6 - 7 week old chicken sudenly can't stand


6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
westford, ma
She lays on her side, and has one leg out straight. she was fine a few days ago, but seems like she is turning for the worse. I have her separated in her own box with water and food. she started to eat, but she is very lethargic... any clue? I'll try to get a good picture.
Some more information... It looks like her right leg, the one that she has straight out when lying on her side, is having trouble holding her weight. when we pick her up, she can squat and eat, but if she moves, she falls over on her side. I can't find any broken bones, but right leg is colder than her left leg.

She has been in a coop with 12 other chickens, and all have been active and looking fine.

Any information would be great.
does her leg look paralyzed? do you have a picture? a picture sure would help a lot. with her legs like this do you think it could be Marek's disease? if you would please post a picture of her and maybe we could be of more help. what comes to my mind with the leg position is Mareks disease but I can't see her so its really hard to tell. is she able to walk at all? is the leg that's stuck straight out paralyzed? how is she doing now? has she walked at all? Marek's is a very common highly contagious airborne disease. I believe the stats are more than 60% of unvaccinated birds will acquire Marek's and more than 5% of vaccinated birds will still acquire Marek's. even though they have been vaccinated. this disease is really prolific. but seeing a picture will really help. I'm hoping its not Marek's. I wish I could be of more help. without seeing her its very difficult to guess but I wanted to reply to you and ask if you could post her picture of what she's doing and looks like. is she still the same now? how is her breathing? her poo? is there any other symptoms you can see that might give us a clue to what's happening? how is she now? is she eating? wish I could help more.
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the leg is not paralyzed, and she is still lying on her side. I lift her up and she stands on it, and then slowly squats, until she is on her side. This picture was taken this morning. I lifted her up, and as I moved the bedding, she backed away. It looks like she was using her wings to hold herself steady.

If it is Marek's, are the rest of the flock in danger? I've separated her out last night.

Also, I went into the coop today, and looked at all of the other ones, and they seem ok. I have a small feeder with a roof on it in the coop that they like to jump on, and sometimes poop on. I noticed small drops of blood on the top of that today. I don't know if it was there before I took her out or not, but this has me very concerned, as you can imagine.

Again, the others look good.

could she have hurt her leg somehow? I don't think its Marek's the leg does not look stretched out or paralyzed thank God. have you noticed if there is any swelling in the joint or if her foot is injured? not sure but it looks like she hurt it somehow. hopefully someone else might have some tips or pointers on how to help. other than her leg is she normal?
I looked for swelling, but didn't see any.

I noticed that when we touch one leg, she is fine, and when we touch the other, she pulls back. I'm thinking (praying) she just hurt it. I'm reading more about Maek, and I'm sick to my stomach... I'm think I'm going to bring her to the vet (I know... but this is our first go at this and my daughter and I are so distraught. I need to make sure the rest of the flock is not in danger).

Any other thoughts from the community would be great.
Update and Question...

Being new, and having a vet close by, I took her to the Vet. My poor girl is wasting away (the vet showed me how to check by feeling the breast and leg areas), and she did a coccidiosis stool test.

The good news - they found coccidiosis, but the fact that I'm feeding them medicated crumbles, it is in check, and normal.

The bad news- she most likely has Marek's, but we are not positive, as it presents in many different ways. We are going to watch her, and if she continues to degrade, we will address. Also keeping a close eye on the other chickens.

Questions -
She was one of 9 that came from a breeder, and I don't think they were vaccinated, so...

1- If one has it, will all of them have it, and if they do, will they all come down with this horrific illness?
2- If they do carry the virus, and don't get sick, is it ok to eat the eggs?
3- what can I do to prevent the rest from getting sick?

Signed - Distraught.
I'm so sorry. I thought it might be Marek's but I was hoping not...wasting is a typical sign of Marek's disease too..it would probably benefit you to do some serious internet research on this disease.there are a LOT of people here on this forum who are VERY knowledgeable about this disease and are going through or have went through what you are. hopefully they will chime in here and help. I'm not very knowledgeable however I have done some reading in several different books but my knowledge is very limited. I will answer your questions to the best of my understanding and if I'd made any error someone feel free to correct me. please.I believe its safe to eat the eggs. question ¹ Marek's is such a prolific and highly contagious disease if one of your flock has it; yes I believe you can consider your rest as carriers. meaning they can spread the virus although not displaying symptoms themselves. it does not mean they Will all get ill. it does mean that they are contagious and sloughing disease I believe. there is absolutely nothing you can do unfortunately to prevent exposure because they have ALREADY been exposed. meaning they can and will infect any new poultry conning into your property even if not displaying symptoms.this disease is so wide spread they say up to 50% of unvaccinated poultry will contract it. and over 5% of vaccinated poultry will still contract it. chicks need to be vaccinated at a day old BEFORE exposure. however there are many people learning to live with this disease in the flock.I believe just because the flock is considered carriers does not mean they will all become sick. they can just carry and spread the disease without being symptomatic themselves. some people even breed for resistance. you can look online where people are nursing there Marek's birds and even made little slings to help with there legs.I'm certain others will have some great tips on how to care for your sick bird. this is the extent of my knowledge on mareks. hopefully others can tell you what they do and how to help.I've read there is life with mareks and you can do your best to prolong her life. remember this does not mean all your birds will show symptoms or become ill.I hope I have those facts correct this is how I understand it. perhaps someone with greater knowledge can help more. I've done my best to answer your question but I really suggest you research online to understand the illness better. I really hope I have those facts correct. I looked into my chicken medical book and this was how I understood it. you can do your research and hopefully it will help.I'm really hoping someone who is dealing with this now chimes in to give suggestions on how to care for her from this point on. all though my knowledge is minimal I hope this has helped you in some small way.I sincerely wish you the best. please keep us posted on her health. did the vet do a blood test to confirm the Mareks? what did he suggest? best wishes
Thanks realsis.

No blood test, so we are not positive, but things are looking more and more like it. I'm going to keep her on her own for a bit and see how she does. if she gets worse, then I'll do what's best for her.

Unfortunatly, it's take all of this for me to do my research on this. I'm going to need to keep an eye on the rest of the girls, and hope for the best.

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