Thank you Barbara. I don't think I am to the stage where I could preform a necropsy on the chicken. She is frozen at the moment. I want to save some feathers and make feet prints in clay before burial.
My birds have had confirmed IB. I do not know why 3 weeks ago it decided to finally hit the other half of the flock. The ones who it hit hard back in October have so far been unaffected this time around. The disease hits hard and fast. This time it was with the 17-18 week old chickens who are silkies and weigh less than 1.5 pounds. The particular strain that my flock has contracted hits hard and fast. The polish are the ones who seem to get the most sick (although Claire was a silkie). The first sign is rapid weight loss. At 1.5 pounds or less, there isn't a lot to lose and they end up with hardly anything. The last two that died were hitting that age of hormones. Their 'sister' starting crowing on the same week they got sick. He, of course, is fine. I have a feeling that the stress of the hormones helped to play a role in why it kicked in now.
This didn't follow many of the same rules with IB that I have read about. First, IB usually hits all of the flock at once within 24-48 hours. My vet kept repeating "some become carriers" which I still can't understand "does that mean that carriers can switch over to having the disease?". I asked several times but he explained in language that I do not understand.
I worried about Marek's disease because of the inability to use the legs. In hindsight, that was probably because I found Claire at the time she was dying and her body was failing. I just helped to keep her alive for a few more days. I feel horrible because she probably was in pain. I was just hoping that with fluids and gaining back weight, she would once again walk. Most birds with IB die from kidney failure which is probably what happened with her. Diana, who seemed to fall over at the same time I started writing this post, died within 12 hours of this first post. I knew then her paralysis was just her being too weak to move. She did have a spurt of energy which is why I thought she was okay. She stood up to eat and so I put her back in the cage only to find her hours later.. listless but still sitting up. I picked her up and she died within minutes.
I still have 3 sick ones. They are all still walking. One is a mille fleur d'unclle. The other two are silkies. Milly is the sickest of all three. She is very sneezy and makes awful sounds when swallowing so I know her throat is sore. She's still very perky and I've been bringing her in for treats to keep her weight up. They are being weighed 2 times a day. I think if they can survive the next two weeks, then we might be done with the bad stages of IB. I worried all through Christmas and kept telling people 'the silkies aren't getting the disease. it's weird'. They do get it.. just at a different time. Why? I don't know. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Sorry for the long post. I am very sad tonight although it does seem that this one was a bit easier because I had known it was a possibility for days. I do not know how to proceed with the flock. I have 5 roosters now and 9 hens. The roosters are housed separately from the rest of the flock, but I can't keep that many roosters. I cannot sell any of them because they shed the virus for five months and I would not wish this one anyone else EVER. If anyone has any ideas, please PM me to let me know.
I'm new to chicken raising and I keep wondering if this is what chicken life is like all the time?