Paralyzed Hen/Mareks?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Corey NC, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Corey NC

    Corey NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    North Carolina
    Quote:I know someone knows the answers to these question. [​IMG]
     
  2. kindrcop

    kindrcop Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 1, 2008
    This sounds just like my chicken that I thought had broken her leg. She is a Buff, too.
    She lays with one leg out. Eats..poop looks normal. So don't give up? It's been 3 days.
     
  3. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    The common form of Marek's causes paralysis and used to be called Range Paralysis. The classic posture when only one leg is affected is having that leg stick straight back. However, any paralysis can be an indication of Marek's. Mareks is not painful and if kept quiet and in a confined area with food and water in easy reach it may survive. Marek's is caused by a herpes virus and is everywhere in the environment where birds have been (including wild birds). It is found worldwide and no outside property is immune to having it. Most unvaccinated birds have it dormant in their system. In most birds the disease stays latent. Outbreaks can be triggered by stress, exposure to birds with active Marek's or seemingly nothing at all. Some viral strains are more potent than others. Do not give any of your birds away without warning the recipients if it turns out that your bird has Marek's. I would not take them to shows either. If you get any new birds, please make sure that they are vaccinated as day olds. There is a lot of bad information on the internet regarding Marek's. There are old wives tales that vaccinated birds are carriers of Marek's and shouldn't be put with uninfected birds. That is a bunch of crap. Here is a link to a previous post.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=39918

    I hope your bird doesn't have Marek's, but paralysis is a pretty good indication. Most birds are first effected in the left leg then the right. Next comes the wings, then the neck. Occasionally the paralysis will start with the wings or neck, but usually the legs go first. If your bird gets intensive care and is confined to a small area (and she has some luck), she may survive and be able to walk again. I will warn you that the recovery is slow. As long as she is eating and drinking, I would give her a chance. If the paralysis gets to the neck, there is no recovery because she will no longer be able to drink or eat.

    You will have to decide if she is a pet or a commodity. The treatment is cheap (just food and water and a cage). But, it is time consuming and emotionally draining. I had one that recovered after three weeks and is still fine more than a year later. She limps but seems happy. She was in the cage for three weeks. My neighbor lost one within 48 hours to Mareks (it hit the neck first). She also has one that was caged for two weeks before the disease went into remission, and 6 months later it came back.

    Good luck
    Jody
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  4. Corey NC

    Corey NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    North Carolina
    so would it be unwise to bring chickens to a poultry sale?
     
  5. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Quote:I wouldn't do it. They have already been exposed to an active case of Marek's. The stress of being at a sale could trigger the disease in them. Also, they may be shedding an active virus that could infect the new owners other birds. Even if you go to the sale without them, as a courtesy to the other bird owners, make sure that you are not wearing clothes or shoes that have not been laundered or sanitized since they were exposed to your birds. The active virus can be carried on your clothes and shoes.
     
  6. Corey NC

    Corey NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    North Carolina
    Then what in the world am I suppose to do with all of these extra cockerels! I had been planning on selling them an I can't cull them.....

    They live a good bit away from where the hen was is there any chance they're not infected with the active part?

    What about chicks that are hatched here? Are eggs from my flock infected?
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  7. kindrcop

    kindrcop Out Of The Brooder

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    THanks for all the good info. Do I have to worry that the others will come down with it? She is separated from them as soon as I saw she was limping. I have her in the front yard sitting/laying in some cool St. Augustine grass under a tree. At night, I put her in a dog carried on the porch.

    I've noticed some people say they have had to "cull" a hen. Is that putting her down? I know this is sad, but how do you do it? What is the best way..if you can put it that way.
     
  8. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    There is always a chance they are not infected, but it's a small chance. They may never show clinical symptoms, but they have most likely been exposed. The virus is easily carried on your clothes and shoes. As far as hatching, the eggs themselves will not be infected, however, once they hatch they will be immediately exposed to it if they are in the coop or with infected birds. You will be probably stuck like I am with hatching in incubators in the house. The ones I hatched this year were kept in brooders in the house. I vaccinated them as chicks and had them under strict quarantine for 10 days following the vaccination. Their brooders, lights and dishes were sanitized. When I went to the coop, I left my shoes outside, changed my clothes and scrubbed my hands before going in to where the chicks were. Some people just take their chances and hope it doesn't manifest itself again. However, it is not fair to take the birds to a sale and risk everybody. If you need to get rid of some, advertise in the paper or on Craig's list. Be totally honest with anybody responding to the ad. Most people buying roosters are buying them to butcher. They may not care if they are going to be killed immediately anyway. The meat is fine if there are no clinical symptoms. You could also find someone in your area that butchers and have them butcher the chickens for you and put them in your own freezer. Sorry. Marek's is a real bummer.
     
  9. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Quote:Your others may or may not develop the disease, but they will be carriers. Yes, culling is killing. Only you can decide if your hen should be put down. Your chickens have been exposed anyway, so why not give her a chance. Marek's itself is painless. The pain comes from injuries the chicken gets flopping around when they can't use their legs. Rest is the best thing. Put her in a small cage with food and water right in front of her. Clean the cage every day and leave her in it 24/7 until she shows that she can use both legs. With enough rest, the disease may go into remission. Personally, my chickens are mostly pets. I don't cut anybody's head off or wring their neck. DH or my neighbor could possibly do something like that for me if needed. Generally, I let the local farm vet humanely put down anybody that is suffering.
     
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  10. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    Corey,
    Please google pictures of Marek's disease to determine if your hen has it, because it has a very distinct appearance, and you hen may have something else. I would not assume she has Marek's if she doesn't have the characteristic "hurdle" stance with one leg front and one leg back.

    She definitely is not getting enough nutrition at this point, which can make her weak enough so that her legs don't work.

    You say she has no parasites, but lice can be hard to detect, especially if they're in the egg phase. Is she preening more than normal? Lice can cause malnutrition and hence the legs not working.

    Chickens can also get a viral infection through the back of their knees from sleeping in too much poop which causes lameness.

    There are other things too which can cause lameness.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008

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