Mareks in my flock? - Page 5
- Fud Lady
Ugh it sucks how people find out your birds have mareks and then start treating you like a leper.. 😢 I'm not going to lie about it orntry to hide it. Feel like some of my closest mentors just dropped of the fave of the planet. It seems this makes this diagnosis even harder to take..
Ugh it sucks how people find out your birds have mareks and then start treating you like a leper.. 😢 I'm not going to lie about it or try to hide it. Feel like some of my closest mentors just dropped of the face of the planet. It seems this makes this diagnosis even harder to take..
its definitely nothing you did wrong
sorry they are giving you such a hard time
Incu Notes click HERE
Incu Notes click HERE
- Get off my lawn
Mareks is so common on properties, but yes, it scares people off. But it isn't carried in the egg, and if you brood long enough indoors you can avoid new ones getting it. Also if you wanted to share hatching eggs ever, it isn't transmitted in those.
Can't remember if I said this here or not before, but for what it's worth, the only chicken that I have that HAS Mareks is one who was vaccinated, and I think the reason the other one got ALV is BECAUSE she was vaccinated against Mareks (it was a known thing for Mareks vaccine to bring out ALV at one point, forget where I read it, but it was a reputable vet-medical source). The rooster in with them was NOT vaccinated, and is totally fine (he joined them at roughly 12-13 weeks old after quarantine). So the fact that you have Mareks in your flock does NOT necessarily mean you need to have your birds vaccinated, and many aren't sure it works very well (and as others have pointed out, it's hard to do as a small operation). (I'm not anti vaccine, just not sure it helps in this case.) Many breeders will breed for resistance - meaning that they do not breed from any bird that shows signs (and perhaps even from the line). Just IMHO...
- Ant Farm
This is one of those threads that you hope you never have to post on but if you do, it's sooooo reassuring to see familiar names with the same common problem.
I am beginning to think that I have Marek's in my flock.
Over the past year I have had mysterious deaths of 5 young birds (7 months to 14 months) and one 1 week chick. The first was a 14 month old rooster, the picture of health until over a three week period he rapidly lost weight, stopped crowing, his comb turned flaky white and shrank. I had wormed for coccidia two weeks prior to the onset of symptoms and until the onset he had been a robust, healthy boy..he's my avatar in fact. We tried everything from reworming to terramycin and in spite of our best efforts, he died.
Next was a big beautiful Lavender O rooster, also 14 months old. Sudden weight loss, stood with head on breast (Hunkered down, I call it). Within a week we found him on his back, dead from a suspected sudden death heart attack.
Then there was a lively 7 month old BO cockerel who developed some quirky neuro problem. He would suddenly stop and flap around as if having a seizure. This started happening more often and became more prolonged until we couldn't touch him without him seizing. I put him down.
Last month, another BO cockerel 13 months old died suddenly. A month earlier he had suddenly started not acting right. He stood and walked very upright, almost on his toes and if you tried to touch him, he would suddenly start spinning in circles and flapping his wings until he was spinning around on a shoulder. He also started walking in slow circles. I found him laying in the run one Sunday morning, barely alive. I picked him up to discover that his comb was blue at the tips, his breathing slightly labored and he slowly slipped into unconsciousness and died in my arms within 15 minutes.
I began drawing things together last week. I have a hen, two years old who last year, late summer I noticed has irregular pupils. One mostly normal, a bit sluggish to light response and the other pin point. Her eyes have remained normal color though. her weight is average. She has always been a little on the lean side but holds her weight well and is a dependable broody/layer. Another rooster, also 1 year 2 months old developed a pin point pupil about the same time. Solid built, not skinny in the least, active breeder and a gentle boy with people. He's my baby. The third hen developed a pin point pupil probably about the same time and like the other two, iris color remained unchanged until last week when I looked at her and said.....oh crap. The pin point eye is turning from gold to green with a touch of washed out yellow to it. All three's pupils are slightly and I mean slightly responsive to light but I can't ignore the color change. I thought at first the weird pupils could have been caused by rough mating or the rooster fighting with the other boys (I have 6 standards and 2 bantam roosters/cockerels) My husband is an eye doctor and he is going to check their bad eyes for me to see if there is an active Uveitis going on.
The chick that died at one week just wasn't thrifty at all. It ate, followed mom around but didn't thrive. I really didn't see anything that looked overtly Marek's except that it liked to walk with it's wings drooping a bit toward the end.
The change in eye color has me spooked and for the last week I've been reading everything I could find, finally latching on to a few medical grade reports that mentioned sudden death from cardiac tumors and neurological deficits in Marek's disease along with how symptoms could be masked and atypical-brain tumors could cause seizure activity.
History of my flock is that I have 24 standard sized and 24 OEGBs ranging from 26 months to 5 weeks of age. I bought the standard birds from an NPIP breeder who breeds for resistance and does not vaccinate their chicks. There had been no birds on our property for 6 years when I started my flock. My bantams were started by hatching eggs I got last Sept and recently from an Amish neighbor who has a flock of healthy birds.
My birds are wormed regularly, eat ADM and MFA gae bird feed with sunflower and scratch on the side. No free ranging. We live deep rural with Amish farms and free range chickens around us. None come on our property but bio security is only as good as the wind direction and speed lets it be if you get my drift.
So. Where to from here?
Closed flock-done. I can hatch my own chicks if need arises. No problem there.
Once again, only as good as the wind, flies and wild birds lets it be.
So far my bantams are hale and hardy. No weird anything going on and no more birds have developed weird pupils. The magic age seems to be 7-14 months for the range of deaths. The Two year olds with the funky pupils puzzles me though. They are not declining but seem stable and happy. The unequal pupils have been that way for almost a year on one. No weight loss, no paralysis, no prolapses, nada. I have not had a necropsy done. I thought about it with the last death per suggestion by @casportpony but it was only a few days later that I saw the eye color change and began to put two and two together.
It's like the old saying goes, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, well you know.........
Can I assume that for the time being these birds are stable? Have they, with their resistant breeding developed enough anitbodies that they are being protected from the disease progressing?
I love my birds. Naturally this is breaking my heart but better to know than not. It's been driving me nutz trying to figure out what has been killing off my birds over the last year. I can deal with the disease being a retired nurse. I know I will be loosing birds from time to time but now I'm kicking myself in the bum mentally for not buying vaccinated birds. I feel as though I've let my flock down by accepting disease resistant higher quality birds over lower quality hatchery chicks that have been vaccinated.
Thanks for reading everyone. Any help is greatly appreciated by a tearful flock owner.