13 week old chicks walking funny / having trouble standing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sarah.Gallitz, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. Sarah.Gallitz

    Sarah.Gallitz In the Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2018
    Australia
    We have 6 chicks that have seemed healthy up until a few days ago when they started walking funny / having trouble standing up, 4 out of the 6 seems to be affected to varying degrees. The chicks have been free ranging with our adult flock of 8 other birds, but have an "escape" area only they can reach, and were not getting picked on.


    1) What type of bird , age and weight?
    Black copper marans, 13 weeks old, seem a healthy weight (don't look thin etc)

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    Sitting down a lot more often, when standing legs appear to shake, when walking raising legs very high, and leaning forward oddly.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    We noticed a few days ago

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    4 of our 6 chicks are affected, one very badly (can barely stand), one fairly badly (walks very strangely, has some trouble standing) and two mildly (walk strangely, can't run, still active)

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    No visible trauma

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    No idea :( After reading online we are thinking Mareks disease (but they show no other symptoms atm) or a vitamin deficiency

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    All birds have been seen eating and drinking still, the two worst have been isolated with easy access to food / water. We're feeding them grower crumbles, but as they free range all day it is unclear how much of that each chick actually eats.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    Witnessed one of the isolated chicks do a terribly runny poo, am unsure about the others

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    We've isolated the worst two as there are concerns about them reaching the food / water

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    We would like to treat them ourselves as possible as I think vet could be very expensive for 6 chicks, and we have no car to take them. Our current plan is to knock together 6 individual crates so we can monitor what each chick eats in a day, and set them on concrete ground to make sure they're eatting the grower crumbles.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    I can potentially take a video if it would help.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    Free range all day, a shed with 3 in straw, and roosts (both natural and 2x4). Chicks tend to sleep on the floor, though.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, worried about my babies.
     
    4 ever Orpington likes this.
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Sorry about your chickens. Are any acting lethargic or standing hunched or puffed up as they can do with coccidiosis? Mareks is a good possibility. Coccidiosis has been diagnosed in necropsies of cases of suspected Mareks before, so worth mentioning.

    Can you post a short video on YouTube with a link here of the odd walking? Sometimes that can help in diagnosis. I would contact your state poultry vet or lab to check on a necropsy for the future in case you lose one and need to get a diagnosis.

    What vitamin are you using, and does it have riboflavin? That would be helpful, just in case it was a deficiency.

    Could they have gotten into any poisonous plant in their ranging area? Moldy feed or scratch can cause neurological symptoms as well.
     
    4 ever Orpington likes this.
  3. Sarah.Gallitz

    Sarah.Gallitz In the Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2018
    Australia
    Thanks for your reply, they're a bit lethargic in terms of sitting a lot, but overall still alert (looking around while sitting etc). I'll take a video tomorrow when it's light again. We had not been using any vitamins, just the grower crumbles - we did just catch four of the chicks eating the layer pellets though, I'm not sure if this could be harmful to them. We didn't think they could open the big feeder!

    We've fenced off a seperate area for them, and tomorrow I'll go buy some vitamins to add to their water. Hopefully keeping them from the layer pellets and adding vitamins will help?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    The only bad thing about the layer feed is that it has too much calcium for them. Make sure their feed bag is fresh dated, since vitamins can leech out of old feed. But I would start a vitamin in their water to try for a bit. Durvet and Rooster Booster sell vitamin powders for water. Just check label for riboflavin, since NutriDrench has none.
     
  5. Sarah.Gallitz

    Sarah.Gallitz In the Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2018
    Australia
    Update, it got worse and couldn't stand at all this mroning. We did visit the avian vet, who thinks it is likely Mareks but gave her a vitamin shot just in case. We have her in a sick bay and are watching to see if she recovers. Does anyone know how long they take to recover if it's a b2 deficiency?

    Attached picture of her trying to push herself up with a wing while I do food and water changes
    20180407_091357.jpg
     
    4 ever Orpington likes this.
  6. 4 ever Orpington

    4 ever Orpington Mr.& Mrs Orpington

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    Sorry for your troubles. :welcome
     
  7. 4 ever Orpington

    4 ever Orpington Mr.& Mrs Orpington

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    So sad! Hoping she’ll improve.
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    It may take a week or more to correct a vitamin deficiency but to be honest I'm rather sceptical about chicks suffering vitamin deficiency at this age when they are on a proprietary crumble and Marek's can sometimes improve with vitamin supplementation which leads people to believe that it was vitamin deficiency.

    Unfortunately that does look like Marek's Disease to me and they are at a prime age to suffer an outbreak. If she is still eating and drinking she may recover. Good food, vitamin supplementation, sunshine and grass and the company of other chickens have been the things that have helped some of my chickens to fight it. I've had some that took months of supportive care and eventually walkee and free ranged with the flock after being unable to stand like your bird. Some miraculously recover almost overnight and others decline. Once they lose interest in food, I euthanize them but so long as they are bright eyed and eating I give supportive care.
    A chicken sling or hammock might make her more comfortable. They can be made very simply using every day items.....
    sling 2.png Most people make the sling a bit wider and cut a third hole under their vent for poop to drop through or you can leave it with their vent overhanging the fabric. It is a good idea to adjust it so that their feet can just touch the bottom and you can clip little pots to the front of the box so that they can reach food and water. If you do a google search for chicken slings you will come up with images of many other ways of doing it.
    Good luck with your birds. I know how heart breaking this disease can be. The key I have found is supporting their immune and digestive systems (Marek's suppresses the immune system) so vitamin supplementation, sunshine, grass and perhaps probiotics or fermented feed can be beneficial. There is of course no curing it but I've had quite a few birds that have recovered from outbreaks with good quality of life and even lay eggs. Keeping them happy and stress free is very important.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
    Eggcessive likes this.
  9. Sarah.Gallitz

    Sarah.Gallitz In the Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2018
    Australia
    Thank you so much for your advice! They do seem to be recovering, I am surprised to hear that it could still be mareks. Currently all are shaky on their legs, but still walking and free ranging with vitamin supplements. The sickest one has become quite tame and friendly :love. I was hoping to sell the majority of these chicks in about 1 month, if there's a risk it's Mareks I would hate to infect another flock, even if they appear to have recovered.

    What do you think?
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    No, I would not sell or rehome any chickens that could possibly have Mareks. If would you lose one, you can get it tested for Mareks by your state vet with a necropsy. Please let us know how they are doing.
     

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