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Chicken lying on side, but still eating - Page 3

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 
Reece's is still hanging in there, still not 100%. Unfortunately, her sister died suddenly - fine one day, dead the next. Is that another manifestation of Merek's? Im down to 2 chickens including Reeces, and wondering if I'm going to need to start over or give up on chickens, if it stays in the soil, etc.
post #22 of 28

Without getting a necropsy done by your state vet, you may not know if it is Mareks or not.   If you have Mareks, you can have vaccinated chicks from a hatchery in the future, and keep them out of any contaminated environment (dust, dander, feathers) for 2-3 weeks until the new chicks develop immunity.

post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Sioooo... I live in RI. Whenever I try to google anything like "chicken testing Rhode Island"I get tons of hits about Rhode Island reds but nothing actually about my state! How do I find where to have a necropsy done? Reece's is back to lying on her side, one leg shaking. I think it may be kindest to have her euthanized and then have this test done.
post #24 of 28

Found this list of poultry diagnostic labs. It's got the contact info for the State lab in RI.

post #25 of 28

Hi, I just popped in and found your thread.  Your hen's case sounds very familiar to me.  We have had several 2 year old birds over the last year that have had similar symptoms as yours does.  I've strongly suspected Marek's all along, but I've not had any lab tests and all of our birds were vaccinated for Marek's at hatching, so it's still a mystery. 


A couple of our chickens effected, died rather quickly, but I have an Egyptian Fayoumi hen that has been quite the warrior and pulled through.  It's been a long process, which started last March.  She started out limping and listing, to then, not walking at all. Egg production also stopped.  I moved her to a small brooder pen that, luckily, I had just built.  She had her own, little house inside and a nice view of the other chickens, so she didn't feel so isolated.  For the first, 5-7 weeks she was immobile, but slowly, she started painfully gimping and scooting around and then hopping.  I moved her back into the main coop with the other hens at the beginning of summer.  Her little house came with her, so that she had a place that she could hide out when things got rough.  By the end of summer, the house was removed.  At that point, she could get around pretty good, but still had a limp and looked as if she was still in pain at times.  The other hens had stopped picking on her and she was holding her own.  It's now January and you can hardly tell that she was ever sick...there's just a slight, occasional limp and she is well accepted by the rest of the flock. 


I guess that I'm writing this to tell you that if you have the patience, there is hope for your little hen.  Build her a semi-permanent home within your coop.  She won't need much space, just some TLC.  If she's sick, then the other birds have already been exposed anyway.  Don't over-treat her...time and calmness is the best medicine.  Good luck.



post #26 of 28

Mareks disease is everywhere from what I have learned on this forum. So ridding your life of Mareks may not be possible. I started with 8 hens, 4 seemed to get sick, many showing neurological issues in the end and died between the ages of 2-4 y/o. My vet assumed Mareks. The other hens are now going on seven years old. Some breeds can tolerate the disease better. I have had one hen unable to walk, at all, and after giving her vit. B12 and vit. E she was walking again in two weeks and lived three more years. Chickens can get sudden paralysis from vitamin deficiencies too. I learned that here too. So my experience has taught me that chickens get sick, with care some recover and some will not. I stop once they have stopped eating for a week. Good luck, chickens are great fun and I can not image my life without them now, but like all pets they come with heart ache too.

post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
I've been giving her vitamins and keeping her indoors for 6 weeks now. She will improve and then decline in waves. Right now she is back at point of standing up and immediately falling over, basically rolling herself from food to water.

If I put her outside in the coop, she'll be in freezing weather without being able to move around much, and she might spill her water on herself, which she does a lot. I think she could freeze to death.

She's a sweet girl but I can't see this as a very good life for her.

Thank you for finding the diagnostic lab listing. I haven't made final decision yet but it's good to have that info.
post #28 of 28

I find it interesting that she still wants to eat and drink.  When my chickens are sick, I have to push water with a syringe to get them to even drink.  Since she is still interested in food, it seems as if this might be more of a neurological disorder.  There have been people that have built little slings for their chickens to walk around in.  From what I can remember, they weren't that hard to make.  Then again, that might be another 'quality of life' decision for you and your chicken.  It's okay to let go too.  You've done a lot for her. 

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