Does my rooster have a head injury, Marek's, or something else?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Ederle, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Ederle

    Ederle Chirping

    42
    59
    69
    Jun 22, 2017
    My 1 year old rooster got in a fight almost two weeks ago. The fight didn't last long and I quickly separated him from the other rooster. He had a bit of blood on his comb, but nothing much. For the rest of the day he seemed depressed, listless. I figured it was because he had lost the fight, and his ego was bruised. But then he started stumbling when walking, falling over, and struggling to peck the ground without losing his balance.

    He keeps sitting with his legs flat on the ground and his tail down (hard to describe, it's like he's sitting on his haunches). He still has an appetite for bread but no longer wants to eat pellets, and he's losing weight.

    I've looked up his symptoms and keep reading the same thing: Marek's disease. Obviously that is a terrifying diagnosis...I suppose separating him from the other chickens would be futile if he truly is suffering from Marek's disease, surely they've already been exposed. I gave him a mix of different vitamins and probiotics, and nothing is helping. He seems depressed, and he can stand, but not without stumbling about and eventually falling. I'll probably end up putting him down anyway, but I really want to know what is wrong with him. What is causing his symptoms? Could it be related to the fight, or is it almost certainly Marek's like everyone says? God, thinking that my other chickens might catch such a horrendous disease is utterly terrifying...
     
  2. FarmerGirl101

    FarmerGirl101 Songster

    1,067
    1,842
    232
    Jun 20, 2016
    California
    I have seen that Mareks can cause them not to be able to walk but this is at an untimely situation. I think that is would be best if @Eggcessive @KikisFlock @casportpony help with this
     
    ChickNanny13 and Kessel23 like this.
  3. Kessel23

    Kessel23 Free Ranging

    1,746
    11,466
    642
    Feb 6, 2018
    Wisconsin
    If he has Marek's disease then you should assume that the other birds have it. Who knows how long he has had it, it can take years for any symptoms to appear and during the whole time the infected bird will be actively spreading the disease. I had a hen over 1 year old die from marek's once she started to molt, other members told me that something as stressful as a molt can bring out the symptoms of Marek's in a bird that has been carrying it. I have had plenty of birds die from the disease this year so if you want to post a video of him I can tell you if it looks similar to what I have seen in my birds. The not eating thing seems odd for a bird infected with Marek's though, once my birds lost the ability to freely walk they became extremely hungry and would eat like crazy if I put them by anything edible. I have noticed that some of the younger birds bounce back like what I have read. But the ones that do bounce back usually do it a few weeks after showing symptoms and none of mine that have bounced back ever fully lost the ability to walk. I kept a cockerel alive for over 4 months without him being able to walk, I was hoping he would bounce back like the birds did in the articles that I have read before but I eventually came to the conclusion that that was not going to happen.

    There are multiple strains of Marek's, I'm not sure which one my flock has but I have been observing its effect on them for a while. I have had quite a few die from the disease, I want to say around 20 because I remember doing a flock count mid summer and I had 80 birds and then a flock count at the end of the fall with 56 birds, I do recall 1 or 2 predator attacks during the summer though so some deaths were from that. All of the birds that died were under 6 months besides the older hen who was molting. I had 3 birds "bounce back" that have not showed any of the symptoms again yet. Also, this is the experience of one person, others will have different experiences but I personally do not think it is Marek's just because of the not eating thing which I would consider unusual for a bird suffering from the symptoms of Marek's. Usually Marek's birds don't choose not to eat, the are unable to move around to eat.
     
    FarmerGirl101 likes this.
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender

    30,459
    36,856
    1,102
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Many times it's other birds that will show you any unwell acting birds because they sometimes get attacked by others. It could be what started the fight.

    I have Mareks in my flock. I occasionally get a symptomatic younger one. They will continue to worsen. With an injury generally birds will slowly improve with time and rest.

    Mareks symptomatic birds will also be shedding the virus, so I give mine a week or two before deciding their fate. If they continue to worsen unfortunately they have to go for the betterment of the flock.
     
  5. Ederle

    Ederle Chirping

    42
    59
    69
    Jun 22, 2017
    Well, this isn't raising my spirits. I'm trying so hard not to cry right now...Is this it? These chickens are my pets, I love them all so much. I can handle losing just one, but I can't cope with losing the rest of them...My whole flock...
     
  6. Kessel23

    Kessel23 Free Ranging

    1,746
    11,466
    642
    Feb 6, 2018
    Wisconsin
    Marek's disease will not kill a whole flock, especially not adult birds, they rarely die from it's symptoms.
     
  7. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

    19,161
    19,556
    962
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Can you post some photos or upload a video of him to youtube, the provide us a link.

    I'm sorry to hear about your rooster, I'm sure it's very upsetting:hugs

    You mention that you have given him a mix of different vitamins - what exactly have you been giving him - got a photo of the product(s)?
    You have not separated him - is he able to get up, get to food/water and eat/drink on his own?
    How badly was he injured during the fight with the other rooster?
    Have you checked to make sure his crop is empty in the mornings?
     
    Eggcessive and ChickNanny13 like this.
  8. Ederle

    Ederle Chirping

    42
    59
    69
    Jun 22, 2017
    I can't upload a photo right now, but I've been giving him b12 seaweed-based capsules and B-complex ones as well. They are the only ones that I have. He can get to food and water on his own, but I have to raise the food and water up because it's difficult for him to bend down. His crop has been emptying.

    The fight with the other rooster started when I let all of the roosters out to free range together for the first time in weeks. I've let them out together many times before without problems. When I let them out together, my two eldest roosters started sparring and my other smaller roosters were getting in the middle of it trying to break up the fight. Kalliope, the one who now has balance problems, was one of the ones trying to break up the others, and for some reason he then started fighting with a different rooster who had just been standing around watching (I have nine roosters).

    They were literally all fighting. I didn't think that Kalliope could've been badly injured, it seemed he only had a few scratches on his comb. But as soon as we broke him and the other rooster up, he ran away and hid for a little while, refusing to go back to the coop even when the other roosters were caged up. And he continued on with that depressed attitude for the rest of the day, and the next day. It may not even be a balance thing at all, it sort of seems like he's just getting weaker. It reminds me of chicks that I hatched that had just failed to thrive.
     
  9. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

    19,161
    19,556
    962
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I see, but it's been 2 weeks since the fight correct? He's not getting better.
    While it could be related injury, by 2wks I would expect to see improvement. Possibly he was injured and the stress from the fight/injury caused him to become symptomatic from an underlying disease like Marek's.

    It's really hard to know sometimes the cause of something like this. If you have vet care, that is best.
    All I can think for you to do is separate him to his own cage with food/water. Continue with the vitamins. You really need to monitor whether he's eating well - feel his crop at night to make sure he's filling up before going to sleep at night.

    If you happen to lose him, then sending the body for testing will give you some answers.
    You can find your state lab here http://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
     
    oldhenlikesdogs likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: