I think my chicks have Marek's disease! What to do???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by farm_gal, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. farm_gal

    farm_gal New Egg

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    We recently got thirteen chicks of various breeds. Sadly, two of them died within the first week so now there's only eleven. They are about 2-3 weeks old now. I noticed this morning that one of them was wobbling around kind of funny, like she couldn't use her left leg. She would never stand straight up and she would occasionally lean on her wing for balance. I might add that this particular chick has always been the biggest and most energetic one of them all, and she still has lots of energy, she just can't move right. Well this afternoon I noticed that one of the other chicks was having the exact same problem. I did some research and it sounds like Marek's disease to me. Does anyone else think so? If so, do they have a chance??? Will all the others get it too??? Is there any way to cure or treat it??? These chicks were supposed to have been vaccinated, so I'm really confused. Well, any advice would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance for the help.


    P.S. We have one 3 year old hen in the coop outside. If this is the disease, could she get it?
     
  2. SuziQ991

    SuziQ991 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It would be very helpful if you gave more information. What are you feeding, where are they kept? There is a sticky on the emergencies page that you can fill out. Hopefully you can get the help you need.
     
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Hi. It's highly unlikely that it's Marek's. But here's some ideas
    Is it too hot?
    Is it the food? I would get another bag and see.
    Then make them a wet mash with it, to see if they eat it. Sometimes the crumbles are too big.
    Botulism would cause a symptom like that, and they would die pretty soon. That would be my guess. Take them out of the brooder, put paper towels down, water, and possibly new food, or at least hammer it or moisten it and see if they eat like vultures. If it's botulism, you got to figure out where it comes from.

    It's extremely rare that chickens would have Marek symptoms prior to 6 weeks old.
     
  4. Chinchilla2

    Chinchilla2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Are you feeding medicated feed? If so, you may want to get some non-medicated starter feed and supplement with vitamins. The symptoms of vitamin deficiency (the antibiotic in medicated feed can prevent vitamin uptake for some chicks) can mimic Marek's. Putting them on a non-medicated feed with some supplement in the water can help. Also provide some chick grit as well. They may be eating like little feathered pigs but if they are brooder babies, they do not have access to anything to help them grind it up in their craw.

    I would rule out other things before jumping straight to Marek's. As seminolewind suggested, there are several other options to work on first.
     
  5. farm_gal

    farm_gal New Egg

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    Okay, sorry about the lack of details. They are indoors in a large galvanized tub with a heat lamp and hay as a bedding. They are eating regular chick starter. They eat and drink just fine and they are pooping normal so far. Like I said before, they still have tons of energy. They just aren't walking right. I still have them in with the others and they still get around without being trampled on. They even still sleep and eat at the same time as the others do. I know one is a Rhode Island Red but I'm actually not sure what the other is. All of the chicks are brown egg layers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  6. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's very young for Mareks from my research. My guess would be either a vitamin deficiency or botulism. Sorry.
     
  7. Lacrystol

    Lacrystol Hatching Helper

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    I believe I'm dealing with Mareks as we speak, I just had a silkie die from it, she lived for 2 months before passing, I now noticed another chicken is showing the exact same signs as she was. Can't walk, falls over to the side, uses wings for balance, etc. eventurally they do die, once they do I have been burning the bodies because if you bury them chances are it will be in the ground for others to get at least that's what i was told. I have been talking with my Chicken's doctor and he's the one that actually told me it could be mareks and gave me 3 choices, one cull her now, two work with her and hope for a recovery but of course chances are she will be a carrier or three keep her comfortable and let her pass on her own. We tried to cull her but didn't have the heart because she would eat like a pig, she couldn't stand at all so her behind was always getting dirty which attracted flies so i have poured 7 dust on her and clean her as often as needed. she would jerk her head forward like she was desparately trying to stand but failed to do so. Now I have another chicken that is doing the exact same thing as her. Falling over etc. She still has use of both legs but barely can stand up. I am going to contact a place to have her tested to be for sure it's not something else. I'm just not sure where to begin.. what's the steps and do they have to be dead before they can be tested.
     
  8. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Lacrystal, I know what you mean. I had a Marek's nightmare this past summer. I did what you did, waited until I thought their quality of life needed to be ended.
    Like Poseygrace, I would think botulism (quick death from symptoms to death), or a vitamin deficiency. Maybe coccidiosis. Maybe also put in a bigger brooder.
     
  9. farm_gal

    farm_gal New Egg

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    Thanks for the help everyone! I just panicked a little there. [​IMG] Thank goodness it wasn't Marek's! I am still actually not sure what it was exactly but we gave them an antibiotic in their water for 7 days straight and within 5-6 days of taking it they were completely better and back to jumping up and perching on my hand. There were 3 out of the 11 chicks that got it which I now know were a Dark Cornish, a Rhode Island Red, and a Barred Rock. They are all doing great and growing like weeds!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    No problem with panic! I would rather give my opinion as "no they don't have it". Good luck!
     

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