Crookneck, Marek's or Botulism -- please advise!

babsbag

Songster
10 Years
Jan 12, 2010
726
7
159
Anderson, CA
Did your first chicken die at 7 days of age? If so, that is REALLY REALLY young to die from Marek's. Now on the other end of the scale, I lost my first one at 7 months, the next at 10, and the last at 11 months. So, the 5 month cut off is not necessarily the case.

According to this article by Peter Brown you won't see paralysis until around 5 weeks. I just don't see how they could get infected and die in 7 days. This article also talks about vaccinating older birds.

http://www.firststatevetsupply.com/poultry-health/mareks-disease.html

"Approximately five weeks after infection takes place the Mareks Virus has sufficiently infiltrated vital organs and nerves that paralysis soon occurs."

I have a great vet, and when she saw my chicken she thought Marek's, and she was right. But she will also tell you that she doesn't really know much about it. I am not saying that your state vet is wrong or not familar with Marek's but I certainly wouldn't take what he said as gospel. There are many things that change when it comes to disease and not everyone stays on top of it all, they can't. Too many different kinds of animals.

I wouldn't cull until the bird is suffering IMO.

AlsoFYI, I have a hen with the eye form of Marek's and she has not layed in about 6 weeks. I noticed the eye about the same time. I am not saying that it is the Marek's that stopped her, but she was a 5 day a week girl before that. She is only about 1 year old and no sign of molt. No reasons that she should not be laying, but she isn't. But I agree that you can't just say Marek's = no eggs. It would depend on what organ it affects.

Good luck with your birds. I hope it isn't Marek's.
 

MotherJean

Songster
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
774
11
121
San Juan Islands, WA state
No, it wouldn't be helpful to exhume the others. The bodies are far too decomposed. Gertie is your best choice and it's good to get her in for necropsy quickly when/if she dies or you have to cull her. I suggest you get the information on where to get that done in advance. Did the State Vet already tell you that? If it's a weekend, I'm not sure if they'd want you to keep the body cold or freeze her. Maybe ask about that, too. I really hate the idea that she won't make it, but I'm sure you agree, it's better to be prepared for the worst.
 

bantyshanty

Oval Office Courier
10 Years
Oct 6, 2009
568
9
141
S.W Pennsylvania
I've been battling what seems like Marek's with my 6 month old silkie pullet Aspen also. She lost her balance and suddenly came down, lying on her side, and staying there, a month ago. She couldn't walk for several days, and didn't want to eat at first.
She weighed almost nothing, and I talked to my vet hospital about a necropsy. As she's my very favorite pullet, I thought I'd give her intensive care for a few days.
I dropper-fed her Pedialyte, maple syrup w/ milk, eggs, and yoghurt, along with the homeopathic Hypericum Perforatum 3c (St John's Wort --small sugar pills) as suggested by someone else on the forum. Thank you!
Within 3 days, she stood, and whithin a week she walked. I vaccinated all the rest of my flock & new hatchlings .. and will give the older birds a booster at 6 weeks out.
I kept up the Hypericum regimen on Aspen for 2 weeks, along with supplemental scrambled eggs & vitamins, and she ran around & was "good as new". The roo even tread her.
She also chased chicks & bugs for fun. She'd put on a lot of weight.
I then discontinued the medicine, because she fought me off so hard when I tried, and chased me away, nipping me.
After a week off the medicine, she got lethargic again & started losing her balance. She got thin again. Again I isolated her & repeated the medicine & diet procedure.
After 4 days of this, she's scratching happily in the run, and the disease ins in relapse, though I know it may take her in the end.

Don't give up hope if your girl(s) have a will to live at all. they may fight it off, but it could take a long time.
Aspen has had some very happy chicken days in between bouts of not walking.

Good luck with your flock!
 

katecox

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 22, 2010
32
0
22
Quote:Here was the write-up I sent to BYC regarding my first chick death at 7 days. It may not have been Marek's, but since it has now been 3 birds with nervous issues I question if it was all Marek's?

"Purchased our first little flock less than a week ago, all chicks probably in the 7 -10 day age range. All looked healthy and happy for 5 days then on the 5th day in the a.m. our Buff O chick started chirping incessantly. In less then an hour her neck was distorted (craning to the left and upwards), she was traveling in circles, within the next 30 minutes she goes into what appears to be a series of seizures, she starts flipping and rolling over. During this time I have separated her and have tried to give her water -- in the later stages she couldn't swallow it. After her seizures it appeared she was both paralyzed and blind. She lay there for about another 2 hours with a rapid heartbeat until I am guessing she had a heart attack and died. This was so painful to watch, we all felt so helpless despite frantic calls to vets, feed stores, etc... After much time spent online I am guessing either Marek's disease (but it says it appears after 6 weeks of age), or Crazy Chick Disease. Any thoughts from the forum. I am of course wanting to identify so I can understand contamination of the remainder of the flock and can if needed prepare our little girl who is very sad."
 

babsbag

Songster
10 Years
Jan 12, 2010
726
7
159
Anderson, CA
Chickens can also get Equine encephalitis. And while it is not contagious among your birds it is a possibility if you live in the right environment for it, but I don't know how common it is. The symptoms that your first one had just doesn't seem quite right for Marek's and it came on too fast and too severe. IMO. Mind you, I am not a vet, but I do have this disease in my flock and mine have all started out just acting a little depressed and it got worse from there. None of mine have had the classic Marek's leg pose.

Also, all the birds I have lost have been bantie New Hampshires. And from the same clutch of eggs. I have other birds that I got at the same time, from the same breeder, but only the New Hampshires have died.

I am sure hoping that it is not Marek's. Maybe your little one will pull through all of this
 

katecox

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 22, 2010
32
0
22
Today is the first day I have seen any change in Gertie, and unfortunately I don't think it is a good change. The toes on her right foot have started to curl. The foot seems cold and floppy. I still am curious how quickly THough 1956's chicken recovered from the paralysis. I want to remain hopeful. She is still eating and drinking on her own if I place feed and the water in front of her and sort of support her body a bit higher than the feed. The vet told me to discontinue the prednisone and the antibiotics so I have done that in the last day. She is still on Vitamin E, Selenium and Vitamin B complex.

Yesterday it was sunny here so I let her lay in the yard and I think she was the happiest she has been in awhile -- she was able to take a few naps which she never seems to be doing in the brooder.

Now I am beginning to think our Black Australorp with the hurt leg is suffering minor symptoms from this and not from damage to her leg. sigh.
 

katecox

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 22, 2010
32
0
22


Gertie outside in the sunshine -- notice her leg positioning.
 

katecox

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 22, 2010
32
0
22


This image allows you to see the leg positioning a little more clearly.
 

tinahoak

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 22, 2010
83
0
29
Brockport, NY
Man, I am glad I get all my chicks vaccinated.....for the pennies it costs it has been worth it.
I hope your chickens get better.......
 
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