Pretty sure it's Marek's disease...

Wonderling

Chirping
Mar 25, 2018
49
65
80
Oregon
Here a picture from last week of my handsome boy, Glasspoole:
Glasspoole.png


My almost-6th month old Australorp/Mystery-mix-breed cockerel (pictured above) seemed sore on one leg yesterday so we moved him into the small section on the coop so he could recover from what I assumed was a pulled muscle since I couldn't find any break. Today he's having issues with his other leg as well, so now I'm pretty sure it's Marek's disease. This year is the first time I've ever hatched eggs and you guessed it, I didn't vaccinate which I'm now kicking myself for. Honestly though it would have been so expensive to buy a 1,000 dose bottle for each batch of 2-4 chicks I hatched which is what made me decide against it.

Here's my question...do I just put him down?
I'm guessing yes...it's just so disheartening.

I have 4 other chicks (2 pullets/2 cockerels) that are still a month or two younger than him who are fine...for now. From what I'm reading they'll either show signs and need to be put down or they'll be carriers. Crossing my fingers that they just end up as carriers but only time will tell.

Anyone else gone through a similar experience? I think I'm just really feeling bad because I know this is my fault but at the time I thought it was a calculated risk. Since this was all very new I didn't really have the experience to realize the actual risk I was taking. Though this is heart wrenching I'm trying to accept it as a painful learning experience but I could really use a comment or two letting me know I'm not the only one who's made this kind of error and recovered their chicken keeping spirit.

All future plans are: either aim to hatch 15 or more at a time and vaccinate, or simply buy from a hatchery and have them already vaccinated. Thus the cost is approximately the same.

Update: Going to give him vitamins and keep an eye on him for a couple days to see if his condition improves. Future updates will be in the comments.
 
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GrayChickens

Songster
Nov 22, 2019
115
289
124
Here a picture from last week of my handsome boy, Glasspoole:
View attachment 1971989

My almost-6th month old Australorp/Mystery-mix-breed cockerel (pictured above) seemed sore on one leg yesterday so we moved him into the small section on the coop so he could recover from what I assumed was a pulled muscle since I couldn't find any break. Today he's having issues with his other leg as well, so now I'm pretty sure it's Marek's disease. This year is the first time I've ever hatched eggs and you guessed it, I didn't vaccinate which I'm now kicking myself for. Honestly though it would have been so expensive to buy a 1,000 dose bottle for each batch of 2-4 chicks I hatched which is what made me decide against it.

Here's my question...do I just put him down?
I'm guessing yes...it's just so disheartening.
I'm currently planning to dispatch him this evening so it should be less stressful for him to be removed from the coop if he's half asleep.

I have 4 other chicks (2 pullets/2 cockerels) that are still a month or two younger than him who are fine...for now. From what I'm reading they'll either show signs and need to be put down or they'll be carriers. Crossing my fingers that they just end up as carriers but only time will tell.

Anyone else gone through a similar experience? I think I'm just really feeling bad because I know this is my fault but at the time I thought it was a calculated risk. Since this was all very new I didn't really have the experience to realize the actual risk I was taking. Though this is heart wrenching I'm trying to accept it as a painful learning experience but I could really use a comment or two letting me know I'm not the only one who's made this kind of error and recovered their chicken keeping spirit.

All future plans are: either aim to hatch 15 or more at a time and vaccinate, or simply buy from a hatchery and have them already vaccinated. Thus the cost is approximately the same.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
17,830
20,825
912
Colorado Rockies
Has a chicken from your flock been previously diagnosed with Marek's? Usually a necropsy will give you this information.

Marek's isn't the only thing that can cause lameness. A CRD can cause inflammation of the legs. It's treatable with an antibiotic. Exposure to petroleum distillates, such as motor oil or transmission fluid, can cause lameness. Vitamin E and B complex treatment often can repair the damage.

There's scaly leg mite that can cause pain and the chicken will favor its affected legs. A nasty bruise between the toes can cause enough pain the chicken won't feel like walking. Aspirin can alleviate the pain so the chicken will walk again.

