legs stiff, feet curled, can't stand, still eating and drinking

cyrahsfarm

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Hi, I have had one rooster die already about a month ago. Now, I have two more infected birds. Its a stiffening that progresses from the feet up from what I understand. They still eat and drink fine and it took five days for the first rooster to pass. The chickens showing signs of this are now quarantined to one of the three hen houses. One is a silkie hen and the other is a rooster(unsure of his breed). The silkie was bought from a feed store this summer as a friend for one of my lonely ducklings. Both roosters hatched this spring. We have three hen houses and a large fenced communal area shared by geese and ducks with a little house for the ducks and geese. We also let them out into our backyard and they have access to the horse and goat pen. I have determined this isn't a genetic issue since the silkie is an addition to our flock. I am now wondering if I should give the sick chickens antibiotics or if anyone has any experience with this. Thank you . and happy new year!!!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Do they seem to be getting paralyzed, how are they sitting. It could be something like Mareks, or something toxic they are consuming like moldy feed, or toxic plants.
 

Eggcessive

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If you are in the US, you can send in a dead chicken to your state vet for a necropsy to find a cause of death. I would check your feed for a bad or off odor or other signs of mold, look for any dead animal remains they could have eaten, or other toxins such as lead shot or lead paint chips. Mareks is fairly common. Here is a good article about it and a link for your state vet:
http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
 

cyrahsfarm

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Jan 1, 2016
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Do they seem to be getting paralyzed, how are they sitting. It could be something like Mareks, or something toxic they are consuming like moldy feed, or toxic plants.


They're legs are stiff but wings seem fine. The silkie is on her back now and the rooster was on his back right before he died:/ the silkie is now refusing food.
 

cyrahsfarm

Hatching
Jan 1, 2016
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If you are in the US, you can send in a dead chicken to your state vet for a necropsy to find a cause of death. I would check your feed for a bad or off odor or other signs of mold, look for any dead animal remains they could have eaten, or other toxins such as lead shot or lead paint chips. Mareks is fairly common. Here is a good article about it and a link for your state vet:
http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq

Do you know if vets test for Marek's? It seemed like a possibility from what I read on your link but it was all kind of vague. Moldy food could be a possibility if they managed to get to a fenced in portion of the yard but its a long shot. They are still responsive like chirp happily when I pick them up and the roosters been flopping across the yard. It's like they have lost feeling in the lower part if their bodies and they're not in pain.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Sorry, it doesn't sound good, Eggcessive has given you the best advice, check around your feed and pens, otherwise they are about the age for Mareks to show up.
 

Eggcessive

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Do you know if vets test for Marek's? It seemed like a possibility from what I read on your link but it was all kind of vague. Moldy food could be a possibility if they managed to get to a fenced in portion of the yard but its a long shot. They are still responsive like chirp happily when I pick them up and the roosters been flopping across the yard. It's like they have lost feeling in the lower part if their bodies and they're not in pain.
Yes there is a PCR test for Mareks that is done by several college poultry departments including Texas A&M. Blood would need to be drawn by a local vet and sent off. A necropsy done by your state vet on a refrigerated body, or on one that is sacrificed and culled, can be tested for Mareks, and that may be easier. Here is a link for your state vet and one for the PCR test:
http://tvmdl.tamu.edu/tests/mareks-disease-virus-pcr/
http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
 

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