Cull or keep trying?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by StPaulieGirls, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. Cull them both sooner rather than later

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  2. Keep them isolated for another couple weeks (which means extra chores)

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  3. Try to give them away to someone who has no other birds

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  4. Go ahead and keep them in the spare coop in the same yard as current flock and see what happens. It

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  5. Eat their eggs - probably okay

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  6. Don't eat their eggs until the limp is resolved - maybe not okay

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. StPaulieGirls

    StPaulieGirls Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 14, 2007
    Oakland, CA
    Hello from Oakland, Chicken Keepers,

    Here's the story: Two sad, sad hens appeared on our city block about four weeks ago. They were underweight and in full molt (their first, I think). We've isolated and fed them well and got them looking perky. They even started to lay daily. Then, last week, one of them developed flaccid paralysis of her right foot and started limping. (This on a day when our handyman was here and I think he did some shoving of stuff around the garage and may have spooked the hen resulting in injury? I just don't know).

    I dosed her with activated charcoal and Vitamin B2 in case it was botulism. She's still alive and has shown no other signs since then. The limp is improving some, though her foot still doesn't have appropriate tone.

    We have a flock of our own 7 birds, which is why the neighbors came to us to manage the strays, and we just got a nice new coop for them which cost us some money. I'm pretty sure all of our hens were vaccinated against Marek's as chicks and they're all in good health now.

    Right now the stray hens are in a dog kennel in the garage. I'm tempted to move them out to our old (spare) coop, one of those Costco numbers with an addition on it (ok for 2 birds) because it's very inconvenient to keep them in the garage, but it's rainy enough that they can't be outdoors in just dog crates. Our yard is not large and it's hard to properly quarantine, impossible if it is Marek's. We've been somewhat careful, in that we're not handling the birds across the quarantine, but we're not, like, bleaching our boots and gloves or anything.

    Something has to give, because I'm just overwhelmed by the situation and the not knowing how to proceed. I know that if it's Marek's, it's insanely contagious and we'll probably contaminate the whole property and won't be able to keep chickens anymore. If it was botulism, she'll be gimpy and might get picked on, but she could be integrated into our flock. If it was an injury, it'd be a shame to cull her or to go to extreme measures to quarantine her in the garage forever, because she'll probably live a long life.

    Wishing I didn't have such a soft heart and hadn't taken these birds in, in the first place.

    Here are my three questions:

    1. How would you proceed? Would you just cull these two stray and be done with it? What if we can't ever be confident enough to integrate them into our flock? I don't want one-and-a-half coops of chickens, you know?
    2. Those of you who have dealt with Marek's, what was the timeline of the progression? Days, weeks within a bird? Until it appeared in other birds? Did you ever get new birds and did they get exposed from your coop/property?
    3. Would you eat the eggs of birds who might or might not have Marek's or have had botulism? (Erm, we are...)

    Thanks for any advice.

    Kerri, at the Home for Wayward Hens
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    That is a tough dilemma. I really doubt that the one had botulism, but Mareks can cause paralysis in one leg. Just the foot and not the whole leg? Botulism causes progressive flaccid paralysis of both feet, legs, then wings, and neck rather quickly causing death within a day. I would say it is an injury, but can't be positive. Mareks is really only diagnosed by removing feathers or examining tumors by a lab that does Mareks testing. If you could locate another temporary home for the two where they have no chickens, you could see if they develop any further symptoms. Then after a period of rime, you might then integrate them into your vaccinated flock.
    1 person likes this.

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