Cornish X cockrls 5-6 wk small % stop walk, starve slowly...

Linda Swihart

9 Years
Jun 24, 2010
My question is
"Can I reverse this problem and if not can we eat these birds that I have to kill?"
They're getting close to 4 lbs.

1) What type of bird , age and weight.
CxR cockerels (168 originally) on pasture with 25 NH Reds same shipment since 23 days old on May 5

I had them Marek's vaccinated. Reason: didn't know better. It has been suggested that this problem could be Mareks paralysis caused by the vaccine.

They are getting organic feed formulated by a local organic producer (1000 ann.), and on which his CxR birds (from the same hatchery) thrive with almost no leg problems.

2) What is the behavior, exactly.
Five birds in the past 8 days have stopped walking, not spraddled, toes not curled. Put in box in garage, warmer, protected, small dish food and water, and they eat and drink for a day and never get up. They seem to stop eliminating (less or no poop; I am changing paper towels every several hour and moving bird) but no "clog" or distended vent apparent. They seem to slowly become paralyzed, or just very still and lethargic, wasting, not eating, not drinking.

3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
I have put them in the cone after 48 - 60 hours of keeping in garage and hoping they'll get better, watching them get worse.

4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
Seems like one every two or three days starting eight days ago about when they turned five weeks. Right now I have two going downhill.

5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
The Mareks is the creepy suggestion so far, that live vaccine has caused birds to become ill. Also suggested Ca deficiency, have added some oyster shell to the diet.

7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
See above 1 and 2

8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
More white and runny than the tan pudding that the healthy and active ones porduce, and then as they stop eating and drinking there is less. Of course.

9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
Isolated, "infirmary" attention, little bowl of food, little bowl of water, more warm and dry. Oyster shell added to diet.

10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
No vet. I mainly want to know what this is, if it has a cure that I can effect, and if not, have some idea of if they are safe to cook and eat or freeze.

11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
Not right now, chicken looks pretty normal except can't walk.

12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
On long grass in yard, surrounded by well maintained and very hot electric poultry fence (300 ft) and a 12 x 13 foot "hoopie" into which they are closed every night. On grass. Rather wet here not but this started before the worst of the wet set in. Another very experienced local producer of paastured CxR says that this kind of cool and wet is hard on pastured CxR but she could not come up with much more than "possible calcium deficiency" when we spent some time on the phone discussing it.

Thank you if you have any suggestions.

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