I just found out my 4 1/2 month old EE pullet died from lymphoid leukosis. (she went from apparent health to lethargy, respiratory symptoms and death in a day) Necropsy showed liver tumors and she must have spiked a terminal fever as her brain was autolyzed. it has been almost two months to get the histology back and confirm it was this (as it looks a lot like Mereks) from the histology.
The others have looked OK until yesterday when my only roo (a very friendly Cream Crested Legbar 5 month old cockerel) is showing signs of illness (lethatgy and ataxia). i have raised birds for over 40 years and have never had sick chickens. These are pets and very lovely and sweet birds and I feel so helpless. This is a young (5 months old pullets: 2 EEs who are hatch sisters to the one that died, 2 Wyndotte bantam pullets (now laying), a Silkie pullet, a LF Wyndotte cross Cochin pullet and 2 hens who are 1 1/2 years old and laying daily) flock who all energetic, eating and drinking well and seem healthy.
I've been reading up on this and the sources keep refering to "resistant strains" (breeds?) but I have not been able to find any info on which strain/breeds are "resistant". Has anyone seen that?
Most sources indicate a mortality of about 4% but state that once clinical signs develop, there is nothing to be done for the unfortunate bird. It breaks my heart, but I fear the worst for my lovely Reginald the CLB roo. if the worst happens, I wonder if it makes sense to introduce an adult roo (or mear adult cockerel) under the cirmumstances? Apparently, this problem is present in many small flocks without the flocksters even being aware of it and most birds that succomb are those infected at birth or as very young chicks. Then they become symptomatic at around 4 to 6 months old (just when mine did). There has been talk on the site recently re folks downsizing on roos for the winter and regretting sending really nice young roos to "freezer camp." Just wondering if taking a 4% or so chance (or less as he would be past the age of most susceptability) would be preferable to certain death. Otherwise, it is a pretty good gig, 8 sweet young hens, being "spoiled" as pets, a sunny coop on a sun porch, shut up safe at night, out to an exercise pen at daybreak.....