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Mareck's disease in a 4 week old chick?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have a batch of 5 chicks that I got from the local feed store.  Not my favorite way of adding birds to my flock, but I needed some layers and after one incubator fail this season I just wanted to be sure to have a few more hens this year.

 

So this chick was looking perfectly healthy until yesterday.  I noticed when she was eating food she was crouched down on her "heels," with the tarsus horizontal to the ground.  I was suspicious, but hoping that she was just really into her food.  Today she is walking only a little, and when she does she has a very awkward high-stepping gait, and seems like she's going to tip over.  Then she plops back down.  She is only about 4 weeks old, and labeled at the store as a "Whiting's Welsummer hybrid."  I'm sure breed has nothing to do with it, but just thought I'd give the info.

 

Is it possible for Mareck's to set in at this age?  If this is what she indeed has, does that mean my other chicks have been exposed, and possibly my adult hens (separated) as well?  Should I immediately cull her to hopefully stop anything from spreading?

post #2 of 6
It is possible, but anything that causes weakness in chicks can cause the same signs. It is also more likely that IF it is Mareks your hens may have been the source. Regardless all of the birds have been exposed whatever she has, so it's unlikely that separating her now is going to prevent other birds from getting sick if it is contagious. You may need to separate her to monitor her food and water intake and her stools, and to keep her in a warm quiet area.

Here is a good Mareks resource

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq

Home of the world's cutest dachshund, one crazy blue heeler, two cats,
              one fat pony, and many (but not too many!) chickens

              Can anyone tell me, how many are too many chickens?

 

Reply

Home of the world's cutest dachshund, one crazy blue heeler, two cats,
              one fat pony, and many (but not too many!) chickens

              Can anyone tell me, how many are too many chickens?

 

Reply
post #3 of 6

I would separate her is she is getting stepped on, otherwise I would try giving her a boost with vitamins. B vitamin deficiencies can cause problems with the legs, so I would use one with those.

It is possible that is could be Marek's , but quite a few illnesses/nutritional deficiencies can mimic it. @1muttsfan has provided a great link which outlines not only Marek's but those mimic illnesses as well.

 

Problems with legs/feet:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/leg-foot-and-toe-issues-in-poultry-of-all-ages

https://sites.google.com/a/poultrypedia.com/poultrypedia/poultry-podiatry

Vitamin info:

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/6/diseases-of-poultry/217/vitamin-b2-deficiency/
http://www.tillysnest.com/2014/03/vitamin-deficiencies-in-backyard-chicks-html/

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

So much good information, both on Marek's and vitamin deficiencies - thank you both!  I was suspicious of this being Marek's disease when I first saw her symptoms, but I didn't know what else might be the cause.

 

I am going to try supplementing vitamins first, because she seems to be eating/drinking/pooping just fine.  She isn't getting crowded or stepped on by the four other chicks, so I still have her in with them.  If that's all it is she should show improvements soon, so I will keep you posted on her condition.

post #5 of 6
Good luck smile.png

Home of the world's cutest dachshund, one crazy blue heeler, two cats,
              one fat pony, and many (but not too many!) chickens

              Can anyone tell me, how many are too many chickens?

 

Reply

Home of the world's cutest dachshund, one crazy blue heeler, two cats,
              one fat pony, and many (but not too many!) chickens

              Can anyone tell me, how many are too many chickens?

 

Reply
post #6 of 6

Hopefully it is a vitamin deficiency, you should see improvement fairly quickly, if not then you will have to consider the possibility of Marek's.

I do suggest that you read through the link provided by 1muttsfan just in case no improvement is seen. Then you will have to make some decisions and considerations since Marek's makes your flock carriers for life.

 

Please do keep us updated with her progress and the course of treatment that you try.

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