Lymphoid leukosis/ Mareks

Jjn348

In the Brooder
Oct 8, 2018
13
22
26
A new hen in my flock died very rapidly with very little symptoms and after sending her off for a necropsy it came back either Lymphoid Leukosis or Mareks . My flock was only around her for a few days in a free range situation but obviously still in contact with her. The hen that died was 2yrs, my hens are all 3yrs other than one that is 8 months. I know that Mareks is highly contagious but am curious on how contagious LL is. Also if since my hens are older if they have a fighting chance at not getting this. I would love to hear from anyone with experience on either of these. For having a small backyard flock that has been disease free for the last 3 years this definitely is a punch in the stomach. And a reminder to do adequate quarantining of new flock.
 

chicknmania

Free Ranging
14 Years
Jan 26, 2007
5,857
1,224
522
central Ohio
You did exactly right in having the necropsy done. We've had chickens for years, and, in my experience, either they get sick, or they don't. In other words, we've had a few chickens in the 12 years that we've had chickens, that came down with neurological illnesses...LL or Marek's, who knows. So far, in those cases, the illness seemed to be confined to one bird, except last winter, when we had a few (about 5) very young birds come down with something neuro, one, after the other, during a very hard, cold winter. Point being, I think birds whose immune systems are compromised some way are more likely to get sick, and others with healthy immune systems will not. If it were my flock, I'd keep them on vitamins for a while now. Oxine, although expensive, is an excellent disinfectant, and a little goes a long way. You can put an eighth of a cup or so in a small spray bottle mixed with water, and spray everything in sight, including the chickens themselves. (Just lightly mist the chickens). You can also put a few drops of Oxine in their drinking water, and add it to wash water if you are washing/ sterilizing their feeders/ waterers. It's 10 X more powerful than bleach. We get Oxine at firststatevetsupply.com. Another thing that MIGHT help is 1st Tuesday Lime, it's nice because you can use it in the coop and run, and you don't have to worry about it harming the chickens, but it will kill/ sterilize bad stuff pretty well. Again, it's pricey, but a little goes a long way. Lastly, make sure your flock is as healthy as you can get them, that' they are as parasite free (internal and external parasites) as possible, and, like I said, vitamins certainly won't hurt. The rest of your flock might get by OK. Probably will. Also, a lot of people worry about the surviving birds being carriers. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but again...see the first part of this (very long) post.

And yes, especially if you're getting new birds from an unfamiliar source, they need to be in quarantine. We keep our new birds quarantined for three to five weeks. It also helps them to acclimate to their new surroundings and get used to the flock and is a lot less stress on them and also your existing flock.
 

Jjn348

In the Brooder
Oct 8, 2018
13
22
26
You did exactly right in having the necropsy done. We've had chickens for years, and, in my experience, either they get sick, or they don't. In other words, we've had a few chickens in the 12 years that we've had chickens, that came down with neurological illnesses...LL or Marek's, who knows. So far, in those cases, the illness seemed to be confined to one bird, except last winter, when we had a few (about 5) very young birds come down with something neuro, one, after the other, during a very hard, cold winter. Point being, I think birds whose immune systems are compromised some way are more likely to get sick, and others with healthy immune systems will not. If it were my flock, I'd keep them on vitamins for a while now. Oxine, although expensive, is an excellent disinfectant, and a little goes a long way. You can put an eighth of a cup or so in a small spray bottle mixed with water, and spray everything in sight, including the chickens themselves. (Just lightly mist the chickens). You can also put a few drops of Oxine in their drinking water, and add it to wash water if you are washing/ sterilizing their feeders/ waterers. It's 10 X more powerful than bleach. We get Oxine at firststatevetsupply.com. Another thing that MIGHT help is 1st Tuesday Lime, it's nice because you can use it in the coop and run, and you don't have to worry about it harming the chickens, but it will kill/ sterilize bad stuff pretty well. Again, it's pricey, but a little goes a long way. Lastly, make sure your flock is as healthy as you can get them, that' they are as parasite free (internal and external parasites) as possible, and, like I said, vitamins certainly won't hurt. The rest of your flock might get by OK. Probably will. Also, a lot of people worry about the surviving birds being carriers. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but again...see the first part of this (very long) post.
You did exactly right in having the necropsy done. We've had chickens for years, and, in my experience, either they get sick, or they don't. In other words, we've had a few chickens in the 12 years that we've had chickens, that came down with neurological illnesses...LL or Marek's, who knows. So far, in those cases, the illness seemed to be confined to one bird, except last winter, when we had a few (about 5) very young birds come down with something neuro, one, after the other, during a very hard, cold winter. Point being, I think birds whose immune systems are compromised some way are more likely to get sick, and others with healthy immune systems will not. If it were my flock, I'd keep them on vitamins for a while now. Oxine, although expensive, is an excellent disinfectant, and a little goes a long way. You can put an eighth of a cup or so in a small spray bottle mixed with water, and spray everything in sight, including the chickens themselves. (Just lightly mist the chickens). You can also put a few drops of Oxine in their drinking water, and add it to wash water if you are washing/ sterilizing their feeders/ waterers. It's 10 X more powerful than bleach. We get Oxine at firststatevetsupply.com. Another thing that MIGHT help is 1st Tuesday Lime, it's nice because you can use it in the coop and run, and you don't have to worry about it harming the chickens, but it will kill/ sterilize bad stuff pretty well. Again, it's pricey, but a little goes a long way. Lastly, make sure your flock is as healthy as you can get them, that' they are as parasite free (internal and external parasites) as possible, and, like I said, vitamins certainly won't hurt. The rest of your flock might get by OK. Probably will. Also, a lot of people worry about the surviving birds being carriers. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but again...see the first part of this (very long) post.

