Chicks leg paralysed

Kirsten Davis

May 25, 2017
Hello I just joined this website, we recently got a shipment of lavender orpingtons on May 1st. They have been vaccinated for Mareks disease. No other signs other then leg paralysis have been happening. This has happened happened again to one other chick but we had to let it go because it was suffering. I dont know if it was a predator because the building that we put them in got locks and covered a lot of the big holes around it and there cage is very secured after the last one died. There has been signs of rats in this building before but the holes in the brooder are only 6 mm squares. The chick can still make it to the food bowl and eats and drinks fine but only moves on 1 leg and drags itself wherever it goes. I hope you guys can help me with this problem


Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Sep 20, 2015
Southern N.C. Mountains
Welcome To BYC

Can you post a video?

It's so hard to know what is going on. Is she pooping - what does it look like?

She may have some type of leg issue like spraddle/splay leg, slipped tendon or something similar.

If the leg is completely paralyzed, the she may have a neurological disorder. Do the best you can to keep her near food and water. Offer her some poultry vitamins in her water.


Love God, Hubby & farm
11 Years
Apr 13, 2008
Bowdon, GA
First I hope that s/he has dysplasia or vitamin deficiencies. There are ways to make a splint for her. As well as insure that she has easy access to food and water. Also, there is a 2015 publication that addresses some issues with the Mareks vaccine. It is unique vaccine as it does not offer full time life time coverage. But it is not clear how often to readminister and there is a wide divergence of opinions on the wisdom of readministration due to the shedding virulence of this med. I came to know more about Mareks when I ordered and received an adult bird who had received Mareks vaccine as a baby chick. I found out while she was in quarantine that indeed she had Mareks. I thought it was impossible but have learned a great deal about the disease and the vaccine as a result of my experience. Luckily she was in quarantine and there was no outbreak of the disease. Now, on to talk about the vaccine itself. The vaccine is not fully effective (covering the baby chick) until the 10th day and if a bird is accidentally missed in vaccination process or if the vaccine is not current enough or mixed corrected, it is possible for the baby to get mareks. Or if in transit, the bird was exposed to a bird with Marek's the baby could have gotten it. During those first 10 days the virus sheds from the babies who got shots and the virus can become very strong and affect older adults even those who were vaccinated as babies. The study goes on to say
"In fact, rather than stop fowl from spreading the virus, the vaccine allows the disease to spread faster and longer than it normally would, a new study finds. The scientists now believe that this vaccine has helped this chicken virus become uniquely virulent. (Note: it only harms fowl). The study was published on Monday in the journal PLOS Biology.This is the first time that this virus-boosting phenomenon, known as the imperfect vaccine hypothesis, has been observed experimentally.The reason this is a problem for Marek’s disease is because the vaccine is “leaky.” A leaky vaccine is one that keeps a microbe from doing serious harm to its host, but doesn’t stop the disease from replicating and spreading to another individual. On the other hand, a “perfect” vaccine is one that sets up lifelong immunity that never wanes and blocks both infection and transmission." (Right now the vaccine is all we have, even with its leaky imperfections. I have seen an adult suffer and die from it. I consulted a vet, and did all he recommended. I thought in fact she was getting better as she tried valiantly but she did not make it through. If you would like a link to my blog about her, I'll be glad to share it.) Hoping your birds health improves. They certainly have a very caring caregiver! Blessings.

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
Fantastic article. Before reading it, I was going to say to OP, that it doesn't sound like her chicks were infected with MD, b/c it usually shows up at a later age. But, after reading this article, it does appear that her chicks were infected by the extremely virulent, imperfect MDV.


12 Years
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
I'm going back to the mention of rats by the OP. I'm wondering if these chicks with leg issues were closely examined for injuries and if they're kept on a wire open mesh floor where rats might be able to nibble on tender chick feet and leg parts.

Kirsten Davis

May 25, 2017
She's fine now, shes doing okay, it turns out it was Splayed leg and she was walking again in 24 hours, we also treated her with vitamins and made a little brace for her to stand up on. Thanks for helping me with my problem and I will stay posted later on.


Folly's place

11 Years
Sep 13, 2011
southern Michigan
Welcome! So glad she's recovering! Some essential vitamins will be los over time in the feed, so always check the mill date on each bag, and feed within six weeks or less of the mill date. Some individuals will need more than normal levels of certain vitamins, (vitamin E) and have neurological problems without extras. Mary

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom