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HELP! Necropsy advice?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have lost almost a half a dozen chickens to what I believe is Mareks.  I have a rooster that I had euthanized at the vet's office and we are going to send him to UC Davis for a necropsy.   I am filling out the paperwork and had a question.  The form asks for "tests requested".  I would like to know what caused my rooster's illness. Do I just put necropsy or should I ask for something more specific? I should have done this when I started losing my flock, one by one. To say I am heartbroken is an understatement, but I am also mad and scared and want to know what is killing all my chickens.

post #2 of 11

I am so sorry for your loss. :-( I had to fill out the paperwork today too and I just put "necropsy." I don't know if I did it right though. Are you sending your guy up to San Bernadino? I understand your frustration, fear and devastation. I'm going through similar feelings but with a much smaller flock. I hope you get answers soon.



post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you for responding..I've got a couple of messages out there in hopes that someone knows more about this than I do. I just don't want to waste the opportunity to find out what's going on. I guess you are and I are both wondering the same thing...does a necropsy cover everything?

I would also like to know if it was a feed issue or a toxin that killed them all, although I highly doubt that. This has been going on for about 2 years and each time I add to my flock, they die just before adulthood. It's heartbreaking to watch. All indicators point me to Mareks.


I am sending my rooster up to UC Davis although the San Bernardino place is more local to me. That was recommended to me by one of my bird friends. I am sure that both places do a great job.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

And I am sorry for your loss too.  I was so concentrated on figuring out this necropsy business that I didn't tell you how sorry I am.  Please accept my apologies for not being more sensitive.

post #5 of 11

I'm sorry for your loss.


@casportpony  (Kathy) is very knowledgeable about the info you want to request about necropsy.  You may want to pm her about how to fill out the form or hopefully she will see this post and respond.

Edited by Wyorp Rock - 10/4/16 at 8:58pm
post #6 of 11
Hey there! Any updates? Have you gotten the preliminary findings back yet?
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi there, I sent off my rooster this morning via fedex.  I am hoping that it won't take too long to find out what happened and what keeps causing all of these deaths.  The symptoms point to Mareks but I need to make absolutely sure. I wish I had necropsied the others that I had euthanized - I didn't realize (and I never asked my vet) that my vet would help so much by keeping them chilled and packing them up. I think they want to know as much as I do - they've euthanized 5 of my chickens in the past 2 years.


How is your flock doing? any other issues? 

post #8 of 11
Aww, I'm so sorry 😥. I sent my little EE in on Tue and got the preliminary results back Wed. They didn't tell me much but the indications still point to Marek's. I'm taking my Copper Comet in today for a "recheck" to the vet, and most likely won't come home with her. She's been paralyzed for a week and now she's having a hard time breathing. I can't let her suffer.
Seems so silly to me how attached I got to these birds that I originally got for food but they have TOTALLY become pets.
I have ONE pullet left that I'm PRAYING will make it through. She's had the green diarrhea and did start sneezing today so it isn't looking real great but I'm loading her up on VetRx, garlic water, acv, silver hydrosol, rescue remedy stress relief for pets, vitamin laced yogurt, chick starter crumbles for extra protein and a whole lotta prayer. It is so, so awful to witness my entire little flock just... Die off one by one, no matter what I do to save them! I haven't really stopped crying for days. 😢

I was reading that the final results from the necropsy don't come back for about a month' so it looks like won't know what killed my flock for a while.

How are you doing?
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 


I am going to call the lab tomorrow - I ended up sending him to San Bernardino just like you did. They received him Friday about noon so I think I should be able to call them tomorrow for preliminary results.  One of the other people on this board encouraged me to be persistent.  I too strongly suspect Marek's despite the fact that every single chicken I've brought home has been vaccinated.  I am about 60 miles north of you near Temecula area and it has been very dry here. I don't have too many places to put a chicken coop either and the urge to burn the current one down has been there.  I am also concerned that it may have been a combination of Marek's and incorrectly feeding the younger chickens, especially the roosters. After reading all of the threads on lay mash, I wonder if that is what caused some of the illnesses in my flock.


I read another one of your posts and we are exactly in the same boat. Exactly.  I have one hen left and she is so lonely and sad that it breaks my heart. She has been crowing when we are out there with her and looks for the other chickens. She's much older and so far has not exhibited any symptoms. She stopped laying eggs the last time all her flock died.  Over the past two years I have lost about 6 out of 8 chickens and she is the remaining survivor. I bring a couple of them home and they seem to thrive for just long enough for us to get attached to them...and her too.  One by one they start to get sick. 


My gut tells me that she won't last long without company but I can't help but feel incredibly guilty about bringing home new chickens.


If it is Marek's disease, I am not sure how I will be able to sanitize the property as we have a few acres and its all dirt.  You seem to know a lot about this kind of stuff as so many others on these boards and I will be searching for advice on how to proceed.


If it ends up that my chickens were improperly fed, then that will be on me.  I would feel awful.  I just know that this will be an extremely hard lesson that I had to learn.  I am sure people have said this before, but I always thought chickens were so easy to raise...low maintenance.  I never believed that I would get so attached to them either  - I never knew they were such great pets. I have adored every single one of them and they have all died but one. I wish that I had educated myself better on the day to day care.


My heart goes out to you because I truly do know what you are going through.  Please reach out to me anytime via pm or on this board. 



post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

The preliminary report came in my email today and they said that all of the findings point to Mareks. They have to wait for more results, but his size and age, lack of fat and tumors on his spleen and liver were evident of the disease.


Now what? I don't even know where to start.


I have one lonely hen. She's been with us for almost 4 years. Can't rehome her and she is miserable alone. I''m guessing that she is a carrier.


Our property is large and disinfecting the areas where the chickens go would be hard, but not impossible.

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