High stepping chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by beccamae421, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. beccamae421

    beccamae421 New Egg

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    One of my 8 girls has not been acting right for the past couple of weeks. At first, I attributed it to the fact that she was possibly being picked on by the rest of the flock. She has been "hiding" by going into corners, behind the food container etc. She molted with the rest, but now doesn't look as "full" as the others. Today I noticed she is walking with a very slow and pronounced high step. I've had all hens in this flock for 3 years plus so there has been no introduction of other hens. They are not free-rangers so they are very protected in their own space. I don't know if she contracted something and, if so, how does that happen. Hopefully, someone can give me some direction. She seems very sad. Thank you!
     
  2. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you checked her feet? She may have bumble foot or something in her foot. Another cause for high stepping is blindness. Check both eyes. Even if she is only blind in one eye, it can cause her to high step to keep her balance. Finally the worst case, is Maraks. Please read up on the symptoms of this and let me know if I can help you further. Good luck.

    Welcome to Backyard Chickens! We are here to help.[​IMG]
     
  3. beccamae421

    beccamae421 New Egg

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    I checked her feet and they both look fine. Her legs look good too. I don't see any signs of blindness as her eyes look clear. She is 3 years old and the youngest of the group. I've had her since she hatched. She is still high-stepping and hiding some today. She is still eating, but is definitely smaller than the others. Can a chicken spontaneously contract Marek's? They haven't had any exposure to other birds in 3 years. The rest of the 7 look very healthy.
     
  4. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To my understanding they can harbor the symptoms for years and it never become visible. It can be contracted even if you were to go to another farm where a chicken had maraks. I hope its not the case for your sake. There is a thread here at BYC about Maraks. It tells a great deal about it. I have read it a couple times and I am pretty sure one or two of my purchased chickens had Maraks. They were never tested, so no real way to say definite yes. My other chickens are fine, and this happened last year.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I would try to rule out everything else possible before deciding it is Mareks. Molting is so hard on chickens sometimes, so I would deworm her, try to give her vitamins with minerals and probiotics in her food, give her a little extra protein in eggs or a small amount of tuna, and watch her closely. I also would do some research on internal laying/egg yolk peritonitis, since that can sometimes affect the gait. Here is a good link on Mareks that has a section of diseases that can look like Mareks:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://scoopfromthecoop.nutrenaworld.com/tag/laying-issues/
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  6. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should have added in my original post that it could be a number of other things as well.....not just those 3 things. Sorry if that is how it sounded. Good luck with your chicken. Keep us posted on her progress.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I thought your post was very helpful, and it pointed out 3 very good possibilities. It's just that I have probably been guilty of saying "Mareks" too often, and I want everyone to look for more possibilities. Some people will just hear "Mareks" and may go and put the chicken down without investigating all possibilities just in case. I have seen videos of high-stepping chickens that may have been Mareks, but I'm sure it isn't always the case.
     

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