Marek's and some questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheMainException, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 7, 2010
    Lebanon, PA
    I have two flocks right now, one older flock made up of 6 one year olds and a younger flock of 11 two month olds. They live 60 miles from one another, but I see both twice a week. I'm very involved in the care of both and routinely handle both flocks. While I change my shoes most of the time for both flocks (wearing a pair of shoes at one house for the one flock and another pair of shoes at my other flock's home with another pair of shoes in between), sometimes I might wear my in-between shoes to both flocks. In addition, my older flock once lived where my younger flock now lives (about 9 months ago). I'm noticing possible marek's symptoms in my older flock and have actually lost two or three to what looks like it and my lose another shortly. There are tons of large scale chicken farms around where my flocks live and I've noticed other small flocks in the area as well. I got my older flock from an auction when they were around 2 months old. I got my younger flock of silkies from TSC during chick days.

    This all leads down to a few questions:
    Is it possible for my younger flock to already have been exposed to marek's and be building resistance?
    Is there anything I can do for my older flock now?
    Can I still vaccinate my 2 month olds?
    Is there any point in vaccinating them now?
    Will I be able to put the two flocks together without worrying about marek's spreading?
    Is it normal for chickens around 1 year old to start developing symptoms of marek's?
    Could it be another virus or problem I am unaware of? They frequently start having problems standing, walking, and using their wings and then die within a week. At this age, I would have expected to see symptoms a lot sooner. Could it be that they only were exposed to it once they moved to their new location 60 miles away from their original home?
     
  2. luvinrunnin

    luvinrunnin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2011
    I know there is another leukocytic virus that has similar symptoms as Mareks. If you google Mareks Disease, most sites also mention the other illness. From what I can tell, almost ALL flocks will have carriers even if none of the birds are symptomatic.
     
  3. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lebanon, PA
    Thanks. After doing more research...I'm actually thinking that the symptoms of botilism are more likely (and I'd rather have that since it is preventable by better care and greater cleanliness). I am hoping that if I can clean out their feed, water, and coop extra good and just make sure that their feed doesn't get wet that they will be okay.
     
  4. luvinrunnin

    luvinrunnin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2011
    Quote:It stinks to lose birds either way, but i agree, at least botulism is a little easier to eradicate!

    What symptoms are you seeing?
     
  5. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lebanon, PA
    In this bird now, I noticed last night that she was having trouble with her left foot on the roost bar. It kept sliding down the bar out from under her and she couldn't get a good grip. Today she is propelling herself around the run on her side trying to flap back into a stand position. Her left foot just isn't working correctly and she ends up laying on her side staring at me helplessly and panting. She seems aware of what is going on around her and tries to run to the treats I gave them.

    I just cleaned out their feed bowl and found that where there is a gap under the bucket as it sits on the feed base (I made my own feeder from a 5 gallon bucket and a planter base) where some feed rolled under and got wet and molded. We've had some wet weather lately and I've noticed at times that the rain does manage to come in under the coop and we the feed but I usually catch it the next day and clean it out. I took the whole thing apart today and found this nastiness. I guess I have to change up the system and go back to a trough feeder and only fill it with what they can eat in a day again until I find a better base that doesn't cause me this problem.
     
  6. luvinrunnin

    luvinrunnin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2011
    Could definitely be the mold, even if it isn't botulism. Can you give her some poly-vi-sol and maybe some hard boiled egg? Perhaps that would help her immune system and give extra protein for her to try and get rid of the problem?

    I had considered some of the feeders I've seen on here, but always worry about feed getting stuck somewhere and molding. Seems like the layer feed molds VERY easily.
     
  7. RedfogsFlock

    RedfogsFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2010
    Wittmann, AZ
    Last year we had about two dozen chicks hatch on our own. Every single one of them died of Mareks at 7 months old. It usually strikes at 7 months. I did have one rooster that made it to one year & one month old before dying of Mareks. Come to find out our property was home to 21 pigeon coops. [​IMG] Now we no longer hatch chicks, only ducks. I buy all my babies from the farmers market in town because they vaccinate.

    Symptoms we noticed first and foremost were displayed legs. One leg goes forward, and either right away or sometimes after awhile the other leg will swing backwards. I had one bird that would lay on her side & look at me like yours is. (she was a farmstore bird but they can occasionally still get it) She did end up having Mareks also. I had posted on here for answers because she was over the 7 month mark, but she died after a few days. [​IMG]

    I hope yours is NOT mareks, and comes out ok!
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  8. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lebanon, PA
    One of the main reasons that I really started becoming concerned was because I had one die within two weeks after I got my first flock. I tired worming them all and she ended up just dying so quickly. Then, MONTHS later, I had a roo go very quickly with strange, disabling symptoms. A few weeks later, another died quickly, within days of her becoming strange in the legs. Now...I have another...and it could just be that they are completely unrelated. The first could just have had worms so bad from her original home and died because it was too bad. The second, could have died from the cold...the third, I dunno. This one...bad feed or mold...I just don't know. I've had problems with a coyote, thought that was over, only to experience random death from disease and another from a predator like a cat or a hawk during the middle of the day (foxes and coyotes although they do come out during the day often in this area, stay away because of the dog at my older flock's home). I'm thinking that one was a cat due to the lack of a return to kill more and the way there was no body, but feathers in a couple of locations (attacked and taken away to leave somewhere or eat...unsure, whatever...predators happen, she shouldn't have left the run by herself, silly foolish chicken trying to get to the greener pasture). I just have to do what I can to keep the kids safe from dirty food and hopefully the dog will keep the predators at bay.
     
  9. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I just read in The Chicken Health Handbook that Marek's usually affects birdss 12 to 30 weeks old. deaths start at 8 to 10 weeks old and persist until 20 to 25 weeks. Here are the symptoms: birds 6 to 9 mos old. show stilted gait or lack of coordination, pale skin, wing or leg paralysis, when both legs are affected, one points forward, one backward. rapid weight loss, gaping or gasping, transient paralysis lasting 1 to 2 dys (pseudo-botulism form), dehydration, emaciation, coma, death. death is usually by inability to get to food and water or trampling by other chickens.

    3o to 50% of unvaccinated flocks affected, mortality can be nearly 100%. Very contagious, spread by dust or dander and the darkling beetle. There are at least 6 diff. types.

    I sure hope you don't have this, but it does sound suspicious. It sounds like it would be very likely to infect your new flock. It is NOT transmitted in eggs, so you could save and hatch them for a new flock. Good luck, was just trying to post a few details found in the book. I would take or send a frozen bird to be tested at your State Lab, it is so worth it to know what you have and how to deal with it. Sorry, I cannot find where it says if you vaccinate now it will help. It does say to keep chicks away from the disease for at least 7 days after to let them build immunity. I'd research the vaccine and see when it can be given. It won't hurt to try, but the advise in this book says to cull the flock and start over, or breed for resistance.

    Best of luck, HenZ
     
  10. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lebanon, PA
    Thanks for that info Lotzahenz. Any info I found on giving the vaccine to older birds has stated that it is pretty much ineffective for whatever reason. One site said that letting young birds use bedding that was from an infected flock was useful in helping them build immunity...which is something I kind of did because my new flock is using the old coop and because marek's stays alive for just about forever (at least a year is the lower limit I've read), it seems that this is one way to give them great immunity. I dunno. We'll see. I will have to be putting both flocks together at some point because I'm moving back to my parents' house where the younger flock resides, bringing the older flock with me. One way or another, they are going to meet and share diseases.
     

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