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Marak's???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Brigabart, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Brigabart

    Brigabart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I have 25 girls. They are all 14 weeks old. All were vaccinated for Marek's and came from McMurray (tho as I understand it, the vaccination is not preventative, just to help those who get it maybe not get it as badly). About 4 weeks ago, one bird was lying down a lot, all fluffed out. Ended up putting some tetracycline in the water in case there was an infection (suggested by the owner of our local chicken store). Then a few days later she started walking around again - and lo and behold she was limping! We assumed she hurt herself by jumping off a ledge and put her into a dog crate with food and water. After about 10 days she was definitely doing better, so now she's out in the day, in the cage at night (so as not to hurt herself jumping to the roost). She still can't walk up the ramp, though she just started walking down the ramp yesterday. She's a Columbian Wyandotte. Eats well, drinks well, preens, poops fine.

    Now today one of our Golden Laced Wyandottes started falling backwards and doing the splits. Never seen Marak's before, but that seems like a sign. She can't stand up reliably, so she's in another dog crate with food and water. She's much worse than the first, tho she's eating, drinking, and pooping. Just sitting on her rear with her legs out in front.

    I'm a little stressed, as primary chicken caregiver. I have two little girls in tears. After reading what I can I half expect to lose all 25, or maybe one a week until half the flock is gone. I've got to assume that these two chicken's ailments are related.

    Any hope or suggestions? I've seen some suggest some polyvisol, some suggest hypericum. And what about the future with this flock? Help!
    Heidi
     
  2. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Because they are vaccinated, it is unlikely the first cause is marek's., though vaccinated birds can show symptoms. It could be they are not getting enough riboflavin (a vitamin) which can cause leg issues. What are they eating? They can also get partial paralysis from bacteria and other viruses, as well as old or rotting food. Calcium issues are usually seen in hens that lay.

    Here is a helpful link:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq


    I hope they get better soon! Best of luck!
     
  3. Brigabart

    Brigabart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the link! They are eating Nutrena Naturewise chick feed. We keep the feed in a metal can and only put in 25lbs at a time (they eat about 25lbs a week). They aren't old enough to lay yet, so probably not calcium. I'll look into riboflavin, thanks!

    My second hen when upright keeps one leg back, the other forward, then falls over and sits on her rear with both legs out front. Sometimes she pecks at her feet or her hips.
     
  4. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Yes, that sounds like partial paralysis, however, this can be cured in some cases. Keep them eating and drinking. If one of them ends up passing, get it sent in for testing to figure out what the cause is so you can figure out how to cure it.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sorry to hear that you might have the start of Mareks. I would recommend putting a good poultry vitamin in your chickens water since the dosage would be more accurate. There are several brands at TSC and other feed stores if you look around in chicken and non-chicken aisles. Did you raise your chicks indoors for the first couple of weeks? The vaccine can take at least 2 weeks for chicks to develop immunity. Hopefully these are either vitamin deficiencies or injuries, so don't give up. In summer heat dehydration or even coccidiosis can cause some neurological symptoms that might look like Mareks. Lead shot in the soil or paint chips, mold in the feed, and poisoning can do this also. There are a couple of good threads where you can ask questions or see posts by people who have had Mareks in their flocks. Those are below along with some good links to read about Mareks. Please give an update on your chickens' condition later.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/#/disease/Marek's_Disease
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/90/mareks-disease/
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/741957/not-an-emergency-mareks-in-the-flock
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/894589/moving-forward-breeding-for-resistance-to-mareks-disease
     
  6. Brigabart

    Brigabart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You guys are the best. Thank you for all the ideas and encouragement! I'm going first thing in the morning to get some vitamins for the water. They are not free range so I'm hoping there's nothing in the coop (it's new, only has lead free paint). We clean the coop and the run every day, picking up all the poo we can find. When they were chicks, we kept them in a newly built brooder until they were 7 weeks old (it was 4x8 feet so they fit pretty well).

