Marek's Amongst My Flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MissCluck, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. MissCluck

    MissCluck Songster

    I am crushed. One of my nearly eight month old red star hens has developed Marek's Disease. I was uncertain what was wrong with her at first and was treating her as if she was eggbound, then removed her from my little flock of seven when she was depressed and the others started picking on her.

    Now, a week later, she has full-blown Marek's symptoms. She has leg and wing paralysis but I am cleaning her bum and she is eating and drinking as long as I offer it to her several times a day. She rests and looks as comfortable as possible and she only give little clucks when I pick her up to clean her.

    The others are fully exposed. There is no way that they were isolated from her when she was in her earlier symptoms, although she's been separate for a couple of weeks. It's devastating because these little girls were raised from three days old and have been sound as a dollar. I keep my coop aired and clean and they receive fresh food and water and are free range in an area most of the day.

    Unfortunately I inadvertantly added three little Dutch Bantams to the flock prior to knowing that Fannie was ill with Marek's. Now I've risked my three darling little banties to it.

    I've been researching euthanization techniques for Fannie. Poor girl... and I've been thinking that I'd better get good at it if I have to put all my chickens down.

    I'm researching Marek's and will become an expert on it before the end of this. My poor little friends.

  2. ilovebuffs

    ilovebuffs Chirping

    Jun 26, 2009
    Senoia, GA
    We just recently joined out local 4H poultry club. We've only been to one meeting. But I learned that all chickens carry Marecks. Only the weak chickens actually show symptoms of it. We lost 2 of 10 chicks a couple months ago. But no one else was affected. So, there is hope. Maybe none of your other chickens will get it. Hope this helps.

  3. MissCluck

    MissCluck Songster

    Oh... THANK YOU.. that is a hope. It's interesting to note that I had two Red Stars initially. Hattie died about a month ago. Just dead one morning with no other problems... now it is Fannie, the other Red Star affected by Marek's. All of my girls came here at three days old from a local small chicken farm.

    So far I see no signs of chicken depression with the others, which is how Fannie started.

    Education is good... so I hope to learn all I can.
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    So sorry! [​IMG] Hopefully the rest will not show any symptoms.
  5. MissCluck

    MissCluck Songster

    Here are some of my girls..

    Agatha of the beautiful posterior...

    Dorothy Maud amongst the nasturtiums...

    Molly at the waterer...

    Hamish, Angus and Priscilla the Dutch Bantams...

    Fannie earlier this summer... well and happy...

    Magnificent Mildred...

    I love them all... Funny... I've been matter-of-fact until coming on here and posting and now I'm rather torn up about it....
  6. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    I'm so sorry for your loss, I understand how hard it must be. I never thought I'd be so attached to my hens and now that they've been part of the family for 5+ months, it's hard thinking of life without any one of them.

    Hugs and kisses from the Schmidt family, our thoughts are with you.
  7. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    Quote:Marekes is everywhere so you wont be able to get rid of it by culling all. and there is some treatments although they are very time consuming. Moodychicken has a post about it and it does work. either way they all wont show symptoms some will develop an immunity to it and if you keep those that do not show and only cull the ones that do you will build a resistant flock to it. You can also learn to vaccinate as I did after dealing with Marekes in my flock. I lost a few birds but did not loose all. I had one rooster possibly effected with it, either that or it had a leg injury. I almost culled him several times but didn't and he actually got better, could not walk at all and now he is a little shaky still but certainly 90% better.

    I am sorry you are going through this. but I can tell you a lot about it having dealt with it. essentially it is a herpes virus that causes swelling and problems around the nerves. The easiest signs of it other than paralysis with one leg forward is an misshapen or gray iris. I would look in the eyes of all of your birds to see if any others are showing that symptom.

    as for disinfecting for it it is nearly impossible since it is in the dander and dust they create.

    Good luck and really you wont loose all of your birds I promise [​IMG]

  8. MissCluck

    MissCluck Songster

    I put Fannie down today.
    She wasn't eating and was paralyzed in the typical straddled posture and even though I was cleaning her I found maggots on her bum. She smelled ill. Just horrible.

    She was a lovely, good girl and trusted me to the end.

    I should have eased her way sooner.
  9. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    I'm so sorry...[​IMG]

    Marek's is an awful disease. I vaccinate all the chicks I hatch for it, because it's everywhere. I hate to poke those little day-olds with a needle, but even if just for my own peace of mind, it's worth it.

    Are all the others looking okay? Here's hoping you won't lose any others.
  10. MissCluck

    MissCluck Songster

    Thank you! I've been reading and reading my frightening chicken health book! So many horrible things to get if you are a chicken!

    All of the others are hale and hearty so far.

    I'm going to attempt some incubated eggs this Spring and I'll vaccinate.

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