Mareks success

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by flyflytn, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. flyflytn

    flyflytn Hatching

    Nov 19, 2013
    Hi all,
    I just thought I'd post about my success against Mareks, since I first read about a 'cure' here in BYC. If you search for 'Mareks cure' in BYC you'll see a post by KittyCat who describes about how they created a potion from StJohns wort, which is what I tried using.

    We had 8 chicks hatched last summer (Jan2013) from a single chicken...a case of buying 4 chickens which were 'guaranteed' female, but as it turns out, 2 were roosters....the result was a hen going clucky, and my young children wanting to see if it resulted in baby chicks.....against my better judgement! I softened and let them carry on.
    7 hatched altogether, and then the mother abandoned the last 3 eggs....we left them in the hutch, and about a week later one of the hatched without the mother was so hot she didn't need to!

    The last chick was always weaker and smaller than the others, the kids named her 'Tiny'. 4 of the 8 turned out as roosters, so we gave them away. 1 sister died suddenly, without any symptoms of hindsight maybe mareks.

    Tiny showed some early signs of Mareks (limping foot) at about 7-8 weeks, but I just didn't click as to what it was.....we let it go, and she got better. Then at about 9 months of age she redeveloped the limp, her remaining 2 sisters both died instantly one night without any symptoms Tiny was the last of the 4 females left sadly.

    She was chronically bad - classic Marek's leg splits, one up near her head and the other 180 degrees from that. I was going to man-up and pull her neck, but I decided not to since she wasn't in any pain it appeared, but she was totally crippled and had lost 3/4 of her weight. I read Kittykat's 'cure' and eventual demise, but not disheartened I decided to have a go.

    I separated her into a small cat carrier cage, and fed her by holding her upright 2-3 times a day.I tried to create the StJohn's potion KittyKat described a few times, but KittyKat talks about the potion needing distilled water, since the contamination nullifies the active ingredient, Hypericum. KittyKat only said the patient need 10 drops of water of the potion, but I decided that it was too hit-and-miss, so I tried something else.

    I cut sultanas in half, crushed 1/2 a tablet of StJohn's Wort (2800mg tablets) down to fragments of about 1-2mm cubed, and shoved the fragments into the sultana halves. I fed this to Tiny twice a day, which she gobbled down quite happily, and the sultanas also boosted her energy. My logic was that the Hypericum would only be marginally 'contaminated' this way - the majority would go straight into the stomach and be properly absorbed, rather than trying the quite diluted potion of KittyKat's.

    After about a week, Tiny could sit upright rather than sprawled out like road kill. She couldn't balance, and had the jitters badly in her legs, but it was an improvement. By the end of the second week, she could stand upright for short periods of time. By the end of the 3rd week, Tiny was walking around the yard, pecking around like a normal chicken, but her walk was a drunken, weak one. Its now 3.5 weeks, and she is running in the yard (slightly sideways), but she's a lot stronger and behaving almost completely normally, and quite strong in the legs.....she's scratching around, digging and running. Each day she's slightly better.

    I should also mention that compassion in some animals for others can be astounding....our pet dog, a Sheltie, also looked after Tiny. Several times I spied on the dog without him knowing, and I saw him on more than 3-4 occasions push the water and food bowls up to Tiny so she could eat/drink....he also chased away pesky Myna birds and the other chickens so that nothing molested Tiny. His concern for her was amazing, whenever I fed her, he would watch intently and softly place his paw on my arm and look at me like a nurse tending a patient. Amazing.

    Give it a go. I'm not sure if the StJohns helped her, or whether it was just time / care that she had that cured her.

  2. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Crowing

    Jan 25, 2008
    Northern KY
    Very intriguing! Was this St. John's Wort in homeopathic form? Or as a supplement? I'm glad it worked for her, regardless!
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing


    Wow what a great recovery story!
  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    Wow! I didn't know there was a cure for Mareks disease?? Thanks for sharing your story!
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Some might call me call me "Captain Buzz Kill", lol, but please do a follow up in a year and let us know how your hen is doing. Like you I have had some that seem to recover, but they all end up dying in 6-12 months. [​IMG]

  6. flyflytn

    flyflytn Hatching

    Nov 19, 2013
    It was the dietary supplement variety.
  7. flyflytn

    flyflytn Hatching

    Nov 19, 2013
    Yes well that's true. I grew up on a farm so I know how fragile chickens are....I too am skeptical - its probably not a cure which is why I used the word in quotes. But my point I suppose is that this chicken is happy enough, and I didn't have to neck it. Our others must have been immunized since they're untouched, its only the 'natural hatched' ones that succumbed except this one. If it lasts another 12 months, then it will have outlived battery hens which only get 18 months typically.

    I'm also interested in finding out if any research/results are out there for Mareks chickens that are cared for like this (intensive care) - can their immune system develop a defense, given the time to do so ? It seems that everyone just knocks off their chickens so we never know - I googled for a couple of hours, and cannot find any information about long term survivability, there's just lots of talk about immunization at < 36 hours, and then euthanasia for infected ones after that.

    Anyway, the progress is that I've stopped giving Tiny her treatment, she's running around the yard doing chicken things, and my next problem is merging her back into the coop as the others are attacking her because they've forgotten who she is!

  8. flyflytn

    flyflytn Hatching

    Nov 19, 2013
    Well I wouldn't call it a 'cure', just a success of survival. See comments from casportpony and my reply ..... I think its just a reprieve....but so far so good.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  9. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I'm really glad Tiny is on the mend! But, from a pure scientific standpoint one must also consider that perhaps Tiny had some other medical problems that the St. Johns Wort helped with. Her start on life was not the most ideal and I have found that those chickens tend to have lifelong oddities, especially with muscular and neurological problems. It's hard to say if she or her sisters had Marek's. The splits are indeed a symptom, but alone are not worthy of a diagnosis.

    I hope she continues to do well. :)
  10. flyflytn

    flyflytn Hatching

    Nov 19, 2013
    Yep she's still alive and digging, jumping and looking fairly healthy. The only sign left is slight weakness in the legs, she can't jump as high or sprightly as maybe she should. But she almost dug a tunnel recently.

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