Marek's Disease

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Mychickenlove, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. Mychickenlove

    Mychickenlove New Egg

    Sep 16, 2015
    Hi all,

    I am a bit desperate for some answers regarding Marek's.

    My Leghorn has been limping now for three weeks. Several weeks ago she was also limping and then recovered. When she was quite young she had a leg wedged in some chicken wire and limped for a day and recovered. I cannot remember which leg was lodged back then.

    So this time the limping is so bad the left leg is totally useless.

    And it has been for three weeks I am keeping her indoors, with some time in the garden to exercise a bit. She's eating happily and alert and poos lots. I am very confused. The vet says with Marek's, it starts with limping. Her right leg seems still okay, most times she will lay down but she can stand if she wants to.

    Does Mareks take a long time to kill a chicken? I was heartbroken that she could be put down soon but then she seems healthy otherwise and I should not put her down due to a non working leg??? But honestly it is hard work taking care of her, she is only 7 months I cannot imagine for the rest of her chicken years, I have to be taking care of her like a baby. Having said that I really really love her so much and I don't want to lose her! It's such a dilemma!

    And I am scared that it's Mareks and keep her away from my other two chickens!

    Has anyone's chickens had Mareks and how is the process like? Does it take a long time to kill a chicken?

    We have been giving her cranberry powder, organic coconut oil and St John's wort (in calculated amounts) mixed with her food. She's quite cheeky and only eats chopped tomatoes and mealworms enthusiastically, other food she's fussy!

    I hope to get some help because the vet says the only way to find out Mareks is through biopsy of a dead chicken (roll eyes)

    She hasn't started laying eggs yet. Her picture is in my profile.

    Thanks so much!!!
  2. Mychickenlove

    Mychickenlove New Egg

    Sep 16, 2015
  3. Jchicken311

    Jchicken311 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2014
    Sorry, I haven't had Mareks before.
    She doesn't sound like she has it but, I am not sure.
    Here are the signs of Marek's Disease

    Paralysis of legs, wings, and neck
    Loss of weight
    Grey Iris or irregular pupil
    Vision impairment
    Skin around feather follicles raised and roughened
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    My Coop
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    The woman who compiled "Great Big Giant Mareks thread etc. lost her cochin rooster to Mareks. He had a league of followers (myself included) and was a dream of a rooster. Survivors of Mareks will be carriers for life. Some people believe if you breed the survivors and keep only the robust ones that follow, you can produce some Mareks resistant stock. It would truly be great if this does come to pass.
  6. mom98312

    mom98312 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 11, 2015
    Seabeck WA
    Lay off the Tomatoes.. they are in the Night Shade family.. is one suggestion.. and OVER dose on the St John's Wort.. and all the rest of the flock too.. spread it over their treats.. I've had an 8 week old pullet literally fall down and could not walk.... Isolated her.. and immediately upped her D3 and Vitamins/electrolytes. Made her a Hospital ward in the Run so she could see her siblings. Within two weeks she was recovered enough to go in with the flock.. She looked like the wrath of something.. because she could not scratch out her feathers and there were baby feathers stuck under her new plumage. After a bath and a good drying.. her looks improved.. and has taken her top place in the pecking pullet order once again. Don't give up.. everyone said for me to kill her.. I refused.. I said heal her.. and we did.
  7. ginacleaner

    ginacleaner Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 18, 2015
    I have losed a hen to Marek's Disease. we sadly couldnt save her, in the end we had to kill her.[​IMG][​IMG]
    there is no current tretment to Marek's Disease. But there is a vactination![​IMG]
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK

    Unfortunately it could still be Marek's Disease despite not getting dramatically worse. I have it in my flock and I've had birds go lame, completely recover a few days later and then have a second and on one occasion a third attack weeks or even months later. The paralysis is progressively worse in secondary attacks but I won't give up on them until they have no hope or quality of life warrants culling. Some strains of Marek's are much more severe and virulent than others. It sounds like yours might be a mild one like mine so don't give up hope. Keeping them happy and stress free is the key. My bet would be that the change in hormones as she reaches point of lay may have triggered it, or perhaps the attentions of a rooster if you have one. I haven't had a case of Marek's for about 9 months and I've had broody hens rear 4 lots of chicks within the flock over the summer, bred from birds that have survived the initial outbreak. In the past couple of days I've had one of the younger chicks dragging one wing and I'm trying to convince myself that it's injured rather than Marek's but out of 23 chicks this summer, only one showing a possible symptom now isn't too bad.
    I hope with your support, that your pullets makes some progress and is able to return to the flock at some point in the future. I had one last year that made a miraculous recovery after 4 or 5 weeks of mostly lying propped up in a nest. She was bright eyed and keen to eat and I couldn't cull her. Once the weather improved last Spring and I was able to put her out in a cage on the grass in the sunshine with the other hens foraging around her she really started to get more movement and eventually she was able to make her own way back to the coup on a night when I opened the cage... she even laid me 3 or 4 eggs a week although they had strange shaped shells. Sadly, one night I was late to put them away and she was taken by a fox along with a few others. I was heart broken because she was such a poppet. It was a bit of a pain looking after her when she was poorly but worth every moment when I started to see her improve. I have had others that completely recovered from the first attack and never had another one and one that went lame and learned to hop and was amazingly agile and never got any better or any worse. And a couple I had to cull because they got really bad.... you have to judge each one on it's merits.
    I tried to make mine eat things that I thought would be good for them but in the end I decided that them enjoying their food was more important than me trying to feed them something that they didn't want and stressing them and me in the process.

    Good luck with her.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by