I think culling is premature.
 

Lelilamom

Songster
6 Years
Feb 28, 2013
428
119
166
What makes you think it's definitely Marek's? If he pulled a muscle and was favoring the leg, he could have pulled the muscle in the other leg. Out of curiosity, what does hatching chicks have to do with Mareks? Perhaps I'm a bit naive and not a little uneducated but farms have been hatching chicks for generations without vaccinating and haven't had Marek's wiping out their flocks. Is Marek's so prevalent that our flocks are in danger from every unvaccinated bird?
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
10,013
64,688
1,302
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Marek's disease really isn't something one should assume.
You shouldn't be thinking about replacing any of your flock until you are certain what you are dealing with.
If you have Marek's disease in your flock that's your chicken keeping over regarding new additions.
So, before killing any chickens I would wait and see what happens to the one you think is showing symptoms and in the event it dies get a necropsy done. Then think about what to do.
 

Peepsi

Songster
Apr 1, 2017
439
1,504
222
Utah
Ah, poor guy! Don't cull him yet. Like everyone else said, you don't know if it's Marek's yet. Quaratine him, watch his symptoms, consider other diseases or problems, and treat. If he dies, then definitely send his body to your state's Animal Health Lab or Veterinarian Diagnostics lab at the Oregon State University to have a professional look at what the cause of death was.
 

Wonderling

Chirping
Mar 25, 2018
49
65
80
Oregon
Thanks for the input everyone, I'll get him some vitamins and keep an eye on him for a few days to keep an eye on him and see what could be going on in case it isn't Marek's. I kind of went to a worst case scenario I suppose, but still being new to this when I looked up the symptoms I was seeing Marek's as being most likely.

His legs look fine so I don't think it's mites. Honestly looks healthy besides the sudden legs not working thing, I checked both legs yesterday when we first noticed and other than him not walking on the one they looked and felt fine.
 
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azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
17,830
20,825
912
Colorado Rockies
No need to quarantine him. If this roo has Marek's the entire flock has it, too. But, it's premature to conclude it's Marek's.

Bruises on chicken legs and feet appear as very faint greenish spots. Look at the webbing between the toes for these signs of bruising. A stubbed toe is every bit as painful to a chicken as it is to humans.

Also examine his toes for broken talons or hangnails which can be very painful. Look at the bottoms of his feet if you haven't already done so. Bumblefoot can cripple a chicken. Look for dark scabs. If any of his scales aren't perfectly smooth and flush with the leg, scaly leg mites could be getting a running start at him.

Try giving him one whole baby aspirin (81 grain) If he has an injury, that might clue you to it by relieving the pain enough so he feels like standing and walking.
 

Peepsi

Songster
Apr 1, 2017
439
1,504
222
Utah
No need to quarantine him. If this roo has Marek's the entire flock has it, too. But, it's premature to conclude it's Marek's.

Bruises on chicken legs and feet appear as very faint greenish spots. Look at the webbing between the toes for these signs of bruising. A stubbed toe is every bit as painful to a chicken as it is to humans.

Also examine his toes for broken talons or hangnails which can be very painful. Look at the bottoms of his feet if you haven't already done so. Bumblefoot can cripple a chicken. Look for dark scabs. If any of his scales aren't perfectly smooth and flush with the leg, scaly leg mites could be getting a running start at him.

Try giving him one whole baby aspirin (81 grain) If he has an injury, that might clue you to it by relieving the pain enough so he feels like standing and walking.
But isn't it better to get him away from the others? It might be another disease that can be passed on slowly to other chickens in the flock, and quarantining might stop some of that. Also, what about pecking? The other birds might see him as weak and easy to bully. Quarantine is not just to make sure he doesn't give the other chickens a disease, it's for his own safety as well. I'd never leave a sick chicken in with other chickens, at the very least for fear of the sick chicken being bullied. Chickens aren't exactly compassionate (but they make up for it by being cute!)
 

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