20 week pullet suddenly can't lift head? What could it be?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kattitude45, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. kattitude45

    kattitude45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2013
    Central Georgia
    I have a frizzle pullet, she's near POL. I just found her slumped over, unable to lift her head. She's "talking" and can pull her head to the side a little.- She's in the coop with a bantam D'uccle roo and other bantams. My little roo is now limping terribly too. The two tend to fight, is she sick or injured?? She's the largest bird in the coop, far larger than the little roo...She can stand and wobble around, just not lift her head.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi

    I hope I'm wrong but it could be Mareks Disease.

    I've got 3 youngsters all suddenly became quite badly lame and one developed a kind of twisted neck as well. Sadly I had to put the one with the neck problem out of her misery and found that she had a huge tumour when I did a post mortem. One of the other lame ones is no better, no worse after about 8 weeks and I've started her on turmeric and black pepper as an experiment (as turmeric has good results on horse sarcoids, which are tumours). The other one's lameness seems to be improving on it's own.

    Apparently the virus that causes Marek's disease is pretty much everywhere, so if they haven't been vaccinated at hatch then they will be susceptible.

    Of course it could be injuries if they are prone to fighting.... unusual for a pullet and roo to fight.... are you sure the frizzle is a pullet?

    When my first one went lame I assumed she had got injured coming down off the roost which is quite high. Even with the second one, I assumed the same thing. It wasn't until the third one, which sadly deteriorated rapidly and had to be put down and I did the post mortem that I had to face up to it being Mareks. Now I'm certain of the diagnosis and learning lots and trying to help the chickens I have that are showing signs of it and feel that perhaps it is not so bad as I initially feared. I have nearly 50 chickens of varying ages but mostly young and not vaccinated. They have obviously all been exposed to the virus by now and so far I've had 1 death, 1 holding her own and one appears to be improving.

    Just want you to know that even if it is Marek's it is not necessarily a death sentence.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    It sounds like she has been injured which may have caused wry neck or torticolis. Could you post a picture or two? Do they have plenty of room in the coop, and are they let outside in the daytime to free range? I would start them on poultry vitamins to help with wry neck, and give some scrambled egg daily for selenium. I would probably cage her inside the coop with food and water so that she isn't hurt more. Is the rooster holding up his leg or dragging it? Does one of his legs seem paralyzed? Mareks disease should be mentioned here even if not that common, but can cause wry neck and lameness. I would do some reading about it if they weren't vaccinated, just in case, although it sounds more like an injury. Here is a link about Mareks and one on wry neck:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://oureggbasket.blogspot.com/2013/04/wry-neck-or-crook-neck-understanding-it.html
     
  4. kattitude45

    kattitude45 Out Of The Brooder

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    I thought it looked like wry neck, but I did not think adult chickens got it... I'm loading a pic now.
     
  5. kattitude45

    kattitude45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Central Georgia


    here is a video of her
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    It looks more like limberneck than wry neck. Both are neurological symptoms. Limberneck is a term that is sometimes used with botulism and Mareks disease, and some people use it to describe wry neck. In botulism, a chicken may have eaten a toxin found in dead animals or vegetation that has been without air, and the symptoms are paralysis of the legs progressing to wings, and then to the neck and eyelids. Death may occur in 12-24 hours, but if birds survive 48 hours, they will probably live with supportive care. In Mareks which can have such varying symptoms in each case, the neck can become paralyzed. A leg or wing may also become paralyzed. I feel so bad for your little chicken, not knowing what she has. I would try to offer her electrolytes and vitamins in her water, and try to get her to drink by dipping her beak or carefully dropper feeding her a couple of drops at a time. Offer some egg and feed mixed with water to make it easier to eat. Here are some links to read:
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/19/botulism
    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. kattitude45

    kattitude45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2013
    Central Georgia
    thank you... Wow I am so WORRIED now, I do NOT want Marek's with my other birds!!
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Don't panic yet over it being Mareks, just try to help her, and watch her symptoms. We tend to think of Mareks first as a worst case scenario, but poisoning, botulism, even mold from feed, an infectious disease other than Mareks, or injury could be the cause of her illness. Search for the Mareks Faq, a great article on Mareks by Nambroth. It has a large section on things that can look like Mareks, and gives a lot of info.
     
  9. kattitude45

    kattitude45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Central Georgia
    So we culled the little hen. I am taking her to the state lab tomorrow. I have my little bantam roo still having leg problems. She would not eat of drink. I was trying to give her droppers of water. I tried holding the water right in her beak as well. My roo is hopping on one leg. I do not know if hes injured or if it's marek's. I also had a hen with weight loss die last week. I had her isolated giving her water and home made meals trying to get her to gain strength and it did not work. I really thought her problem was random until these other two cases. I will let the little roo stay in isolation until I get test back or he gets worse. I am very upset about all this. I've had chickens 2 years and never had any issues other than lice and one reproductive issue... this stinks!
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss. Do your chickens get out of the coop and run to free range? I had mentioned the possibility of botulism earlier, but it will be good to get a necropsy. Ask for Mareks testing to they will be sure to get positive or negative results, rather than a possible cause. Here are 3 good links to read about Mareks if you haven't seen these:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/#/disease/Marek's_Disease
     

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