Another limping chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Doddeldoo, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Doddeldoo

    Doddeldoo In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2007
    Oak View Ca.
    I noticed one of my Jersey giants limping about a week ago. I thought she was the one who got her toe stuck in the gate and kept my eye on her. I checked her leg and toes and did not see any damage.
    Some days she seemed worse than others. Last night her leg is totally dead. She barely moves. This morining she seemed to be doing better, but then I noticed that it was the other Jersey giant limping and all the time I thought it was one.
    Whats going on? I know they both were not injured. Same breed same thing with the leg.
    One just started before the other so it is progressing. I have read this is the first symptoms of of Marek's Disease. Will my entire flock die!
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  2. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    How old are your hens? Mareks usually strikes birds under a year old. Most older birds are immune.

    If it is Mareks that is causing the limping then you will see progressive paralysis of the legs until the chicken is unable to walk. Also note that many times, birds with Mareks just drop dead without showing any signs of paralysis or other symptoms so owners arent even aware that they have Mareks in the flock. Mareks is everywhere and most flocks have been exposed to it. Many birds are resistant to Mareks or will have a mild, symptom free infection and recover. You should not lose your entire flock or anything near it unless they have one of the extremely aggressive strains. The worst loses that Ive known of in a back yard flock was 30% of the juveniles in a small flock. More likely, you will lose an occasional juvenile or young adult bird to it.
    If you purchase new chicks from a hatchery you can have them vaccinated. If you hatch at home you can vaccinate (the first day only), but vaccinating is not practical if you only hatch a few chicks at a time. Mareks is very common and is carried on the wind with feather dander so it is difficult to avoid.

    Hopefully, your hens are just having a clumsy week rather than being seriously ill.

    If you want to know for sure, send one for a necropsy. You can get them free through some state supported facilities or Universitly extension/ag offices. Check with your state vet. Here is a website with a link to the state vets, etc., of other states:

    In CA, necropsy on farm animals is done free of charge thru UC Davis or one of its satellite labs.

  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    staph can get into the bones following an injury and this may have been what has happened in your case.

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