Marek's got my darling bantie

Eggsitter

In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 10, 2012
88
4
48
southern maine
Hi all, some info to share and seeking some advice...
Back when we knew absolutely nothing about chickens we got into some hatching for a guy and ended up with a bantam hen. He gave us two more who were taken by hawks while we were in the yard w them.
Our original hen was left.
These banties were house chickens who lived in a stylish rabbit cage. I think banties are a perfect house bird.


Clueless, we were eager to find her a pal and we ended up at this crazy farm w pens & pens of ducks & chickens.

He gave us two banties who he said were youngsters.

One laid an egg the following day lol. The other started limping. I thought she hurt her leg.

In a short time she was lame & in a sling. I'm nuts about animals & will do anything for them I can.

Then I researched and learned about Mareks. Ugh.

Moonie, the lame girl was put down with much heartache. We figured since our original hen was two she'd be ok after being exposed. The other hen from the farmer was fine.

This week our original hen got very ill. I thought it was sour crop. It was. But at the vet I learned she was full of tumors - causing the sour crop.

I am sure the tumors are from Marek's and even though she was not a chick, it killed her. She wasn't vaccinated since we hatched her & I thought it only killed chicks. She was 4 when she died this week.

I'm heartbroken. So just a head's up that Marek's can and does kill older birds. And what looks like sour crop could be caused by something more serious. The vet could feel many grape-sized tumors in her bottom. She was starving, in pain and I didn't know it.

Feel around in your ill birds for lumps. Maybe you can help to avoid suffering that will come.

Now for my dilemma - I have one house hen w Marek's. She's here w us in the house w our dog. Is it safe for us to inhale the dander? I hope so bc she's lived inside for 2 years.

And even tho she's alone she does have us right here. I don't want to expose another chicken and she's about 3 or 4 so I don't expect her to live a long time w Marek's.

Would you put her down now or let her be? When she sees me now that she's alone she purrs and chirps like when she finds a fat grub. She's happy she's not alone and busy with a long molt. We can handle her, she's very tame even tho she was a "wild" chicken when we got her.

I love chickens. These two have been part of my heart and I love them. But chicken keeping is hard when you let them in your heart. They don't live long enough.

Thanks for listening.
 

flocking nuts

Chirping
Jun 13, 2016
106
12
66
Homestead, Florida
I'm sorry. Big hugs.

I told my bf tonight that I really like chickens, I kinda wish we had never got any. The day began with my vicious licking dog getting too excited with our 2.5 month old roo and him being a little beat up but ok and I've spent all evening taking care of a 2 week old chick that's not doing well for some reason. The chick is Robin 2 because Robin, our light Brahma, was killed by the neighbors dogs and my daughter wanted another Robin.

Thanks for the heads up.
Wendy
 

Eggsitter

In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 10, 2012
88
4
48
southern maine
Apple cider vinegar can help a sick chick...and keep it in your sleeve or tucked in a sports bra where it can be cozy.

I wish I could do that w my hen. She seems depressed like reality hit. Her best friend won't be back. I'm just as depressed.
 

BabyandCotton

Songster
Jun 14, 2016
855
80
108
Florida
This is most likely not mareks. I personally don't believe it is. Your inside hen seems fine. The one with tumors got them from older age. And the one with a limp, had a limp.
 

Eggsitter

In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 10, 2012
88
4
48
southern maine
Thanks BabyandCotton and I wish that was true :( but from what I understand if the hen I got from the farmer was vaccinated she would be protected but still be a carrier to infect the hen who just died. I suspect Moonie was never vaccinated by the farmer whose operation was questionable at best.
I posted here on Moonie as she lost the use of both legs completely. The hen I just lost had a Marek's limp but she got the tumor kind of Marek's, not the "loss of her legs" type.

Here is my post on Moonie's decline https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/817362/not-broken-leg-mareks#post_11875755

I'm pretty sure the hen I have left has Marek's but the vaccine protects from symptoms - for now. The stress of losing her friend could bring them on from what I've read.
 
Last edited:

BabyandCotton

Songster
Jun 14, 2016
855
80
108
Florida
Even of she does have it, it may be a while before she starts showing symptoms . The biggest symptoms of mareks are 'keyhole' pupils, spasms, and failure to stand. A limp doesn't mean mareks, mostly. A cold, limp leg that won't move could mean mareks.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
36,698
51,601
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
Sorry for your loss.

