For the Mareks Experts

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NWChicks, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. NWChicks

    NWChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2010
    Granite Falls, WA
    History:

    I had several chicks that I got when they ranged in age from 1 day to 1 week old. These chicks were all acquired within days of each other but kept separate until they were a little bit older (around 10-12 weeks I think). Around this time I was given a hen and a rooster and due to newbie foolishness I put them in with my girls. The hen died but the rooster appeared to recover and blended in just fine. Because the person who gave me the initial birds felt badly about the hens death she gave me another couple of birds that at least this time I was wise enough to not put in with the others. They stayed in a screened gazebo/tent thing in a chick n' hutch until they too died. They began exhibiting typical Mareks symptoms before their deaths so I was suspicious that that's what they had. (The hen that died had exhibited what I thought was cocci symptoms and died from not eating and diarrhea.)

    In the meantime, a friend of mine was also given birds by the same person and she had several die too. She had one of hers tested by the AG dept and it came back negative for Avian Influenza and Newcastles and while they didn't officially test for Mareks the Vet she spoke with was pretty certain that's what it was.

    So after the other birds died we ordered and administered Mareks vaccines for all our remaining birds (my original flock plus the rooster). Everyone was doing fine after being vaccinated but about two weeks after that we had a really hot (for us) spell. My birds were all super hot (we went from 60 as our high to 100 practically overnight). One was panting so hard her tongue was blue! I cooled her down and she's fine now but the rooster was exceedingly hot too. He was a very large BLRW and after a couple of days of high heat we found him dead in the run. I had noticed earlier he wasn't looking too good but had done everything I could think of to keep them cool (lots of fresh, cool water, frozen milk jugs, shade cloth, frozen treats, etc) I am not sure if he died of Mareks or heat.

    Current situation:

    So now it's been a few weeks since he died (I had him for about 3 months total and he recovered from the first sickness within a week). I have eleven girls, ten of which are just coming into lay. The two birds I am concerned about are among my oldest pullets (about 24 weeks). I have two buff orpingtons, one laying, one not. And I have two New Hampshire Reds; one laying, one not. The non layers are my concern as they are both very thin compared to the other birds. Compared to the other of their type neither of them have very developed combs or wattles and are a very light pink. I wouldn't be worried if it were just that they weren't laying yet but the thinness has me concerned. They eat fine, drink fine, are active and are doing like chickens do. They're just skinny and pale and nowhere near laying. Could they be affected by Mareks? Any thoughts on what to do? I've given them both a little extra protein and I know for sure they're eating since I've separated them each for a time to observe them. Oh and poops look normal, no paralysis at this time, no twisting neck, eyes are normal; no grayness or strange shapes. No swelling, coughing, sneezing, feather loss, mites or any other creepy crawly things that I can see. They've been wormed and I've seen no evidence of worms in their poo and no leg mites. They have a coop and enclosed run but just yesterday we finished one of our two chicken tractors so they can take some day trips.

    Thanks for any input. I'm just not sure what to do, if anything! My current plan is to keep an eye on them and if they develop any symptoms we'll take it from there, they're just so skinny! We're talking there is no meat on either side of the keel bone and they're super light! The red is still ornery though!

    edited because I can't type!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  2. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    I'm no expert, but let's see if we can get some answers here.

    The thin hens in question....they were vaccinated against Marek's the same time as the rest of the flock?
    You currently have them isolated/quarantined from the rest of the flock??
    After the first deaths when Marek's was the presumed diagnosis....was the coop/living area & everything chicken related completely cleaned and sanitized?
    Have you noticed if these hens are being bullied...IE low hen on the totem pole? Could they not be getting their share of dinner?
     
  3. NWChicks

    NWChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2010
    Granite Falls, WA
    Quote:They were vaccinated at the same time.

    I don't have the separated at the moment as I just realized how skinny they really are (the red especially).

    Their area was cleaned and sanitized with oxine even though the birds who most likely had Mareks were never in with them. Their area was sanitized as well and I didn't take down the gazebo thing until the two weeks had passed after vaccinating.

    They're definitely not bullied and are closer to the top of the pecking order. They're all pretty feisty and don't act ill. The skinniness and pale coloring is what my concern is over. I checked out the red yesterday and her crop was quite full so I know she's eating. Her crop appears to be emptying too so it doesn't look like anything is stuck.
     
  4. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    If there are no signs of illness other than just being thin...they may be going through a growth spurt ...or perhaps a hormone imbalance being they are just at laying age.

    Have they been wormed?? Internal parasites will cause weight loss & sometimes no other symptoms.

    If they seem fine other than just underweight....keep an eye on them & a diet change may be in order.

    Carbs and protein are what's needed for weight gain You can suppliment their feed with a high protein growth ration. These feeds have more protein and fat than layer ration. Do not switch laying hens completely away from layer ration, unless you are also providing oyster shell supplement for calcium.

    Scratch and cracked corn are also a good supplement. These are cheap, and provide a big caloric punch.

    Unless anyone else chimes in, that's all I've got...hope it helps! Good luck!
     
  5. NWChicks

    NWChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2010
    Granite Falls, WA
    Thank you! I mill my own flour so I have a grain mill and mine will do coarsely cracked grains. I think I'll mix up a blend of some of my grains for them. They love it immensely but it's like crack to them so I don't give it all the time. I'm thinking these two may get some special alone time with the crack, er scratch bucket! I appreciate the input. I guess we'll just see what they do!
     
  6. aveca

    aveca Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2009
    Waverly, NY
    perolane is right supplement with higher protien feeds ior a supplement..some birds are just as bundle of energy and move around somuch they burn every calorie off..Worm them also..there are good products like wazine 17 and others ,oldtimers used tobbaco leaves and or hot peppers in feed to keep worms at bay..

    There are so many chicken diseases out there that one can mimic another .newcastles sometimes symptoms look like mereks disease.
    Prevention is the best bet..like vaccines..some breeds are affected by mereks and the whole flock can be wiped out, like domoniques, others like leghorn and medeteranian birds have a natural immnity or B factor in thier blood.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010

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