if it's not mareks, what's the deal?

AllOutOfClucksToGive

In the Brooder
May 28, 2017
26
4
22
One of our pullets somehow jacked up here leg about 6 weeks ago. she's been "patient zero" ever since. she pretty much didnt move for about 4 weeks. she ate/drank and is alert so we figured she needed some time to mend. Her right leg was protruding all the way in front of her when she would sit. I immobilized here with some vet tape a few weeks back, then wrapped that questionable leg.

fast forward, she is able to jump out of her area and walk around. she is putting weight on the leg, but it seems she is not moving her toes. she has a limp for sure and still protrudes her leg(s) forward when sitting. when she tries to roost, she is not gripping with that leg.

she's alert, eating and friendly. she seems to have on and off diarrhea/lose stool/whatever.

My wife and i are perplexed by this.
 
Last edited:

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,491
5,538
502
NW Oregon
The paralyzed one foot forward stance is usually end Marek's with the bird unable to walk and eat and therefore starves from the tumors that have invaded the nerves. Some hens do recover from Marek's, but to my knowledge, once paralysis sets in, that is generally the end of it. The recovered birds are from the more mild form of limping and unthriftiness. (Someone correct me if you've had a fully paralyzed, with foot forward, that has recovered).

So it begs the question, was this Marek's? Or an injury?

Since, again to my knowledge, full fledged, final end, Marek's that presents in the nervous system with leg paralysis ends with the bird in the classic one foot forward stance then death, I'm inclined to think this wasn't Marek's.

Watch and wait is all you can do.

If it was a milder Marek's bout, she may rally but succumb at a later age (which often happens with the survivors).

I guess continue TLC and hope for the best.

LofMc

BYC Marek's article that also discusses the imposters:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/
 

BYC910

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Apr 13, 2015
10,339
18,909
866
Concord, Tn. the litte town no one knows about .
Where did you buy the pullet ? Reason I ask is if she came from a big hatchery was she vaccinated at hatch for Mareks ? if so could be you would get a false positive if she was tested . Have you felt the leg and thigh bones to see if they are dislocated ? It is more common for the leg to go to the rear with injury . Not much you can do but wait . Good luck with the pullet
 

AllOutOfClucksToGive

In the Brooder
May 28, 2017
26
4
22
i can call the hatchery and ask. the chicken was one of many from them, the others, despite being assholes are healthy and doing what they do.

i examined her leg and all, i didnt feel any breaks, etc, but i did wrapped it. it stayed on for a day or 2 until she wiggled out of it.

part of me thinks she is just weak from sitting so long. she get's around the house, just limps and takes a lot of breaks.

the not moving toes is the issue.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,756
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
I've had Marek's birds that were fine one day, limping the next and floundering on the ground in the classic Marek's, one leg forward, one back splits, and 2 days later they were back up on their feet as if nothing had ever been amiss. I've had others that have not done the splits but lost use of a leg and some have taken months to improve and others have deteriorated quite quickly and needed to be euthanized. There just don't seem to be any rules or normal course for this disease to progress. Every one is different.
I appreciate that these birds came from a hatchery. Do you have any other chickens from another source that you added to the flock. Whilst Marek's is pretty common and easily contracted, it is usually brought into a flock with birds from another source like an independent breeder or bird bought at auction/swap.....Just wondering if you added to your flock a month or so before this bird started exhibiting symptoms as that would lend weight to it being Marek's.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,756
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
Silkies are particularly prone to Marek's so they may be the source. Sometimes when they have been brought up with a particular strain of Marek's they develop a level of resistance to it but unfortunately often still carry it and young birds at the vulnerable adolescent age that have not previously been exposed to the virus are more susceptible by mixing with them. It is a very complex disease, not dissimilar to AIDS in humans. Hopefully the Silkies will remain healthy but keep an eye on them. Keeping them as happy and stress free as possible with good nutrition to support their immune system will help if they are carriers.
 

AllOutOfClucksToGive

In the Brooder
May 28, 2017
26
4
22
Silkies are particularly prone to Marek's so they may be the source. Sometimes when they have been brought up with a particular strain of Marek's they develop a level of resistance to it but unfortunately often still carry it and young birds at the vulnerable adolescent age that have not previously been exposed to the virus are more susceptible by mixing with them. It is a very complex disease, not dissimilar to AIDS in humans. Hopefully the Silkies will remain healthy but keep an eye on them. Keeping them as happy and stress free as possible with good nutrition to support their immune system will help if they are carriers.

we're prepping to integrate them into the rest of our backyard flock (older girls).... should i refrain?
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,756
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
I would refrain from mixing them, as much as anything because it will cause them stress which may trigger an outbreak in the younger girls. Your older girls should be over the age of susceptibility to Marek's but that's not to say they will not get it, just less likely, if that is in fact the problem here.

It's your call. If it is not too much hassle to keep them separate then I would do so.
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,491
5,538
502
NW Oregon
x2 on keeping the Silkies separate if possible.

One, for the Marek's question, but two, Silkies often don't do well in mixed large flocks. Large fowl tend to pick on the Silkies since they are lower to the ground and have that tempting head notch, which makes them especially fragile as their heads may have vaulted skulls which can receive head trauma.

They also waddle more than run, so they are very prone to predator attack since they can't move quickly. Their foot feathers are a constant hassle if you've got mud at all, bumblefoot waiting to happen.

After losing my best broody to a hawk, and watching other Silkies constantly be picked on by large hens (including several she had hatched and raised, the ungrateful wretches), I now keep my Silkies on bark chips, under cover, and definitely separate from the larger birds.

They are happy. They mostly want to brood, hatch babies, and be moms (for which they receive royal care).

My 2 cents.
LofMc
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom