Mareks question

Bostonburbs

Chirping
May 16, 2019
43
28
54
Westford, MA
I brought my 21 month old barred rock to the vet a little over one month ago. She had been showing signs of lameness (which wasn’t the first time we witnessed this in her), and finally really struggling to get up. After three weeks of isolation, no roosting, etc, I wasn’t seeing much improvement, so brought her to the vet to check in.

The vet said she saw major weight loss and signs of neurological impact. (Her toes were curled under, and she failed to self-correct while standing.) She tested for lead (negative) and said she was afraid it is Mareks. She gave us ten days of anti inflammatory, just in case that took care of a mystery she couldn’t see/feel, and said we would know when it was time to come back if it’s Mareks.

A month+ later, she’s still very thin, but happy, sweet, eating and getting around better. We have her isolated from her flockmates in the run, and bring her inside the house to a crate at night. I still don’t know that she could manage a ramp, and definitely wouldn’t get to the roost at night.

My question: is it a terrible idea to put her back in with her flockmates? (She lives with four other hens, all the same age.) I know this seems crazy, but I don’t think she’s “going anywhere” real soon, and the extra work of the divided run and nighttime isolation is not so fun. Do you feel that we would be seeing faster deterioration if this is Mareks? She coos, loves to free range with us, and maintains quite the personality. I’m confused, and would appreciate your input!
 

theoldchick

The Chicken Whisperer
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
May 11, 2010
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I'd be worried about how the other hens would treat her. They may attack her due to her weakened condition.
 

Bostonburbs

Chirping
May 16, 2019
43
28
54
Westford, MA
Absolutely, this is my first concern. She used to be at the top of the pecking order, and they have nicely re-organized themselves. ;) They are pretty docile group, which is the only reason I am even considering it.
 

Birdie mom

Songster
Mar 27, 2020
786
1,497
216
Fayetteville NC
I believe Mareks is highly contagious, so you might not want to put her with the others. However, if she has been around other chickens and they don't seem to be effected, then it might be possible that they have built up immunity. I agree that putting her back with the other hens might be risky, but it may be worth a shot. What is your current setup? Can the other chickens see her through the fence? If so, then it is possible that they are already used to interacting with her.
 

Bostonburbs

Chirping
May 16, 2019
43
28
54
Westford, MA
Yes, after reading about Mareks, this is why I’m here asking; “highly contagious,” and yet she seems to be getting along well except for her legs being a little weaker than the rest.

We literally just put up some chicken wire to keep them apart, so they are all still “together.”
 

Bostonburbs

Chirping
May 16, 2019
43
28
54
Westford, MA
I guess what I’m really wondering is: does this sound like Mareks? That she would be really struggling, then show marked improvement but not a full 100%?

We have kept them separated for the health and safety of the flock, but she is bright eyed and not showing any other signs of neurological deterioration. I was thinking that we would start to see her go downhill if it truly was the right diagnosis.
 
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Birdie mom

Songster
Mar 27, 2020
786
1,497
216
Fayetteville NC
yeah.. IDK... I had some chicks a while ago who I though had Mareks, the ones survived never were sick again. So maybe she does have it and is just recovering :confused:

If it is as contagious as I think it is, then it is likely that your other birds have already been exposed ( especially if they are only separated by some wire), and therefore shouldn't get sick now.
 

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