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**Help deciding on treatment for unknown paralysis in pullet. Please help**

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)

2 black copper Marans(supposibly), I believe they are approx 15-17 weeks. If the man we bought them from was correct they should have been about 8-9 weeks when we bought them. That was beginning of February. yes, they both have lost weight, however still eating a store bought crumble layers feed.

2) What is the behavior, exactly.

1 is unable to stand upright, lost her use of legs within 1 days time. The other started off with what looked like sour or impacted crop, however she started losing her coordination a day later, and would just move around with her feet and tendons. They started open mouth breathing today, and one actually improved slightly and has been able to stand up completely straight when I checked on them tonight.

3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

I noticed the large bulge that I believed to be sour crop on hen #1 on Friday and by Sunday she was barely able to stand. The hen#2 was running around fine until Sunday, where she could barley walk and kind of fell down ramp from coop to outdoor run.

4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

No, just these 2. I will stated that out of the flock of mostly silkies and EE they are the only ones I did not hatch self. No one was vaccinated for Mereks, and yes it did cross my mind that it could be the cause, however the symptoms came on so suddenly. Also note that about 2 weeks ago I vaccinated them all for fowl pox.

5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

No not that I can see or feel.

6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.

I am thinking botulism, it has been flooding here near Houston Texas, and the ground is wet obviously. Some of the food got moisture, so I threw that food away and reloaded it with fresh dry feed. I even covered the place where the rain could have soaked in from. I did notice that some areas around the coop(about 30 feet away from the coop)look completely dead, like it was sprayed by insecticide. My brother in law and yard men are there a lot and they will be questioned today.

7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

Layer crumbles. And I had been forcing them to drink water with vinegar. Then I recently read to put Epsom salt to flush out the system, so I tried that last night.

8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. greenish white.

You can scroll down for pics of the bird and see they droppings from the pic. It looks greenish white to me, yet some of it looks normal.

9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

That's what I need help on, I have so many different meds, and no clue where to start. When the first hen looked like she had sour or impacted crop I tried the Mobistat 3 treatment i had read about on here and the oil down the throat and tried to massage the blockage. I did give them nutri drench for 2 days.

10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?

I want to treat it completely by myself. I have many different meds here and baytril is being shipped to me.
See pic of what I have medicine wise:

11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
Already did, jut scroll down

12) Describe the housing/bedding in use: usually they have a a totally enclosed run. Wire cloth around it all.
Hay is used right now since I have not been able to put sand in yet. I am going to get on that soon,
Here is a pic

Edited by Nksg75 - 4/19/16 at 2:37am
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 10

Hi, sorry to hear about your hens.

Proper diagnosis can only be achieved by an avian vet. Though the condition you are describing sounds like Marek's disease. Marek's causes paralysis of the legs and sometimes neck. It is a herpes virus that attacks the white blood cells, resulting in tumors. These tumors can effect the respiratory symptom which may be the cause for the gasping. It is transmitted through the dander from feathers - usually the feathers of older birds. Some mosquitoes can carry the virus too. It is not botulism as this disease doesn't effect the respiratory system and develops quickly. By now, if it were botulism, her neck, wings, eyelids and other muscles would be paralyzed. The green and white runny feces may be because of lack of water.


I think it is either Marek's or the bird has multiple diseases.

Is there many mosquitoes around the pen? Have the younger birds been in contact with older chickens?


For now, I suggest giving them an electrolyte/red cordial.

I don't know of a cure for Marek's though I have had birds that just 'get up and get over it' with help of vitamins and electrolytes (though this is rare and I don't know why it happens).


I hope this helps,

Cuckoo Orpington. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for responding, I had mereks in the back of my mind, however since it was not a gradual paralysis but overnight, I thought it sounded like something else.
Yes, with all the rain here in south Texas, definatly mosquitos. I did vaccinate them for fowl pox, however I realize nothing works 100% of the time.
I gave them that nitro drench, and the poop smells unbelievabley terrible. I am not sure if it's because of the nitro drench or something else.
So I will look more into mereks, and assume in the near future that my silkies will more than likely succumb to it.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Oh, no none of the others have been in contact with any other birds besides who is in the flock with them.
There seem to be a ton of vultures that hang around because my husband is constantly hunting armadillos and raccoons.
One time about 2 months ago I saw a vulture stumbling around and kept falling out of the tree I thought it may be a poison that I missed. I was assuming it might be the same thing
post #6 of 10

I am not sure if Marek's is found in raptors but it may have been transmitted from wild birds...