And yes, especially if you're getting new birds from an unfamiliar source, they need to be in quarantine. We keep our new birds quarantined for three to five weeks. It also helps them to acclimate to their new surroundings and get used to the flock and is a lot less stress on them and also your existing flock.

Thank you, I will look into both. Looks like the incubation period for LL is a few months so I guess just the waiting game if it’s that. I think if it’s Mareks it will come on sooner. I’m not sure if they were vaccinated as chicks or not or if that would help them any at this point.. I’m a little nervous this is happening going into winter. Might look into doing some kind of heat source this year. Which vitamins are you taking about? Like the nutri drench? I never know if doing something like that or doing apple cider vinegar is more beneficial... or rotating the two?
 

chicknmania

Free Ranging
14 Years
Jan 26, 2007
5,857
1,224
522
central Ohio
Rotating the two is fine if that's what you want to do, I like to use ACV sometimes, just as a sort of a supplement once in a while. Vitamins are a matter of personal preference. If' I'm worried about the flock, I sometimes will use one of the premium ones; Rooster Booster brands are very good, they have Poultry Cell or B &K, but really, any decent quality vitamin is fine, and I run it in the water for a week or so.

Just to clarify, like I said, there have been lots of times when we've had one bird get sick, and we worry, but no one else in the flock does. Of ourbabies that got sick last winter, I remember that there were seven total. They were all still with their mothers. 6 were from the the same brood, and the seventh was with another mother, but again; it was cold at the time and we were having mink problems at the time too, so they were hugely stressed. And in their case it could have been something genetic, I didn't have a necropsy done. Having a happy, comfortable flock, that's healthy in every way possible, makes a huge difference in whether they get sick or not. Stress is a big factor and probably had a lot to do with your new bird dying so quickly.

And btw, our flock free ranges too. Good luck, but you'll probably be fine.
 

TwitchysChicks

Songster
Nov 22, 2018
335
206
101
How are your hens today? One of mine died and necropsied myself since necropsies are a few hundred dollars. Found about three tumors on her liver. This got me scared that everyone else has it. My girls seem very alert and okay. Its the 6 to 8 yr olds who look sick. Everyone is on Lincomycin for mg symptoms. Hoping keeping them active and healthy will work. So sick to my stomach that I will watch my birds die because I didnt quarantine the new ones.
 

Jjn348

In the Brooder
Oct 8, 2018
13
22
26
It’s hard to say what it would be with just finding tumors in the liver. Could be a few things. With Mareks and Leukemia Leukosis it is contagious so whole flock would have it but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to lose them. Mine are two months in from being exposed and still healthy but the incubation period is 4 months so won’t know for another couple as there aren’t signs until the end. I have talked to vets however and with leukosis adult hens have a pretty good shot at survival. I think it’s less than 10% develop tumors. There really isn’t much you can do except watch the signs and keep everything very clean and healthy. Good luck, I know it’s a bad feeling:(
 

TwitchysChicks

Songster
Nov 22, 2018
335
206
101
It’s hard to say what it would be with just finding tumors in the liver. Could be a few things. With Mareks and Leukemia Leukosis it is contagious so whole flock would have it but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to lose them. Mine are two months in from being exposed and still healthy but the incubation period is 4 months so won’t know for another couple as there aren’t signs until the end. I have talked to vets however and with leukosis adult hens have a pretty good shot at survival. I think it’s less than 10% develop tumors. There really isn’t much you can do except watch the signs and keep everything very clean and healthy. Good luck, I know it’s a bad feeling:(
This one died of respiratory. Her eyes swelled and she just about starved to death so I put her down. I have another with a puffy face. The others look pretty healthy buy I cant sit and look at them for 4 mths not knowing if they'll die or not...
 

Jjn348

In the Brooder
Oct 8, 2018
13
22
26
Neither of those two diseases will cause respiratory issues. She either had something on top of the disease or she died of something different. The waiting game definitely isn’t fun but I guess you kind of just forget about it because they seem healthy. With either of those diseases they have a very good shot at living when they catch it when they’re older. I would honestly be more concerned about curing the respiratory issue at the moment.
 

TwitchysChicks

Songster
Nov 22, 2018
335
206
101
I added 15 to my original 13. The one that died was one of the 15. They were with mine for 2 months and counting. 5 of the new ones dont go outside and just hang out on the table. Hoping most of it was old age and mime will b fine.
 

TwitchysChicks

Songster
Nov 22, 2018
335
206
101
Neither of those two diseases will cause respiratory issues. She either had something on top of the disease or she died of something different. The waiting game definitely isn’t fun but I guess you kind of just forget about it because they seem healthy. With either of those diseases they have a very good shot at living when they catch it when they’re older. I would honestly be more concerned about curing the respiratory issue at the moment.
Theyre on Lincomycin for mg. One went to the vet and he gave me that. They are on it til Monday. Most seem extremely happy and playing outside. Just the 3 1/2 to 8 ones dont go outside. Then my 1 yr old is laying tiny lash material. Shouldnt have saved these chickens. Should habe known better. My youngest are 5mths old. The one keeps sitting and too shy to hang out with everyone else. My neighbor says most of them have been loud and annoying all day today. So that's good. I'm reading up on leukosis and it says that pretty much every chicken has it. Same with mareks but its in their rna sequence. Theres just one bird I have that freaks me out. She pulls both her feet up to her chest as she walks. Her eyes are bright and clear and she eats. Just that weird high step. Ugh. Maybe those hens are just dying of old age. Hoping so.
 

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