    I read that often Wyandottes are more resistant to Mareks, so it would be odd that 2 of our 4 Wyandottes came down with it first, so here's hoping it is something more treatable. I got some Hypericum tonight, so I may try it to, because why not?

    On a bright note, the first one (Columbian Wyandotte) Christie, has been unable to get into the coop from the run - she stands at the bottom of the ramp, cheeping, until I get her and pop her through the door. Tonight I popped her in and then went around to the coop door to lift her up into her cage (it's a dog crate sitting on a shelf and bungie corded to the roost so she doesn't feel abandoned.) She's usually waiting on the floor, but no chicken! I looked up and she was on the highest roost, snuggled up to our lead hen!!! Christie is the smallest chicken and Sassy, our lead hen, is the biggest, almost twice Christie's size. Christie is a bit lighter than her twin Columbian Wyandotte sister (Agatha). I picked them both up today and Christie, the one with the limp, is definitely much lighter. She seems to be eating pretty well and poops like a champ though. Biggest poops I've ever seen, actually (well, from a chicken anyway).
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  7. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Awesome coop! Those are some cute chicks!

    Sometimes chicks just have poor genetics or their parents weren't given proper nutrition, this can also lead to leg problems.
     
  8. Brigabart

    Brigabart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update today:

    Nancy (the semi-paralyzed chicken) is doing so-so. I emptied a capsule of B vitamins in her food last night (kept her in a crate), and she was raring to go this morning. She shrieked and jumped until I finally relented and put her back with the girls (I was afraid the stress would kill her). If it is Marek's, I'm thinking that everyone else has been exposed anyhow. And if it's neurological, it won't spread. She is walking around, scratching. She teeters a bit, and sometimes scratches, then rocks back on her legs and sits down. Definitely not a stable chicken. I also gave her a dose of vitamins (Poultry Cell) and a dose of hypericum. I put poultry cell in the waterers for everyone too. Not sure what else to do....

    Christy (the one who seems to have hurt her leg 3 weeks ago and spent 2 solid weeks lying down in a dog crate) Actually walked up the ramp today TWICE under her own power! Yay Christy!!! She still has to lie down a lot and seems smaller than anyone else, but she eats, drinks, preens, and now walks, so we are hopeful.
     
  9. Brigabart

    Brigabart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Darn it. What do I do????? Something is now wrong with my Delaware. She seems confused and lies around on her side. She lies down, then tilts to the side. Her wings seem to be sagging a bit. She walks very carefully. She's off by herself and seems a bit disoriented. Darn. Darn. Darn. Gave her hypericum and Poultry Cell tonight.

    Pullet #1 (Columbian Wyandotte) three weeks ago lying down fluffed out, also limping on one foot. Put her in a cage for 2 weeks, out this week, now doing better - walking slowly, resting a lot, but no limp and can go up and down ramp.
    Pullet # 2 (Golden laced Wyandotte) two days ago began falling down, drunkenly lurching around. Very sassy and full of herself, but can't walk straight and sometimes falls backwards with feet out front. No improvement yet.
    Pullet # 3 (Delaware) Lying down all day on side, usually with a leg hanging out. Wings sagging a bit, seems a bit disoriented, walks carefully.
    All three vaccinated for Marek's at birth by McMurray.

    All three are with the flock, since everyone has been exposed. I have no idea if that's best, but that's the way it is right now. Everyone has Poultry Cell in the water and probiotics in the Nutrena chick food. I have no idea what else to do.
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    On Monday, I would double check with McMurray that they have records of your chicks getting Mareks vaccination. Be sure and check your feed for mold. There is really not much else you can do except for supportive care, but I feel really bad for you if it turns out to be Mareks. There can be a sudden improvement temporarily for a lame chicken to suddenly improve with Mareks, then later get sick again. I would contact the state vet on Monday to ask about details of sending a bird in for a necropsy to get tested for Mareks. Here is a link for that: http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
     

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