Hi Kathy again! I'm sorry for overthinking this so much, but I am becoming more and more of the mind that I have a poor girl with Mareks. The little one wakes and is ready to eat and chatter, but her body won't get up. now her left leg which was pretty strong before is becoming weaker. It is like everything is weakening. I fed her again. I know I said I wouldn't but she was chattering at me and picking like she wanted to eat and I couldn't deny her. She is very content right now. Now for the bad news. If this is really Mareks disease, my coop, run and other girls have been exposed to it. I went out this morning and one of my girls is not using her leg. She is holding it up and limping. I don't know if she injured it or if this might be the beginning of something so even though she is still in the same coop, I have her in a section separated by chicken wire so the other girls leave her alone to heal if it is an injury. The concern I have is that she was one of the ones I got earlier from this breeder before she started using the marek vaccine so she is at risk. I have three other girls I got from Dodge feed and grain and doubt they had the vaccine either because they come from local farms. Should I be cleaning the coop and adding fresh soil to the run to prevent any exposure issues? How do you usually manage a coop if you find a bird with mareks?
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Edited by casportpony - 11/13/15 at 1:23pm
Thanks for the informative thread. Very disheartening. It appears once that there has been a bird with mareks, your coop and entire environment is contaminated and whether you take cleaning measures or not, it appears your remaining flock are contaminated so you're stuck with it. How many do you have in your flock and how to you replenish them? I only have hens and only have 8 others than the ill one. I am kicking myself for not continuing getting them from the original place that always vaccinated them. I got three from a feed and grain store and three from a smaller breeder that initially didn't use marek vaccine and then did. The one I am losing was from that breeder but told to me to have been vaccinated, but she wasn't kept for several weeks away from the existing birds, however I did get her as a pullet of greater than 12 weeks old. My concern is that the woman that sold her to me didn't vaccinate before and now does, but she keeps her birds together, so if the property was infected with mareks, whether she vaccinated or not, they didn't have the proper separation from the virus after being vaccinated. She never reported her birds as having mareks, but as I mentioned before, I had the same breed from her that died from an unknown cause, so it makes me wonder. Oh well, can't do much about it now, what is done is done. I am just hoping the other girls don't develop the signs. Thank you so much. lastly, if I do start seeing the other girls showing signs, I can't do weeks of individual care like I just did especially knowing the most likely end result and bringing each one to be euthanized by the vet or animal control isn't practical. How have you managed losing your girls? If you cull them, how do you do it? Is there a way that just quietly puts them to sleep? I know I might sound silly, but I would prefer something like that if possible since they aren't obviously being used for eating or anything like that. You would never know I had a grandmother with a 57 acre farm that had chickens and fed her family with them years ago:) Wish I was older when I knew her, I could have asked questions and learned a lot, but I think her method of an axe would not work for me anyway:)
Lulu passed today. The vet wanted 200 dollars to euthanize her and that just wasn't reasonable. I looked up various ways to cull her that would be humane and realized she was very ill, but very comfortable. so I decided to just let her be as long as it didn't appear like she was struggling to breathe or trying to reposition herself or showing any signs of discomfort. Yesterday I gave her another warm bath, which she loved and closed her eyes and relaxed in and then put her in a nice warm towel. She slept most of the day and once in a while would stretch a leg and then go back to sleep. She had become so thin I knew she wouldn't make it so I just didn't offer her any food or water and she wasn't looking for any, she just slept. This morning I warmed another towel and changed her pad and she opened her eyes and looked at me and opened her beak and then closed them and went back to sleep and when I just checked on her she passed quietly. I know I am going to have to toughen up if I plan to have chickens, and be prepared to cull them if needed, but as long as they don't seem in any distress, I was content to let her pass this way. If she was in distress, I think it would have been easier for me to cull her, but luckily she went peacefully. Thank you so much for all of your help and support. Your sharing of information was invaluable to me and really prepared me to be better able to handle some issues I am sure to face again since I love having these girls and plan to continue to care for them for a very long time:)