Hi all, I would welcome some advice, this is actually about my friends flock but as the main supplier of her birds, I feel somewhat responsible.
My firend Rudi had an already established flock of 8 birds but these were reduced down to 1 after a fox attack last spring.
I bought six new hens from a local farmer and I gave two, a white star and a columbine to her. I then put my incubator on to hatch her a new flock from my birds.
I always quarentine my birds before adding them to the flock but she put her two straight in with the lone one.
My birds are all fine and well and are showing no symptoms of anything at all, I dont vaccinate them against mareks as it is actively advised against here in the UK but I do treat them with ampro every 6 months.
Then Rudi's hens started dying. The first to die was the white star from the farmer, she was off her food and a little down in the dumps but neither my friend Rudi or I thought it was serious, I gave her some ampro but a few days later she died.
Rudi then went and bought four more birds who were injected with 'something' on the day that they were collected. Rudi trusted the woman and didnt ask what or why she was injecting them. These were silkies and polish.
(A recent call to this lady resulted in a denial that they were given anything which makes me wonder if she had a mareks flock and had injected the birds before selling them but this is just conjecture. Rudi said that the lady had just kept telling her that it wasnt her fault and Rudi should go see a vet. It seemed very odd.)
Rudi's birds then started dying, I have given her eight young pullets and one by one these all went the same way as the white star. I gave her 4 more pullets after treating her flock with ampro and digging over the field where there was standing water. These all died except one which is in intensive care see below.
They didnt all die at once they seemed to take turns and have died over a few months, the symptoms seem to be lethargic until they lose ability to walk, this happens within a day or two then on the third day they are dead.
I have collected the last hen from her who a week ago started showing symptoms and I have it in my lounge where it is recieving intensive care. I am putting ampro in her water and giving her chick crumb, yoghurt and apple sauce mixed with boiled egg yolk. She is still alive and eating but cannot walk or hold her head up.
Every bird has had the same symptoms of lethagie and weakness before very quick death within a few days. I would suspect poison except the original fox survivor, the columbine and the four injected ones are all still alive which seems unusual.
Rudi rang the vet who quoted a ridiculous price to test for mareks and gave the conclusion that she would be better killing the whole flock and starting again.
So, is it possible that birds who hacve just been innoculated can be carriers of mareks but survive it themselves. Do some birds have a natural immunity against it? Are the pullets dying because they were younger and more vunerable?
The odd one out to me is the white star because the other five birds that I bought at the same time as her did not get ill but she seemed to be the start of it all. Also the what was the mystery injection that the woman is denying and why deny it if it was just vitamens etc?
If the hen in intensive care in my lounge survives, will she be a carrier?
And is it even mareks?
I have contacted other people who I have sold my hens to and they dont have any problems.