there.

We notice when she walks, sometimes she falters, almost like she is drunk. I tried to video it but of course in the attempts she's walking ok. She can stand on one leg and scratch the side of her head without falling over. Her walk seems a little more labored and heavy compared with the others.

Her behaviors seem normal. When the coop was opened this morning she when straight for the water (she hasn't gotten the nipple waterer in the coop all down yet like the others). She eats voraciously. She preens and occasionally picks at herself (no more than the others and that isn't much). When I let them out of the 10X10 kennel, she came out like all the others and went after the blades of grass to eat like the others.

I just called the grower today. (She said they were 3 mos when I bought them but others have told me they looked 8 and that was 2 or so weeks ago.) She said that Ideal Farms (actually located just down the road from me) told her several years ago to stop vaccinating for Marek’s after years of advising her to do so, so they have not received vaccinations.

We are using a GMO and soy-free starter mash from our local feed store for feeding with occasional treats like watermelon or wild bird seed.

I examined her feet bottoms which looked normal without sores or swelling. No angular toes like there could be a fracture. No swollen joints, and and in the video I will post, no limp with walking, but occasionally she will just sidestep like she is off balance like a drunk or inner ear infection (not captured in the video). No tenderness to palpate the legs. My examining her didn't seem to bother her at all.

Any thoughts on what might be going on? I have even thought could she be unbalanced from the weight of so much poop back there? All other birds healthy and running around. She never runs herself.

Hoping it is not Marek’s but it isn't consistent like I would think the neurological problems with it would be.

Help greatly appreciated.

Just a note: it is ok to get technical, I am a physician but am a total novice with birds, esp chickens, as our city ordinance just loosened.

Kindly,
Nathan

http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=mFiBiyojuEo&u=/watch%3Fv%3DAc-TSf7Zq-4%26feature%3Dem-upload_owner
Edited by woodnt - 10/22/15 at 7:26pm
post #2 of 7

Was she vaccinated for Mareks disease? Sometimes a vitamin deficiency such as riboflavin can cause walking on hocks or lameness, so I would start some poultry vitamins in the water that contain riboflavin. Mareks can cause problems with balance or weakness in one or both legs or wings. Could the 30 or so tiny poops on the feathers be white to gray clumps of lice eggs? I'm just suggesting this, not to say it wasn't clumps of droppings, but just trying to be helpful. Lice can be treated with permethrin spray or garden dust, repeated every 7 days until eggs are gone.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggcessive View Post

Was she vaccinated for Mareks disease? Sometimes a vitamin deficiency such as riboflavin can cause walking on hocks or lameness, so I would start some poultry vitamins in the water that contain riboflavin. Mareks can cause problems with balance or weakness in one or both legs or wings. Could the 30 or so tiny poops on the feathers be white to gray clumps of lice eggs? I'm just suggesting this, not to say it wasn't clumps of droppings, but just trying to be helpful. Lice can be treated with permethrin spray or garden dust, repeated every 7 days until eggs are gone.

Thank you for the response. I mentioned above (but i said so much it was easy to miss)that because of the location and flock size, the breeder recommended to the grower/seller to NOT vaccinate. Evidently there isn't Marek's here even in the wild bird population. That said, I read about it today amd my heart sank! Neurological symptoms and paralysis and cancer.

I ready also today on this site about Vits and esp riboflavin (it might have been you?) So that is on the shipping list at the feed store tomorrow!

This poo was a quarter inch wide and 2 inches long and strung together. Wish I had a picture.

Thank you for the response.
Edited by woodnt - 10/22/15 at 7:55pm
post #4 of 7

You're welcome. Mareks is out there and fairly common, but hopefully it is just something strange in the one chicken, and not Mareks. Injuries and leg bone deformities, as well as vitamin or mineral deficiencies should always be considered. A necropsy by the state vet whenever a chicken dies to look for Mareks or other diseases is one way to confirm it. Let us know how she is doing.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
She passed overnight. She was warm and dry and hopefully felt our love. We are very sad, but turn our thoughts to our 5 other chickens, and the joy they bring.
post #6 of 7
So sorry for your loss.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggcessive View Post

So sorry for your loss.

Thank you
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