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The M word

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Out of curiosity how does Marek's usually hit?  Does it pick off one bird at a time over several months/years?  Does it his all at once?  The majority at once but a few build resistance?  Can just one bird die and none of the others show any signs?

Iv'e read up on it but nothing really talks about any time frame of the flock itself. 

I lost 4 birds over the last 5 months and all have different symptoms BUT looking at them as a whole I am starting to wonder.

flock size 18

January - The first one was what looked like a respiratory problem.  I found her in the run laying down after a rain storm gasping for air. Separated her, heat lamp, meds and vitamins She lasted 4 days and was 7 months old.

February-  The second one was a 5 month old Roo.  Fine one day.  Dead in the coop one morning.

March- Number three was a 4 year old hen.  She had a messy butt despite de wormer and good food.  She developed what looked like a pendulum crop but it was emptying every night.  One day she just didn't want to get up.  She passed after a week of separation, heat lamp, vitamins (neutri-drench) and scrambled egg.

April - Number 4 looked like wryneck.  She was 7 months old.  Separation, heat lamp, vitamins, and selenium.  She kept getting worse and I had to hand feed her.  She lasted three weeks.

Now I have a 5th who is sick but still alive.  He is 5 months.  In March I noticed he was really bad at picking up treats I would toss down.  He kept missing the treat almost as if he was near sighted. By the end of April he started walking stiff legged and would stumble now and then.  Last week he had been free ranging for a few days and the girls had been in the run for several days.  I let the girls out and he did not know what to do with himself.  He frantically ran from hen to hen mounting them.  He was so happy that they were out again.
After hen number 6 he fell off of her and on to the ground convulsing and another one of my hens ran over and started beating the crap out of him.  I got her away and he just laid there flopping around. I thought he would die right then and there.  He didn't.  He is breathing hard and can not get up.  Been hand feeding him but he is not getting any better.

Any one of these deaths by itself would not make me suspect Marek's.  All of them together and with another sick Roo I wonder if it might be Marek's.  Is the time line right?  Does Marek's pick them off one by one?

The other 13 seem fine.  Laying has slowed down but the weather is going from really hot one day to really cold the next.

FYI there are NO vets anywhere near me who see chickens aside from one who charges $90 just to walk in the door.


post #2 of 3

Welcome to BYC. Sorry for your loss. What state are you in? If you lose this rooster, you should refrigerate his body in a plastic bag (don't freeze,) and send it to the state vet for a necropsy. Each state is different in costs, and a few are free. That is the only way way to know if it is Mareks or whatever. If your chickens are 2 or older, they may occasionally die of different problems. Here is some reading about Mareks, and a couple of links for the state vets and necropsies:

post #3 of 3

yeah hope you dont live in  KY. cause I talked to them and YOU HAVE TO GO THRU a vet.... and its way over $100.  

 and good luck and maybe you are better off cause my chickens are breaking my heart and my mind. so more involved than its talked about....

just my opinion.

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