Legs not responding, need help identifying ailment in chicks!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chickenlover8814, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Chickenlover8814

    Chickenlover8814 In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2018
    Hi everyone,
    I had a couple of questions and concerns that I am hoping some of you may be able to identify. About a week ago I received an order of chicks in the mail from Cackle Hatchery, there were 36 of them. On Friday, I noticed one of the dominique chicks couldn't use one of her legs, I seperated her, with two blue cochin chicks as "friends" for her. This morning she passed away. Then, I looked in the brooder and spotted a Delaware chick, with the same thing. Both chicks are holding their leg at a 45 degree angle from there body, refusing to move it, they fall over a lot and have trouble moving easily. At first I though they may have just broken a toe, however I am beginning to suspect Marek's. i did not take the blue cochin chicks out because I figured that they had already been exposed and I did not want to spread it more so in the main brooder. We had all of the chicks vaccinated against Marek's, so some of my questions were:
    1. Can I help the chick that possibly has Marek's survive? Or are the symptoms already to far progressed?
    2. The Blue cochin chicks who I put the with the first chick are healthy and thriving still, will it spread to them? Can they be put back in the main brooder or will they be carriers and dangerous to the other chicks? (I never would have put them in with the sick chick if I knew it could be marek's)
    3. A couple of the chicks in the brooder were hatched a week before we got our mail order, and they were hatched in a home brooder, therefore, they were not vaccinated, should I remove this group of five chicks?
    4. I have been helping the sick chick eat/drink every couple hours by giving her a mixture of hard boiled egg yolk, and a probiotic/vitamin/electrolyte/mineral mix dissolved in water.
    5. What else could cause something like this? I haven't seem any other symptoms of Marek's in the either of the two chicks that got sick/impaired so I can't really soldify my suspicion.
    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Marek's cannot pass to an incubator hatched embryo/chick AND it takes 3 weeks after exposure for symptoms to develop... it isn't that.

    Still reading.. but wanted to give you that assurance at least!
    Eggcessive and Sequel like this.
  3. Ms Clucky

    Ms Clucky Songster

    Jan 22, 2019
    Salem, Illinois
    Can you post pics?
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Really it sounds like an injury, possibly splay leg. With so many chicks in one brooder, trampling is a real possibility. Failure to thrive, or something internal that can't be detected at hatch and causes nutrients not to be absorbed correctly. Shipping is VERY hard on chicks.

    Marek's vaccinated chicks need to be quarantined for a period of time with no exposure while the vaccine develops in their system. Otherwise it's useless. The vaccine doesn't prevent them from getting it, it simply hides and reduces the symptoms if and when they do. But yes, Marek's birds survive all the time with proper environmental and nutritional support!

    You need to lay off the eggs yolk and focus on chick starter feed.

    If there was anything to spread... yes your blue Cochin chicks will have been exposed. Having brooders in the same location anyways I don't think is any sort of true quarantine... I would put them chicks back with the others. Regarding you non vaccinated chicks... the vaccinated ones was a dead turkey virus most likely and will not spread the disease to your others. It simply puts the T cells on notice to react if they see this virus in the future.

    Now here is the best resource I have found for Marek's information all in one place and easy to understand (but that is NOT your current issue)..

    In my experience, what you are seeing is injury or failure to thrive and NOT disease. Hope this is helpful! :fl
    Sequel likes this.
  5. Ms Clucky

    Ms Clucky Songster

    Jan 22, 2019
    Salem, Illinois
    Yes, shipping is very hard on chicks. I had one under every one when I opened the box that was dead cause of trampling, the three others died shortly after that. Maybe in about a week. Tried to save them.:hit
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I agree with @EggSighted4Life that this is not Mareks disease. It is rarely seen before 5 weeks old, and never before 3 weeks.

    You may have chicks with a leg bone deformity. Varus valgus deformity, TD, and twisted tibias are very common. These can affect only one leg or both. It could be they did not check for this at the hatchery, or the 2 chicks could have become injured.

    Some chicks with legs bone deformities can survive if they can get around well enough to get enough food and water. Some do try splinting a leg for support, but there is usually no treatment.

    Can you post any pictures of the chick standing by itself straight on? Here is some reading about the defomities above:


    EggSighted4Life likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: