Question For Those Familiar With Marek's

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by microchick, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    I have a question that I hope somebody can answer.

    I have four standard sized roosters left in my flock of Buff Orpington, Welsummer and BO/W cross birds. 25 young OEGB/bantam, about a 50/50 split on male and female birds.

    I also have Marek's in my flock. I've lost one 9 week old pullet to classic paralysis and one to cardiac problems at POL but what has really been hit hard has been my roosters. So far I have lost all of my mature birds at the age of 2 years or less. Mostly between 10 and 14 months.

    Two days ago I found a 10 month old OEGB cockerel dead in the coop. No symptoms beforehand, by all indications a healthy bird at bedtime who was dead the next day.

    At the moment three of my roosters (standard sized) are experiencing a strange cyanosis that turns the very back of their combs, tips and part of the main body of the comb at the back a deep blue. The cyanosis occures if they are or active, mating, or stressed and disappears when they are relaxed. One of these three also has Marek's grey eye.

    Has anybody with Marek's in their flock noticed thes symptom in your birds. Cyanosis in humans is generally caused by cardiac and or respiratory problems. I know that Marek's is generally known for producing tumors in the lungs or heart muscle. Is that what I am looking at? Along with the Ocular Marek's which is generally known for producing tumors in and around the optic nerves and brain.

    At the moment I am planning on pulling these four birds from the standard flock and into their own run and coop as I do not want them to mate with the resistant hens that are now over two years old and I'm thinking that removing them from the breeding pool will lessen their stress and extend their lives.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    What do you feed? Are your roosters eating layer?
     
  3. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    No. I feed Game Bird Finisher to anybody over 5 weeks and under that age get Game BIrd Starter although lately I have been keeping my broodies and new chicks away from the flock until they are 5 weeks old then they are blended along with momma. Until then they have lately been given MFA medicated chick starter. Since there is Marek's on our property an ounce of prevention so to speak.

    The layers get oyster shell on the side.
     
  4. DocBirdBrain

    DocBirdBrain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The cyanosis is due to poorly oxygenated blood in the extremities- this can be due to poor cardiac output or poor oxygen exchange/decreased lung capacity-both of which could be caused by Marek's tumors.
    I am sorry you are experiencing this.
     
    microchick likes this.
  5. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    Thanks, Docbirdbrain. I was a nurse for almost 39 years before retiring three years ago. What is so frustrating is that there is a wealth of medicine out there for humans with respiratory problems but not for birds. In fact, there is ver little out there of any sort of medicine for chickens especially those with Marek's disease.

    I love my roosters. It's just hard watching them all die one by one. My biggest hope right now is that a few survive. Most people complain when they get a lot of roosters out of their chicks. I celebrate them.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Well that puts that theory to rest. I get an occasional Mareks bird which we cull. I haven't seen any roosters as a whole having troubles. Sometimes my older bigger rooster gets purple in the comb when handled for routine nail and spur trimming, but that's about the extent of it.
     
    microchick likes this.
  7. DocBirdBrain

    DocBirdBrain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know- it's heartbreaking.
     
    microchick likes this.
  8. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    I have lost two young pullets, one at 9 weeks and the other at POL to Marek's and have two hens one over two years old and the other just a year old who both show Ocular Marek's. Neither of them show any other symptoms. They lay regularly, are holding their weight but all I have to do is look at their eyes to know what the future holds. I haven't had a necropsy done for the simple reason that my husband is a retired eye doctor and he used a slit lamp to look at the interior of my birds' eyes who are showing signs of Ocular Marek's. His response was simple "Severe Herpes". You would be impressed with how still those birds held so he could get in close to look in their pupils.

    I cull when they begin showing signs that they are suffering. I had one rooster, a beautiful Welsummer, who presented suddenly one morning, completely purple with cyanosis and gasping for breath. I didn't let him suffer one more second.

    For some reason, the strain I have on our property is hitting the roosters hardest of all, mainly I suspect due to breeding stress. I have plenty of hens for them to cover but as they old saying goes, they make their own stress even if the stress triggers around them are low.
     

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