My necropsy confirms AE

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickncrazy, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. chickncrazy

    chickncrazy In the Brooder

    I just spoke to the Avian Pathologist at NC State and he confirmed that the 5 chicks I brought to him had Avian Encephalomyelitis. He was very definite about his diagnosis, he said he was certain. The virus is passed from an infected hen to the egg.....then the chick gets it when it hatches and it spreads among other chicks through droppings. Hens may have the virus but they do not show symptoms.......but if they lay an egg that is then hatched, the chick will show the symptoms. Then, the infected chicks pass it to their brooder-mates through droppings. The chicks we have that are still alive have been exposed to AE and almost certainly have the virus, even if they are not showing symptoms. At this point (3 1/2 weeks old) if they are not showing symptoms, he said that they probably will not ever show symptoms. However.......they will not be good layers and, as I said before, if they lay an egg that is hatched, the chick will show the symptoms. (And consequently continue to spread the virus.)

    AE is a reportable disease in North Carolina. He said he has already talked with the USDA and they may be calling me to get some information. He will be sending me an official report tomorrow, and then I will call Murray McMurray to ask for a total refund. I can't imagine that they will refuse.

    I am planning to euthanize the few chicks I have left. I went in on an order with 4 other people and I haven't heard from them yet whether they are going to keep the remaining chicks or not. I'd be happy to discuss anymore if someone wants to PM or email me.
  2. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Oh man...I am so sorry...but at least you know what it was and can make the informed decision. :aww
  3. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    I guess there is some relief in knowing for sure what is going on. I am so very sorry you have had to go through this. I have been following the discussion on the sick chicks. It is very sad and I would guess there is a breeder out there that will be having to replace their stock if the can figure out who has the virus in their breeder flock. I would imagine they will be able to track it down.
  4. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Awww, Im sorry that you got an AE diagnosis, especially since it means culling the rest of the chicks and starting over. [​IMG] That is really a bummer.

    Was the Avian Pathologist able to give you any recommendations regarding sanitizing your brooder or how long to wait before getting new chicks?

    Some of MM's chicks are drop shipped from other hatcheries, do you know whether yours were?

    Thank you for sharing the results with us. Im going to copy your post and add it to silkiechickens thread with test results.

  5. Thank you for posting your results, and I feel your doing the responsible thing by culling the rest. This is a serious matter and having this disease on your property will ruin the rest of your flock.

    This is a real eye opener about isolation for any new stock purchased. I have at times not isolated hatchery stock due to the generally good record of hatcheries. However as this proves even with the best intentions and vaccination programs things can still happen.

    We can all learn from this, and while it's really heartbreaking to loss the whole shipment of chicks it will save you lots of future heartbreak and untold losses.

    So sorry your going through this. Take care of yourself in all this.
  6. barefoot

    barefoot In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2008
    Oh Dear,

    Does this mean that I should cull ALL of my chicks? I have 21 healthies and 8 sick. I am unable to have testing done, but am sure that mine have AE too. (came from MMH on 3/3, lethargic, tremors, not eating well, unable to control legs, diarrhea).

    So, do I need to cull the 21 healthy chicks as well? What are other people doing in this situation? Isn't there a chance that if they're not sick, their parents were vaccinated and they won't continue to pass the disease on?

    I hope someone can provide enlightenment for me. I HATE the idea of destroying my 21 healthy and thriving babies and starting over.

    I thought raising chickens would be a fun and pleasant experience. I've waited for YEARS to have a place where I can keep them and was so excited to finally get this chance. This has instead been the most depressing animal experience I've ever had in my life. Sigh.
  7. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    I suggest you call your state animal health commission or vet and tell him of your symptoms and that other shipments from the same hatchery have AE. They will probably send someone to your property to test the chicks. You can also find out if it is a reportable disease in your state.

    You can find who to contact here:
  8. RedTailRanch

    RedTailRanch Songster

    Mar 19, 2008
    Portland, OR
    My Coop
    Barefoot...I am in the EXACT same boat as you. I have waited over 25 years to have enough land to raise some "pet" chickens. My last rooster/pet was in 1983 and now I finally have 30 little chicks. Mine also arrived 3/3/08 (hatched 3/1/08). I lost 2 in shipping and 4 more within 48 hours. I have 8 affected ones, 8 very healthy ones, and 2 on the fence.

    I have been following all the posts on here as well as several other boards and my advice to you is to get several opinions from certified avian veterinarians!


    I am very angry at the poster(s) who is spreading this. I have read up on AE and if you are NOT breeding them for sale, or as your livelyhood, then I would hold off on culling them.

    Chicks that NEVER show any symptoms should do just fine. Ones that recover may never bee great layers or showbirds, but will still be great additions to your home.

    This is just what I understand so far. Culling healthy birds seems like the drastic opinion of a FEW that are probably concerned about additional flocks getting sick. I plan on incubating my own eggs, from my own flock from now on. That way the chicks will have all the natural immunities that my current flock has (including AE). If I do bring in outside chicks, I will make sure that they are immune to AE (either through immunization for adults, or naturally through fighting it off).

    Anyway, I am going to try and step down off my soapbox now. I am VERY sorry that we are dealing with this. But as someone said to me (on BYC) recently...these poor chicks are lucky to have us, because many people out there would not be as sympathetic to their little lives as we are.

    Chris in Spokane
  9. barefoot

    barefoot In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2008
    Thanks Carla and Chris,

    I'm glad to hear your suggestions and opinions. I agree Chris, that it doesn't make sense to kill all the birds. I hope that is the state's stance on it as well!
  10. ChickNLittle

    ChickNLittle Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    Folkston, Georgia
    Well I know FOR SURE I am going to incubate my own eggs, or eggs from people on the byc board. Being as MM is a big hatchery, I'm sure they are going to lose a lot of dinero this chicken season. This is their big ordering time of year. I just hope nobody has already put some AE chicks in with their flocks. (which I'm sure some have). I don't know much about AE, but what I do know is that it is very contagious and also, even if the chicks do not show symptoms they can be carriers. And how would you know if you can't test them, or can't afford to test them, etc. I know people are not happy with MM right now. Last year I had a similiar problem with losing chicks. (I had been using McMurray's for a few years). But anyway, after I tried to replace the dead/dying chicks three times last year, I decided to just start hatching my own and getting from friends. Yes, it could happen to any person hatching eggs etc., but being as McMurrays is very big, I would have thought they were be better regulated. Makes me wonder about the food supply. My opinion, don't chew my head off. Tehe!

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