Is my young rooster having strokes?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Turtletrek, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Turtletrek

    Turtletrek New Egg

    Dec 5, 2010
    Dear Backyard Chicken Community, I hope you can help me.
    My young rooster, Chocolate, has been experiencing some kind of illness that resembles strokes, and I am hoping that someone can help me cure him, or at least help me determine what the cause of his problem is.

    1) What type of bird , age and weight.
    Jersey Giant (possibly with some mixed breeding), approximately 5 months old, male, underweight for his age

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    First time we noticed a problem he appeared to have fallen over and was trying to get up but couldn't. Two other roosters noticed him lying down and hopped on top of him. I chased the roosters off Chocolate (who at the time we still thought could be female) and pushed Chocolate up to standing and he ran off and looked perfectly fine.
    Next time it happened we found him hiding between the old coop and wall of barn, no idea how long he had been there, thought he had gotten stuck and thus hadn't eaten. He could not stand on his own, his legs were weak and he would fall over. He could not jump. We thought he had some kind of physical injury. After a couple days he was moving around better and gave him another rooster for company. Chocolate seemed to recover and walked around on his own, even started to jump over small obstacles, but still spent a lot of time laying down. They spent a lot of time together but we had too many roosters and this other rooster's digestive tract didn't seem to be working properly. After we processed Chocolate's friend, Chocolate had another stroke, but seemed after a couple days to once again start moving around on his own again.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    More than a month and a half - but unsure of exact timeline as I also think Chocolate may have been roosting close to the ground and spending a lot of time layed down for much longer than that but we did not recognize this as the same chicken

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    No other birds are exhibiting symptoms, even though others have been isolated with him

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    No outward signs of trauma

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    I know this chicken was chased by the dog when he was much younger and he may have roosted with a hen that was killed by the neighbour's dog or our dog, he may have sustained some kind of injury in those incidents but there is no outward sign and he does seem to get better and then worse again. I also think that his relapsing could be brought on by stress - ie. the 'disappearance' of his closest roosting buddies.

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    He eats and drinks fine, as long as he can reach the food. Laying Mash mostly, recently switched to organic. Also has the opportunity to free range, although has been spending a lot of his time in the barn recently.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    Just isolation and encouraging standing and walking.

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    Like to treat myself if possible.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    Straw and wood shavings, currently spending most of time in barn with sheep.

    Chocolate has become very used to human touch, and will even eat from my hand, if he is hungry enough. I am hoping to keep him around but he is afraid of the other rooster/chickens and the dog (can't blame him). It looks to me like he has a stroke, recovers and then has another stroke, but I really don't know enough about chickens to figure this out. I would really appreciate some help.
  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Sounds like it could be Mareks.
  3. Turtletrek

    Turtletrek New Egg

    Dec 5, 2010
    I don't know enough about Marek's to determine if it is or is not Marek's disease. He was home hatched and the eggs came from another backyard chicken raiser, who I don't think has had any problems with the disease as far as I know. She saw the bird when he was found behind the coop unable to stand and did not suggest Marek's as a possiblity. I have had no other chickens exhibiting symptoms. Also he seems to recover and then relapse, is that likely to happen with Marek's? It sound like more of a progressive disease and frequently fatal, and I wouldn't think his recovery could be so good. Also a lot of references describe Mareks as one foot forward and one back and that is not the case, he just seems to lie on his side. I have also not seen any other Marek's symptoms in him, his neck and eyes seem fine and he is happy enough to crow.
    Also, I'm in southern Canada, is Marek's as prevalent here?
    Thanks for the help.
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Might want to google it in upper right hand corner might at least rule that out, I hope Chocolate recovers. I have never heard of a chicken having a stroke............................Forgot to say Welcome to BYC!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I'm wondering if during a dog attack or ???. he suffered some brain damage. He may be having seizures of some sort. Poor Chocolate.
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Mareks is every where...wild birds spread it to so even if she hasn't had any issues with it he still have gotten it at your house.

    Recovering and relapsing can be a symptom of Mareks.
  7. Turtletrek

    Turtletrek New Egg

    Dec 5, 2010
    I fear it may be Mareks, and Chocolate seems to be getting worse. Now his legs are more stiff, and he is not trying as hard to stand, but still eating. His comb is turning black, although up until now his comb had looked fine, I hope he didn't get frostbite last night. I was sure the barn was warm enough, but he is more isolated by himself and doesn't have the heat from the other chickens. Do any of these symptoms suggest something other than Marek's?

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