18 wk pullet can't walk (UPDATED)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lindabro, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. lindabro

    lindabro New Egg

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    Dec 13, 2009
    Hi all,
    New to the forum, we have an 18 week old Rhode Island Red pullet who today we found lying in the pen not being able to walk. Her history is she's been vaccinated and wormed before we bought her, she was bought with 3 others from the same breeder (all sisters), however she has always been the runt of the crop. We feed them pullet grower with fresh water every day and they are supplemented with a fair amount of food scraps every day, (bread, lettuce, a few baby tomatoes, apple peel, crushed egg shells etc). They are generally free range during the day or put in a run on the grass and she seemed fine yesterday.

    We stayed at friends overnight last night and left them caged early afternoon with their hen house door open. This morning when we returned home she was laying on the straw of the cage (not the coop) when I went to let them out but she didn't move (no idea if that was from last night or this morning?). She seems to be paralysed in one leg. I've felt it all over and she didn't flinch or complain when I moved it around. It seems like there is no feeling there at all.

    She has always been the runt of the crop and is smaller than the others despite being the same age. She has also for the last two or so weeks had what I thought was a pale comb - was concerned she is getting sick, but today's inability to walk is new. We've isolated her in a dog kennel with a towel, food and water for onight but i'm very concerned as to what to do next?

    I don't mean to be cruel, but our chickens are not "close family pet's" so to speak we bought them for egg laying and I don't really want to spend the $80 the vet has quoted just to see her, but all the same I am a responsible pet owner and want to help her. Any ideas of what to try?

    PS - we're in Australia - its summer here so no frost issues to worry about.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  2. Wolfmeis

    Wolfmeis New Egg

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    Dec 13, 2009
    I am very interested if anyone can make suggestions. I was coming here to post this exact problem. My Ameracauna is 21 weeks and is doing exactly this. We have had a horrible frost recently.
     
  3. lindabro

    lindabro New Egg

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    Dec 13, 2009
    I checked on her this morning and she seems quite alert and lively but still unable to move her leg. She's got the bad leg laying out in front of her??? I shifted her position and she flipped over and again had it out in front of her (maybe its comfortable this way?). I've checked her poos and they seem normal - firm and same colour as the rest of the hens ( ha ha what's normal about checking poo???) I scrambled an egg this morning and mixed it up with some of the pullet grower and a little yoghurt and she ate it in about 10 seconds, so i've left her with fresh water and fresh pullet grower near her. She seems quite ok except for the fact that she can't move her leg?
     
  4. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why is it that the breeds suffering from this the most seem to be araucana or ameracaunas? Weird. We just had to cull our 16-week old araucana for probable Marek's. In her case, she may have actually had wry neck, but I am leaning towards Marek's as she had full left-side paralysis with a very quick onset.

    ~Cherlyn
     
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Quote:With one leg out in front it kinda sounds like Marek's.
     
  6. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:With one leg out in front it kinda sounds like Marek's.

    Thinking the same.

    ~Cherlyn
     
  7. lindabro

    lindabro New Egg

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    Dec 13, 2009
    I checked with the breeder and she absolutely confirmed the vaccinate their birds on day 1 from mareks etc.

    yesterday she was quite sleepy in the afternoon, but eating and drinking. I've given her vitamins and put food in front of her so she can reach it and she is still segregated. This morning she has diarea, i've washed her bum so she's comfortable, but not sure if we should cull her? How long should you see improvement if its just a sore leg etc rather than an illness.

    I don't want her to suffer or prolong a death, but the breeder was adamant that it won't be mareks cos of their vaccination program. BTW - all the other birds are completely healthy and acting normal?

    appreciating the responses thankyou :)
     
  8. cocosandy

    cocosandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I dont know about vaccinations as Ive heard so many different things, but Ive lost a few birds and have 2 young ones in the basment with this exact thing now. Ive got a kid taking the dead one I saved and these two up to the extension vet, but on the phone he said that its mareks. The leg sticking out to the front or back is telltale, but also the increasing paralysis...they are alert part of the time and will eat and drink if you put food right in front of them.
    The question now is if one needs to cull the flock to prevent spread.
    I have 25 new chicks that just came in . I didnt get them vaccinated because I am too afraid of the shedding. I have 2 turkeys and 2 runner ducks as well...
    I dont only keep hatchery chicks, and I do tend to take in adult birds from time to time (I run a meetup and am a local chicken person, so folks in need of help come to me. I also like to shop on eggbid for oddballs)

    There is little hope that the bird will recover. The question is, does this mean that the whole flock has it dormant and that they will drop one at a time?...or is it ok to just cull the symptomatic ones as they come up and go about our business?

    Is it possible for vaccinated birds to come down with mareks? They use turkey mareks for the vaccination and its thought that keeping turkeys extends some resistance to chicken mareks.
    Why do they call it chicken cancer?

    I will report back on necropsy but it can take up to 20 days.

    Melina
     
  9. lindabro

    lindabro New Egg

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    Dec 13, 2009
    OK - i've been reading up on mareks and seen pictures. Its looks classically like when my hen has. So now question is:

    1) The chickens were all bought from the same place at the same time (were supposedly the same age - unable to tell). She has been smaller and less lively for a while now - I've always called her the runt of the crop). The others are fit and healthy, all look fat and active. They were all supposedly vaccinated (but I have read that vaccination often either doesn't take or for health reasons wasn't effective), so do I assume that the others will be ok unless they start exhibiting symptoms - or do I cull the whole flock?

    2) I will be cleaning out the cage thoroughly and disinfecting, removing all debris etc from the cage and coop, but how long till we can introduce new pullets to the flock (we were going to get 2 more bantams pullets after Christmas to add to our flock, but I am very hesitant now).

    3) I guess i should cull her now then to save the prolonged effects

    Thanks all
     
  10. cocosandy

    cocosandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ill be watching for the responses to this because I am in the same spot. The idea is that they all have it even if it doesnt manifest itself...but if I cull my entire flock (some of whom are old and pets and showing no signs) and I get new chicks that are vaccinated, a bird could fly by with it next spring and drop some of the very contagious germs and...pow, Im back to square one. It seems ot me that its so prevalent and that the vaccine is sorta dangerous in that its only for day olds and the babies shed the disease for 10 days so much that you have to change clothes if you are going near any other birds....so your neighbor's chickens will be at risk if you are not totally changing your clothes and shoes every time you go in their place for the first 10 days....that worries me.
    And we know that the vaccine isnt even always effective...
    I can see that this has been in my flock for a long time, and has killed some birds over the years. But it also has not killed birds as well....this is the first time Ive ever had a few die. If they keep dying then I will assume that its a new infection and I will cull the sick birds. But as far as culling all of my birds, I will have ot have a more compelling argument than that getting vaccinated birds is the answer....as evidenced by your bad experience here.
    any advice is necessary. also, how are you gonna go about culling? I may have to put these 2 babies down before I send them to the lab.
    so sorry for your trouble....
    apparently they can recover (Ive had one recover once...) it takes weeks and they are shedding this the whole time.
    let us know what you do.
    Melina
     

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