Unfortunately the only way you will know for sure if it is Marek's is to have a necropsy and diagnostic performed. This is something you may want to consider. You can contact your local or state lab or extension office, they will be able to direct you.
While the vaccine will help prevent tumor formation, but doesn't prevent infection by the virus.
Unless you get chicks from a large hatchery, you will most likely not get vaccinated chicks, some breeders do vaccinate, but it is unlikely a smaller operation will vaccinate.

There are several other diseases/disorders that can "mimic" Marek's. Those are discussed in the first link.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/90/mareks-disease/
https://www.beautyofbirds.com/mareksdisease.html
 

Eggsitter

In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 10, 2012
88
4
48
southern maine
Thanks Wyorp - I won't have the necropsy but assuming it's Marek's - especially based on the death of Moonie who had the classic "one leg forward and one back" paralysis, would you put the remaining hen down or let her live as a solitary house chicken? I'm pretty convinced it's Marek's.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
36,698
51,601
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
Hi all, some info to share and seeking some advice...
Back when we knew absolutely nothing about chickens we got into some hatching for a guy and ended up with a bantam hen. He gave us two more who were taken by hawks while we were in the yard w them.
Our original hen was left.
These banties were house chickens who lived in a stylish rabbit cage. I think banties are a perfect house bird.


Clueless, we were eager to find her a pal and we ended up at this crazy farm w pens & pens of ducks & chickens.

He gave us two banties who he said were youngsters.

One laid an egg the following day lol. The other started limping. I thought she hurt her leg.

In a short time she was lame & in a sling. I'm nuts about animals & will do anything for them I can.

Then I researched and learned about Mareks. Ugh.

Moonie, the lame girl was put down with much heartache. We figured since our original hen was two she'd be ok after being exposed. The other hen from the farmer was fine.

This week our original hen got very ill. I thought it was sour crop. It was. But at the vet I learned she was full of tumors - causing the sour crop.

I am sure the tumors are from Marek's and even though she was not a chick, it killed her. She wasn't vaccinated since we hatched her & I thought it only killed chicks. She was 4 when she died this week.

I'm heartbroken. So just a head's up that Marek's can and does kill older birds. And what looks like sour crop could be caused by something more serious. The vet could feel many grape-sized tumors in her bottom. She was starving, in pain and I didn't know it.

Feel around in your ill birds for lumps. Maybe you can help to avoid suffering that will come.

Now for my dilemma - I have one house hen w Marek's. She's here w us in the house w our dog. Is it safe for us to inhale the dander? I hope so bc she's lived inside for 2 years.

And even tho she's alone she does have us right here. I don't want to expose another chicken and she's about 3 or 4 so I don't expect her to live a long time w Marek's.

Would you put her down now or let her be? When she sees me now that she's alone she purrs and chirps like when she finds a fat grub. She's happy she's not alone and busy with a long molt. We can handle her, she's very tame even tho she was a "wild" chicken when we got her.

I love chickens. These two have been part of my heart and I love them. But chicken keeping is hard when you let them in your heart. They don't live long enough.

Thanks for listening. No one can recommend whether you should put her down or not.

I quickly browsed through your other thread, Moonie passed 3yrs. ago?
You've seen no sign/symptoms of Marek's in your remaining chicken and she is 3or4yrs. old?

I'm sorry you just lost one of your girls to sour crop - she had tumors or lesions? in her bottom? Cocci can be one a "silent partner" or underlying condition of sour crop-this will cause intestinal lesions, also other types of cancers (including Marek's) can cause the tumors as well. Classic one leg forward one back can of course be Marek's, but also a vitamin deficiency, Avian Lymphoid Leukosis or even internal laying/reproductive disorders are also possibilities. So without necropsy you will have to "guess" as to the cause of death.

If it Marek's, she may live symptom free for a long time, I would assume since she is 3or4yrs old, then if you were to see any symptoms of Marek's it would have already presented. Not to say, if she weren't vaccinated, should could be developing tumors or in the future have something like Peritonitis, etc (internal problems). At that age, just about anything can start to go wrong. If you do have Marek's in/on your property (it lives a long time in the environment), then regardless of any chicken you bring in will be exposed, vaccination will help in deterring tumors, but even vaccinated chicks can develop symptoms and of course the virus can be shed, it's not 100% insurance that your chicks won't get sick or develop paralysis, etc.
 

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