Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


Nov 23, 2020
Last night I discovered my Easter Egg hen (approximately 6 months old) on the floor of the coop lying on her side. My rooster was standing beside her. When I came into the coop she didn’t get up - just moved her head to look at me - I thought this was odd so I went over to check on her and she wouldn’t stand up. I picked her up and sat her back down and she just fell over again.

Since then, I’ve been reading a lot about Mareks disease and it’s got me completely freaked out as I’ve read there’s no cure. I am a new chicken owner (I actually ended up with both of my chickens accidentally when my neighbors weren’t caring for them so I offered to take them as I couldn’t watch them suffer). So I’m not very knowledgeable, but I’m learning!

I have brought her inside and confined her to a small comfortable box with access to food and water- she is eating and drinking as usual, and using the bathroom.

I read that St John’s Wort can help with Mareks, so I’ve been giving her that diluted with distilled water, as well as a crushed B complex vitamin, as I’ve read vitamin deficiency can also cause paralysis issues.

When I pick her up she does kick her legs, and when I gently pull on her legs she does pull back. However, when I pull on her toes, she doesn’t always react-sometimes she curls them, other times she doesn’t move them at all. She can stretch out her wings, but doesn’t always have a reaction when I gently stretch them out.

Her stools have looked a little strange as well- they have been normal in consistency and color, but very large. Then tonight she had some diarrhea. I thought maybe it was from giving her the St. John’s wort and vitamin B, but thought it was worth mentioning here.

Another thing she’s been doing is breathing with her mouth open-not always, but sometimes. I know they do that when stressed so I’m hoping that’s all that is, and it isn’t a respiratory problem.

Her eyes look clear and bright (I’ve read that Mareks can cause blinding and/or a gray appearance), and she still seems perky and feisty (she’s not the friendliest chicken normally).

I’ve tried to feel her crop, but I’m not sure if I’m doing it right-I definitely feel something round and firm in that general area, but I don’t know how to tell if it’s collapsed (I’ve read that’s another symptom of Mareks).

Another note: I have been using cedar shavings in their coop, which I read last night while researching things about chicken illnesses, is actually a huge no no as it can cause respiratory issues. I have since cleaned the coop of the cedar. But before I knew this I know for certain that I’ve seen her actually eat some of cedar chips while foraging. Obviously I didn’t know that cedar was so bad for chickens, so I didn’t think anything of it at the time-just thought it was a natural product so it probably wouldn’t hurt. Now that I know it’s bad I’m worried it’s caused some sort of issue.

Honestly, I’m just stumped and racking my brain. I’m not sure if it’s a back injury from my rooster jumping on her, a pinched nerve from laying an egg, or something much more serious.

Since this happened over the weekend I’ve been unable to get in touch with a vet, but I’m planning on calling around tomorrow. I’m just hoping someone on here can give me some opinions or advice as I hate seeing her suffer and I feel so helpless! 😔😢
Google vitamin deficiencies in chickens... I have read that a certain B vitamin deficiency can mimic symptoms of Mareks.
Thank you for responding! I have seen some articles about b vitamin deficiency and so I’ve been giving her a bcomplex vitamin, as well as St John’s Wart. Hoping I see some improvement. 🙏

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom