Rooster with mareks?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kellygreen, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. kellygreen

    kellygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    I adopted a stray rooster a friend found in Los Angeles a few months ago, and I fear he may have mareks. I noticed he had a slight limp when I got him, And I think he was about 4 months old (he's since gotten bigger and slowly started crowing). A few weeks after I got him, two of my hens had some sort of cold, and one was very ill but survived. Since then, she became broody and hatched 10 chicks. I gave five away and I'm keeping five.
    Anyway, the roosters lamp has gotten worse lately. over the course of a week he Started spending all of this time just laying down in the coop. He can't seem to use the one foot at all and just limps to get to his food and water , using his wings to get around. Theres no visible injury to the foot, he kind of balls it up but doesnt seem hurt if i move it around. His condition hasn't seemed to change it in the past two weeks he just stays in the coop, and he's still eating and drinking. I don't know if he's Getting any worse, he doesn't seem to be. I don't know whether I should keep him going like this or just put him down.
    But an even bigger question is, what is the threat to the 5 chicks that are just over a month old? Should I vaccinate now?
    Any help at all would be appreciated!
     
  2. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kelly most vaccines have to be given before exposure but check with a vet to be sure on this one. With your chicks already a month old and you other chickens exposed for several months now I'm afraid the damage is already done. I'm also concerned about the five you gave away. They may have infected the other persons flock now too. It is VERY important you let them know you suspect Marecks and both of you close your flocks(no more chickens in or out!) until you have tests run and verify what you are dealing with!

    Because of situations like the one you find yourself in right now I refuse to take in strays. I do not buy birds from shows(some of the sickest chickens I've ever seen were at the Kentucky State Fair Poultry show!). In fact, We only add to our flock by buying day-old hatchlings from Mt. Healthy hatchery. At some point in the future we hope to have a truly closed flock,hatching our own Brahmas from our own hens. With the very real possibility of having to kill off a whole flock due to Marecks or other incurable diseases I just do not want to take any chances with our flock.

    I wish you luck and hope testing shows you do not have Marecks or any other catastrophic disease in your flock.
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    You can't cure Mareks by vaccinating for Mareks. All you can do with the vaccine is keep your birds asymptomatic.

    Mareks spreads very very easily through bits of dander floating through the air. If the rooster has Mareks and has been in with your birds, then your flock now carries Mareks whether they are symptomatic or not.

    Do you have a good *avian* vet nearby? Most vets know nothing about poultry any more, since big poultry houses all have their own avian specialists and just cull sick birds any way. I'd get the bird tested for Mareks before you take the next steps, so you know exactly what you're dealing with.
     
  4. kellygreen

    kellygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    I've called around and can't find any vets that treat chickens - I live out in Joshua Tree, in the desert. I'm having a hard time finding info online about being tested for marek's - can it only be done post mortem? I assume that I should put him down, even though he's surviving just fine.
    I keep reading all different things as far as the vaccine - I know it can't cure it, but it seems like asymptomatic is better than nothing?! The woman that took the other 5 chicks lives down the road, I thought maybe we could do it at the same time. She knows as little as I do, I guess, because we were looking at the lame rooster trying to figure out what could be wrong with him.
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    You're right, you can only diagnose Mareks post mortem. Do you have a university near you with a poultry science program or a vet program?

    I'd give the vaccine. Can't hurt, might help. You'll have to really be concerned about bringing other birds into your flock now and about giving birds away or selling them. That's why a true diagnosis would help you make decisions.
     
  6. kellygreen

    kellygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2011
    Thanks for your help. I found a state pathology lab, and am going to take him in tomorrow to meet his maker and get tested. I think I'll let him sleep inside tonight and have all the snacks he wants!
    Will update!
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Good! I am keeping my fingers crossed that it's NOT Mareks, and is instead something a bit more manageable and a lot less contagious. Good luck.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. kellygreen

    kellygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    UPDATE!
    They didn't find Marek's, or really anything else! The report showed everything was normal, except that his spleen was enlarged to double normal size. Report says they have no idea why his leg was paralyzed.
    Poor guy... I can't help but wonder if he would have improved.
     
  9. kellygreen

    kellygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    NOTHER UPDATE!
    Now they sent me another report saying he had full blown marek's. great.
     
  10. StelleKitten

    StelleKitten Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :( I'm sorry. That really sucks. I hope though that everything works out as best it can for you.
     

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