As for the mosquitoes, to prevent further infection you can buy the common camping mozzie coils (citronella infused). You can get these from a grocery store. When there is mosquitoes around I light them late in the afternoon and place them on the pen, the small amount of smoke will not harm the birds. Ever since I started doing this, Marek's hasn't been a problem.


It is normal for birds with Marek's to have smelly runny poop. It sounds like the virus came from wild birds. To prevent further infection you can use hanging feeders with grids or use 'Grandpa feeders' the automatic feeders. If you want to go gung ho you can net the runs as we do (if they are in a run). I am afraid that if any more birds get the disease you may have to cull the whole flock, prevention is always better than cure.


This article is very detailed and explains the holistic remedies you can use:


How are your girls going?

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
The smaller one is worse, she can still move her wings and lift her head, however I think it is close to ending her suffering. I have been tube feeding her, so she at least is being fed. The larger one is actually more mobile. Walking more and more. I assume with meriks that they yo-yo? Have good and bad days?
I just was hoping that it could be something else since it came so fast. One day fine, the next day barely able to walk.
We do have our entire run covered in hardware cloth(bottom, sides and top) We have so many predators out here, and I didn't want to lose them to that!!
I figured I have a chance at illness treatment, however I can't do a thing if a coyote, or raccoon decides to snatch them in the middle of the night!

Do you know if after a flock is culled how long you need to wait before putting vaccinated birds back in the coop? Of course I will need to strongly dissenfect everything in the coop and probably around it.
post #8 of 10

From your description, I think the kindest thing you can do for the little one is put her down. Many birds with Marek's end this way. Either she is getting worse or is having a bad day, analyze her behavior tomorrow and see if it is the same/worse/better.


The bigger one sounds like she has a good shot  -  yes they do have bad days and good days. I have an Orpington x Rhode Island hen who had Marek's for 4 days. She was displaying the same symptoms - runny poop, paralyzed legs etc. I treated her with soluble vitamins and garlic in her water, plus a bit of red cordial down her throat everyday (the cordial is high in sugar and gives them a bit more energy to eat drink etc). At day 4, she got up and walked back to the chook pen. I have had three birds recover from Marek's in the past six years. Though the odds sound great, it is a decent ratio as I haven't had many infected with it. 


I strongly recommend putting some partly crushed garlic in their water as it strengthens the immune system.

Also, check out their pupils - are they jagged or perfectly circular?


To cull the flock or not depends on how acute the form of Marek's is.


The Herpes virus can survive outside of the chickens body for months or even years, it once it has infected the chicken pen/area it can easily be carried by rodents, the wind, birds and yourself so building a new isolated pen would only be infected from you and other components. Overall, culling is not a long term solution unless you are to wait a long time. Of course, over the years I have experienced Marek's but it has never been frequent - two to four birds a year out of hundreds. I have heard of the disease becoming a major problem for some breeders, if it does become a big issue culling is the best choice and then waiting. Weekly disinfection is a good idea to try and maintain it.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank cuckooOrpinton,
Unfortunatly she died sometime last night. The bigger one is doing quite well. I gave her more nutri drench, and I will take your advice on the garlic. I assume you crush it and just put it in the water and it does its magic?
I have the little hen in a bag(with ice),and trying to figure out what lab test I need to order. I am in Texas, and we have a lab that I can send her to. I see some crazy expensive prices on the list, however I wanted to just have a meriks test. Wow, they like to charge for every little thing. I was hoping it would be easier to do this.
I am going to try and search and find out what the lab calls the test. Already checked on the website, and don't see the waving hand 🖐🏻 "hey you there, check this box for meriks test"
post #10 of 10

Hi, sorry to hear about the pullet. Yes you can just peel the garlic, give it a smack with the side of a knife then put it in the water. The goal is to let the juice seep into the water. I put heaps of garlic in my pullets water, they don't mind the taste (and I don't think you can overdose). Makes their breathe smell though :D

The tests are very expensive but at least then you'll know what it is for sure. 

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