Another concerned chicken lover whose Silkie may have Marek's

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TNChick2, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. TNChick2

    TNChick2 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2011
    I have a Silkie hen named Wynter who at 5 weeks of age began displaying the classic symptoms of Marek's - splayed legs, droopy wings, and lying upside down more often than right side up. I separated her from her 5 Silkie flockmates and 7 Golden Sex Links who were all the same age. She was paralyzed for about 2 months and then made a miraculous recovery. She was able to run around with the other chickens, pecking and scratching, although she was never able to master the art of roosting.

    She suddenly went downhill in the span of about a week as her legs began to fail her once again. Her "recovery" had lasted a mere two months. She was placed back inside except for nice days when I would take her outside and hold her up so she could eat grass and commune with her flockmates (which she thoroughly enjoyed, chirping and singing her happiness). I devised a sling with litter underneath to catch her droppings and two leg holes for her feet to at least be partially weight-bearing and there she has been ever since. At night she sleeps in a laundry basket lined with blankets and during the day, she "hangs out" looking out a big window and alerting me to hawks flying past! At about 9 months of age, she began laying eggs. She is now approaching one year of age. The other chickens have gone on about their lives, hatching chicks, interacting with Wynter when I had time to take her outside - which hasn't been as much since temps are below freezing here and she gets very cold since she can't move.

    My husband and I are kinda iffy about eating her eggs. I know it's not communicable to humans, but I haven't seen any other threads where the chicken is still paralyzed and laying eggs. Most of what I have read is that IF they recover, they usually die from tumors and don't live long enough to lay eggs WHILE paralyzed.

    I'm not keen on digesting a mutant virus that causes paralysis and I won't feed them to the other chickens for the same reason. Logic tells me it's not transmitted that way, but I can't get past that thought. So I have been scrambling the eggs, with the crushed egg shell, and feeding them back to Wynter. Also, I keep hoping, maybe it's NOT Marek's. It's been a year and no one else has shown any symptoms or died suddenly.

    Any thoughts? (other than that I am crazy; I have been told that already).

  2. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2013
    Quote: I dunno, I don't think it's Marek's if she recovered like that.

    Could she have a brain tumor? It sounds neurological, the paralysis.. Can she move her eyes, does she make sounds? How paralyzed is she? Honestly, I think dispatching her humanely would be the best thing to do for her... That is no way for a chicken to live. [​IMG]

    Silkies are known for sometimes having vaulted skulls, which is a bump you can feel on top of her head. The brain matter can go into this bump and cause neurological damage, it can manifest differently (eg wry neck/tail) or cause death. It is somewhat amazing that she is alive if so..
  3. TNChick2

    TNChick2 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2011
    Geez Farmer Viola! I appreciate your response but I cannot humanely dispatch Wynter. It would be different if she was in pain but she is a seemingly happy little chicken. She only squawks if she is out of food or our cat walks too close. She is very alert and has in fact clued me in to hawks outside before my other chickens even noticed thereby potentially saving their lives! She talks to all of us when we are holding her, in the same manner she talks to the other chickens when I put her with them. She watches us, the cats, and greets the other chickens and announces her egg laying just like the other hens. As for how paralyzed she is, well, she can stand if I help balance her, but I have to place her feet or they curl under. She tends to be weaker on the left than the right and can stand with assistance. As I said, this has been going on a LONG time. It started when she was 5 wks and she is almost a year now. I kept thinking she would get better or die.....My husband and I keep holding on to the hope that she recovered once, maybe she will again. I understand why you would feel it is no life for a chicken, heck it isn't gravy for me - but, I can't dispatch her when she greets us, she eats, drinks, and lays eggs. Yes, it is a commitment, and I have no vet in the area who will even talk to me about chickens, so, we carry on. We just don't eat her eggs!
  4. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2013
    Just keep doing what you have been doing for her. I am sure she is content and happy,lots of people have house chickens,including me.

    No,you are not crazy as i would do exactly the same thing if it were one of my girls/boys.[​IMG] Give that little girl a hug.

    Who says this is no life for her,it is her life and she seems to be dealing with it just fine,her humans have now become her flock mates! Handicap or disease is not always a death sentence.
    1 person likes this.
  5. TNChick2

    TNChick2 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2011
    Thank you for your kind words! I appreciate any advice given in the spirit of loving care of our animal friends. It is a challenge trying to navigate care-giving sometimes but she is so worth it. Our Wynter is so sweet, everybody that meets her is taken by her charm and beauty :) I take her in Tractor Supply and customers and staff alike "flock" to her. She is a joy and I really like your comment that we are now her flock mates!

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