Deafness & deformed feet.. bad breeder?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chook28, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. chook28

    chook28 New Egg

    Jan 16, 2017
    Perth, Western Australia
    Hi All

    It is so interesting reading about all of your chickens.
    I am new to BYC as I've recently acquired some bantam silkie chicks and I've never had chickens before. I feel like a new mum doing so much research!! I live in Perth, Australia to give an idea of my location.

    I have just come to the conclusion that one of my chooks might be deaf. Choco is about 7-8 weeks old. She doesn't make noises like the others and she doesn't follow them much either. When the others squeak, she barely makes a sound. She's also a lot more complacent when I pick her up and hardly makes a peep, whereas the others like it to be known that they are annoyed with me lol.

    I am also feeling as though the breeder is a bad breeder as they don't vaccinate them for Mareks like the other breeders do. I've already had one chick die (about 4 weeks old), despite all the love and care I've given them. I don't know what from. (it was a bit weak when I got it and it was found dead in the cage one morning last week) I have also noticed that Ms Henrietta (the bossiest one) only has 4 toes on each foot instead of 5 (as silkies are supposed to have 5). On one foot, she has a very very tiny fifth toe.
    Then I have Dorris, who has all 5 toes but one toe on each foot is deformed and bending inwards (looks like a genetic defect).

    So basically, I had 1 chook die on me, one that is deaf, two with deformed feet and hopefully, one normal chick (called Mary).

    My conclusion is that the breeder is interbreeding these chickens but thats just my opinion based on what I'm seeing.
    I love my chooks but now I am worried about them and what illnesses they may have. Is the Mareks vaccination even effective? I've heard that it's only effective when you vaccinate the day the hatch.

    So far this week, I have dewormed them and also given them poultry electrolyte solution because of the hot days.
    In the first few days I got her, the "deaf" chick's poo had red blood clots in it (I've just spotted another thread with the same issue) and she also has a stye on her eye lid, which Henrietta kindly pecked off for her. Is she vitamin deficient?? She seems way to complacent for it to be normal.

    apologies for all the info

    What are all your thoughts??
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First welcome to the forum. And thanks for putting your location in your profile. It doesn’t really help with these questions but it will for many others.

    All breeders inbreed to a certain extent, often quite a bit. That’s how you develop and maintain the traits of the breed. But you don’t want to lose too much genetic diversity, that can lead to problems. There are certain techniques like spiral breeding or pen breeding to accomplish that, which you use depends on your goals and circumstances.

    Inbreeding has another benefit, it can help you find and eliminate certain genetic defects or traits you do not want. A good breeder keeps good records of who are the mother and father so if problems show up they know not to breed those specific chickens again. That’s how they keep the traits they want in their flock and eliminate the traits they do not want.

    To me it sounds like that person isn’t much of a breeder. They probably got some chickens and started selling chicks with no regard to genetic issues. I doubt they even know which chickens were the parents of the deformed chicks.

    Whether inbred or not, some chicks are just born with a problem. For some reason a birth defect does not allow them to develop normally. Again that is information a good breeder would use to determine which of their birds are not allowed to breed, but that can happen to the best of them. A chick either fails to thrive or may suddenly die for no apparent reason. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.

    Not only do you need to vaccinate for Marek’s at hatch, you need to keep those chicks away from any adults for a couple of weeks so that vaccine can take effect. Exposure to Marek’s right when you vaccinate negates the vaccines effects. I don’t vaccinate mine, either the ones I hatch or the ones I get from a hatchery, but I don’t have Marek’s in my flock.

    That does not sound like Marek’s. Four weeks isn’t generally old enough for the chick to show problems form Marek’s. Marek’s causes lesions to grow in various parts of the body, sort of like cancer. These lesions may cripple the bird so it can’t eat or drink and starves to death. They may grow on internal organs and cause death that way. That vaccine does not actually stop Marek’s, it stops the lesions from growing.

    It’s very possible your chicks will be fine as pets or for eggs, deformities and all. Only time will tell. But I would not use them in a breeding program and I would not get any more chicks from that source.
  3. chook28

    chook28 New Egg

    Jan 16, 2017
    Perth, Western Australia
    Thank you very much for your response and all the advice you have provided.
    I definitely won't be breeding with them and I won't be getting any more chicks from that breeder either. They are a stock feeds company but they sell chickens and ducks, which they obviously breed. I don't believe they are a proper breeder, given the fact that I know for sure that they are not sure of the exact parents of their chicks.

    I've also come to the conclusion that my partridge silkie is absolutely, definitely deaf! If you clap your hands or click or make sounds she doesn't flinch, whereas the others do. I'm concerned about allowing her to free range when she is older, so I will probably do supervised free ranging.

    Thanks again for your knowledge

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