Help! Is Marek's in my flock? Can chickens get it from turkeys?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sevenbabychicks, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. sevenbabychicks

    sevenbabychicks Songster

    Sep 9, 2010
    Saint Paul, MN
    A few months ago, my 2 year-old australorp started having trouble walking, lost weight, and died. I brought her in and tried my best to help her, but nothing seemed to stop her from wasting away. Now one of my others - a 4 month-old pullet - is having trouble with one of her legs. Her hock doesn't seem able to support her weight and buckles when she walks on it.

    None of my birds are vaccinated for Marek's, but I haven't gotten any new birds for 6 months - and those are doing fine. However, there are tons of wild turkeys around. Could they be passing something to my chickens? I've looked all around this forum for info, and found a bunch, but couldn't find any regarding a condition in which one leg at a time is affected.

    I have my pullet inside right now and am giving her vitamins and electolytes mixed in with oatmeal. I'm hoping it's either a vitamin deficiency or a hock injury, and would really appreciate any advice or insight y'all might have! Thanks!

  2. Makomd

    Makomd Songster

    Jul 24, 2011
    ES of MD , USA
    I don't believe chickens can get Marek's from Turkeys, they actually use the Turkey Marek's in the chicken Marek's vacination.
  3. missnu01

    missnu01 Songster

    Nov 16, 2012
    Chickens can't get Marek's from turkeys, but Marek's can travel on the wind, you can pick it up from going to the feed store and then coming home...When people that have chickens drive past your house they can carry the disease on their car...It is really really widespread, more so than people think. It is out there and there is a very good chance that most people that keep chickens will see it at least a few times. I had 2 birds that had to be culled. It wasn't killing them, it just rendered them unable to move in a normal fashion.
    First one male started keeping the toes on one foot curled in causing him to limp...then one day he was getting around fine, although often still keeping the toes curled. The very same day, a pullet started keeping her toes curled...but she kept getting worse. Her toes on one foot were curled, and then she started walking around on her hocks all the time, and then she had the one leg out front, one leg out back, and couldn't really move at all. All the while the other cockerel was doing alright, just limpy. Anyway, the pullet got to where she was rolling to get where she wanted to go, and I couldn't watch her try anymore. Their weight, and eyes and feathers and all that still looked great. The 2 affected were growing right along with their other hatch mates...Anyway we culled the female pullet, and exactly 2 days later the cockerel that had been basically fine couldn't pick up his head, his neck was curled down under his body, so he was sitting on his own head, so we culled him too. So. I noticed the limping, and in 3 weeks to a month and a half we had to put down both affected birds. It was sad, but all my adult birds are still fine, as are the remaining chicks from the brood. They are hitting laying age now. They were around 10 weeks when they were first affected. It seems to be chance. Some birds are unaffected, some birds die, and some birds are rendered immobile.

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