Hello.....new to chickens

shamforge

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 23, 2014
20
0
22
Hello,

My husband and I are new to having chickens as pets, and am hoping for some direction. We were so excited...built the most amazing coop, decorated it and everything! I would live it it...LOL We got four a little less than 2 months ago. They had never been out on their own, but were ready. We took them home, and all seemed well until one morning, my husband found one dead in the coop. No symptoms. The same week, our Red began gasping and breathing thru her mouth. We keep everything immaculate, and they do not free range. They have their coop and their run. They were vaccinated when we bought them. We immediately began treating all birds with an antibiotic, which did not help the sick bird. After reading several articles, and reading countless ino on this site, we tried garlic which seemed to help, but only for a bit. I came home to find her on her back. A few days later she began stumbling and falling, then just plain couldn't get up. Her legs have not functioned since early last week. her toes on one leg have curled. Honestly, it looks as though she may never walk again. She eats very well, and drinks. I have been giving her yogurt, and vitamins and electrolytes in her water. She seems content, but I'm afraid she just isn't going to get better. This is day 4 of the vitamins and electrolytes, warm baths and lots of TLC. should i just accept the fact that it's no use? She was on deaths door last week but I couldn't bear to watch her suffer...so just kept on trying to treat her. My husband couldn't cull her. I found a vet that will put her down humanely. She is still breathing thru her mouth, in a cat carrier in the coop with the other two girls. The strangest thing...they have not picked on her one bit. They hear her chirp, and they come running. They would huddle next to her at night, and once she stopped venturing out of the coop they stayed with her. She is in the cat carrier now because it seemed a bit more comfortable for her, where I can prop her up on towels so her feet and legs aren't so awkward. It's easier to control flies also, as I've heard chickens with dirty bottoms can attract flies and maggots. Awful. She gets a bath every 2 days. I never put her in there because she was picked on....although I accept the fact I should have separated her a long time ago because she is sick. This has been devastating, and not what we thought. These are our pets...not "just chickens" as other people tell me. I've been emotional. If she makes it, she will be the sweetest chicken around....it's just that from what I read, I'm wasting my time. I guess next time, this will be easier....we will know what to look for, and take care of things ASAP. Our inexperience makes this so much harder. Trying to decipher the plethora of info on these sites is very hard. Different opinions make it harder to make a decision.

Can anyone offer anything to make this easier....experienced anything like this? It seems common, but to me it seems like we are the only ones :(
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
So sorry about what has happened to your hen, and what you are going through with her. Something like that is very hard to go though, they are such neat animals you do become remarkably attached to them as individuals. You might want to post her story in the Emergencies forum for help with figuring out what may be going on https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/10/emergencies-diseases-injuries-and-cures Do you know if she was vaccinated for Marek's disease?
 

shamforge

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 23, 2014
20
0
22
Thank you for that advice...I will do that. My understanding is that yes, she was vaccinated for merecks. My understanding is that there is such a tiny window for it to be effective, so it may not work? At a loss....I keep thinking I will find her dead. We have decided to give her until the weekend, that is if she stays the same. I'm almost sure we are going to have to let her go...:( Thank you for your nice words, shannon
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Sorry you have to make a decision like that for your poor hen. You are taking wonderful care of her while she is ill, but as you said that is not a way a chicken can live long term if she doesn't improve. Think everyone on BYC understands about getting attached to their birds, they are not "just" chickens or ducks or whatever, they are friends and family to some extent... you do become emotionally invested in them, just think about the amount of time you spend with them.
Ya, Mareks does have a short window to work (it actually does not prevent the disease, but hopefully prevents the formation of tumors) and some still get it for one reason or another. Where did you get the girls that they were vaccinated?
 

shamforge

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 23, 2014
20
0
22
Thank you again for the kind words. I got them from a breeder here in my town....it's a family business called Chickens Galore. Super place....super nice people, and are trustable. At least that's my feeling. He is aware of what has happened, and is very sorry and has been in touch. Honestly, she displays all of the symptoms of marecs. Even more telling is the onset of her symptoms right after the other hen passed. We'll talk more tonight depending how she seems when I get home. It's a bath night for her. Hate that she sits in her poo. I've never seen an animal with such a will to live. It's what makes it harder to give up on her.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,890
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New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

I am so sorry about your hen.
It is never easy to watch them go down hill. And it does sound like Mareks. They say that not only is there a small window for the vaccine, but it is also not 100% sure fire as they can still get Mareks even though they have had the vaccine. Not every chicken dies from Mareks, although it is very difficult thing to survive.

But if she is at the point of no longer living a positive life, putting her down is the most humane thing to do. You will know when she has lost that twinkle in her eyes.

I am so sorry.
 
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shamforge

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 23, 2014
20
0
22
Thank you so very much, I appreciate the kind words. So nice to get comfort from those who "get it". My family and coworkers are patient and listen, but I feel like they are quietly making fun of me lol. Question....if she survives marecks, will she walk again? I've read chickens with vitamin deficiencies can suffer the same symptoms...after a couple weeks they can walk, which is my main concern.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,890
61,453
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
If she does survive, I am sure it will be a long road for her to get her walking again. I recently read an article on someone that had a chicken with a similar issue, but the legs had stopped working. I guess the brain had forgotten how to send the signals to the legs to walk. And this lady did therapy on the bird every day to get her to walk. Standing the bird, helping the legs move and support weight, resistance training on the legs.. Eventually the bird learned to walk again.

But if she survives, you would probably need to pump up the immune system with lots of probiotics, veggies, supplements, and even an infra red heat lamp. I swear by this light. It is a very healing light. Penetrating down deep into the tissues. More than just a red or white light. It improves circulation, reduces inflammation and increases appetite. I use infra red in every brooder and hospital cage. I have arthritis ridden old quail, LOL, and this light really keeps these birds alive.

You might even try it now on her for about 15 or 20 mins a day. Give her an infra red bath every day. Might help. At this point you have to try anything.

Oh, also....apple cider vinegar. This stuff has some powers as well. Good for reducing inflammation and increases appetite. It is known for its antibacterial and fungal properties as it raises the PH of the body over time. So you might start her on this as well. 3/4 teaspoon ACV to one quart of water, plastic waterer only. Change and make new daily.

Start pumping the vitamins too to help boost the immune system. Start in with the yogurt for probiotics. I would throw everything at her at this point. Can't hurt.

Keep us posted!
 

shamforge

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 23, 2014
20
0
22
Thank you! I will....she is getting tons of probiotics, electrolytes and vitamins....she has been hand fed yogurt mixed with her food. Thank you again for so much info :)
 
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