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Pullet has bad legs - Vit D or Merecks?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Keltie, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Keltie

    Keltie Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Our 4 month old frizzle does not seem well. When we got her a month ago, she seemed a little clumsy, but now seems worse. We've checked her legs and feet, and nothing noticeable. She can hobble along, doesn't seem as though right or left leg is obviously worse, but she often seems to lose her balance and fall over. She quickly rights herself and keeps going. She also is sitting down a lot. She is eating and drinking, and seems to have energy (she'll race around the run occasionally if another hen pecks at her).

    Our other birds we got at the same time and roughly the same age (but all from a different flock than her, oops, we didn't know about quarantine, we're new to this and I really wanted a frizzle!) all seem super healthy and are growing quickly. They don't pick on her specifically.

    I've been trying to determine what seems weird about her walk. Maybe her legs from the knees down (are those knees??) seem to angle forward more than the other birds, which seem to have straighter lower legs, situated right under their body.

    Anyways, I've been doing lots of online research to try and figure out what it may be. I'm REALLY hoping it's not Marecks, but doesn't seem to affect her wings (though she's never really tried flying so hard to say) and haven't noticed anything weird about her eyes. What about rickets? She is too young to be laying, so she's not losing calcium to eggs. We feed them a layer feed, and toss in some veggie scraps and salmon skin when we have some. We also toss them slugs from the garden. They have a covered run that is not in direct sun, but it seems crazy that the frizzle would have a severe Vit D deficiency and the others would be fine.

    Any ideas, or ways to further diagnose her?

    Thanks! She's a pretty loveable little runt.
     
  2. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2011
    One thing I noticed right off. Layer feed should not be fed until after the pullets are laying. It contains too much calcium and can do irreversible damage to the kidneys. How long have you been feeding the layer to the frizzle?

    It is always a risk to bring in started birds. You never know what you are introducing into your flock. There is no quarantine period for some diseases. Marek's is one such disease. Was she 'clumsy' when you purchased her? I don't want to sound preachy but, it is never a good idea to purchase any animal that shows signs of illness/injury at the time of purchase. Ok, I'll jump down off of my soapbox now.

    There are several things that this could be. Coccidiosis...although, I think she would have died by now. Vitamin deficiency is another possibility. I would purchase poly vi sol, without iron, and give her .5mls per day. I would also get 400 ius of Vitamin E and give her one twice daily. You should see improvement within 2 weeks. If she doesn't improve or, gets worse then you are dealing with something worse then a vitamin deficiency.

    My advice...get all chicks off of layer feed until they are laying eggs. You can do this in two ways. Separate the layers from the nonlayers or, switch everyone to flock raiser and provide oyster shell for the layers.

    I am thinking that you are not dealing with Marek's. Your frizzle wouldn't have lived this long with a Marek's infection. Since she was like this when you purchased her, it could be left over problems that were present at hatch or, from a previous bout with Coccidiosis. Either way, I wouldn't want to use her for any breeding program. She may pass these weaknesses along.

    Good luck with your frizzle! Please keep us informed :)
     
  3. hoggie1985

    hoggie1985 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2012
    Sarnia,Ontario
    HI Keltie, I have a 9-10wk Bantam Cochin that is exibiting the exact same symptoms that you are descibing.... I just saw leadwolf1 reply and wanted to know if you had try'd what they recommened??? I'm heading to Tractor Supply Centre tonight to pick up some vitamin supplements and also thought it couldn't hurt getting some Red Lake Earth,Diatomaceous Earth with Calcium Bentonite 20lb bag. Leadwolf1, I also have been feeding my girls the layer feed.....I think I'll grab a bag of Flock Raiser. I did not know there was that much of a differance in the feed.... If anyone else has info on this please comment. Thanks
     
  4. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are threads on here about people losing chickens to kidney problems that was caused by feeding layer to chickens that were not of laying age. They are complete with necropsy reports. I don't have them bookmarked, sorry. A search will probably reveal them. I do know that purina start and grow recommends that be fed through week 18. Again, sorry that I don't have the info readily available...do a quick search and you should be able to find a number of threads with the information you are seeking.
     
  5. Keltie

    Keltie Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Hi thanks a bunch. Happy to hear that there's a good chance this is not Marecks. I will pick up some vitamins and grower feed today and put the frizzle in a dog crate "hospital" to make sure she's getting enough to eat, etc.
    (hoggie1985, I just got this advice this am so no have not tried it yet!)

    We were told by the guy who gave us our 5 other (healthy) pullets of same age that layer feed was fine for them now, and as he taught us our course in backyard hen keeping, we didn't think to question this advice. However, those five had been getting layer feed already for a month or so before we got them, whereas the frizzle we got at a farm supply store and I'm not sure what they were feeding her - I do know that we have fed her layer feed since we got her about a month ago.

    And now that I've read more, I wouldn't repeat my mistake about introducing a new bird to a closed flock, but I didn't know any better and wanted a frizzle really badly, so when the farm supply store said they had one I basically said "I'll take her!" sight unseen. So I'm not sure if she was acting clumsy at that point or not.

    Thanks again for your response...one question - should I dribble the vitamins in her beak, or put it in her water, or soak food in water/vitamin solution?

    Cheers
     
  6. Keltie

    Keltie Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Here are a few photos of Millie. The first one shows how her leg kind of juts forward, the second is her in her preferred sitting position for feeding, etc. The legs go way out in front of her, and she often falls backwards. We watched her closely for quite a while this morning, and it seems like it is her left leg. When we examined her though, it didn't seem like there was any pain so it doesn't seem as though she is injured.
    (sorry, despite multiple attempts to rotate the photo, I can't get the first photo to show up oriented correctly!)


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  7. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will tell you that I don't like the looks of that stance. I've seen it way too many times. However, the history and time period are not indicative of Marek's. Quarantining her is the way to go. If she gets worse, I would have her euthanized and a necropsy performed. You can find out all the information you need by calling your local government extension office. You can then be prepared if the worst happens.
     
  8. Keltie

    Keltie Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Update: we put Millie down today. We had tried giving her electrolyte and switched food for all the birds. She seemed to improve a lot, standing tall on her legs and only a slight limp. Then she got worse again. We came back from a week holiday to find her immobile - much much worse. We took her to the vet yesterday, and were told it was most likely Merecks. Vet gave her a multi vitamin injection and sprayed her for lice. We kept her inside in a dog crate to stay warm. This morning, her legs were splayed out classic Merecks style and she couldn't get up. So sad. She got a good last meal of worms, and then we said goodbye.

    Now we are concerned about our 5 other birds who had been in the coop with her for the last 2 months. They are 5 months old and all seem very healthy. Not much we can do at this point, just wait and see, but what are the chances that after being exposed for 2 months with no visible symptoms, they are resistant or otherwise won't get it? Breeder said they weren't vaccinated.
     

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