1. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    I'm new to chickens so I have no idea what I should do in this situation. The hen in question is a white leghorn, supposed to be about 10 months of age. I bought her along with 3 others almost 3 weeks ago. I've already found one of them dead in the coop. Yesterday I went out to feed and she was laying down in the coop with her toes curled under her and her head laid back. She lifted her head when I opened the door, but didn't run from me. I picked her up to look her over. Normally these girls will run to the the other side of the run when I open the door. I didn't see any obvious sign of injury. I put her down and she tried to walk to the other side, but was very unsteady. She stumbled like she was drunk. I really expected that she wouldn't make it through the night. I didn't seperate her. Maybe I should. Today she's still alive and was actually moving around more than she was yesterday. She's still unsteady though and prefers to lay down. The other chickens don't seem to be bothering her. They aren't picking on her or anything. What could this be? What can I do for her? The other 2 leghorns that I bought with her are walking around, eating, pecking the ground etc acting normally. I haven't gotten an egg out of any of them yet, but that could be the move and the fact that a predator attacked the old pen they were in and got several of my other chickens. Any advice would be appreciated...also I'd like to know how to worm chickens..I'm sure mine will need it as they eat off the ground.
     
  2. kelar

    kelar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2010
    yacolt
    The symptoms you describe sound like either poisoning of some sort or Marek's disease. Has she had any feed lately that could be contaminated? Corn is the most likely source of this sort of problem. However, since the others seem to be fine & one has died, it sounds more like Mareks, which causes paralysis once the virus attacks the joints. You should probably separate her and give her as much supportive care as possible - make sure she is warm, hydrated & eating. If it is Mareks, there is no cure or treatment & the others may or may not get it. Karen
     
  3. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    I was afraid of Mareks..poor girl. I hope it doesn't wipe out my whole flock. I already lost 11 to a predator. I'm down to 5 laying hens now. This sucks. I'm going to rethink buying any adult laying hens anymore. I think I'll stick to buying babies from the hatchery and having them vaccinated. If it is mareks what can I do to get it out of my coop? They are in 4x8 a frame coops right now. The 4 cochins in 1 and the others in another. They are movable, should I move them? Ugh..this is so irritating. They are being fed started grower since most of the chickens I have are still young enough to need it. I also throw a couple of handfuls of BOSS into each pen daily. They sometimes get treats of strawberry tops, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal. I also have been giving them some oyster shell lately and crushed up egg shell.
     
  4. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hate to say it, but those symptoms sound like Marek's Disease. If it is, you have to assume that your entire flock has now been exposed and should be vaccinated ASAP. Did the seller of those Leghorns say that they had been vaccinated? Were any of your other hens vaccinated? If so, then maybe it's not Marek's. I am suspicious because this disease generally attacks the nervous system, spawns tumors, and lesions on the brain. This is what causes the paralysis, stumbling, heads held at odd angles, etc. There are a number of very informative threads about Marek's on BYC for more information. This is a recent one which may help you decide if your hen's symptoms are similar:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=349905

    I would advise against worming until you have a better idea what's caused the death of the one hen and has sickened the second. Worming is stressful for any animal and I wouldn't worm a sick animal unless I was convinced that worms were the root cause of the illness.

    Please let us know what you find out. Good luck.
     
  5. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    The seller of the leghorns did not say the were vaccinated. I'm doubting they were. The others in the pen were bought from a private person who hatched them in an incubator, so again..not vaccinated. I'll read that thread, but from your description it does sound like mereks. I moved her into a rabbit hutch alone with food and water, so she won't be bothered by the other chickens. It's heartbreaking to watch her try to walk and just fall over. She's holding her head drooped over. I guess all I'm doing at this point is trying to keep her comfortable til she goes. I may have to call my friends husband to come put her out of her misery. I'm going to be way more careful about where I buy my chickens from now on. I bought several chicks from a lady near me and they are all healthy and kicking. The predator got a good portion of them, but they were thriving before then even when I was losing some hatchery chicks I bought at the feed store. I may just stick with buying from her or ordering from a hatchery and having them vaccinated. Where can I get the vaccine? Is it too late to vaccinate the others? My best friend is a vet tech and will come over and help me in a heartbeat. How long can Mereks stay in the air on my property? If I only get replacement chickens that are vaccinated am I safe? I do not want another chicken to have to go through this. Poor girl.
     
  6. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Amanda, I really suggest read the articles on that thread I gave you the link to. There are answers there to most of your questions. In fact, you should subscribe to that thread to keep updated. If this is, in fact, Marek's, you need to know that your land is infected and can remain so for up to 65 weeks. Even with vaccinated day-old chicks, you'll need to keep them isolated (out of the coop and off your land) for several weeks until the vaccine kicks in to protect them. This is a dreadful disease and highly contagious. It's possible that some or all of your other birds might be infected but not showing symptoms, yet.
     
  7. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    Thanks Mother Jean..I read the thread and did see my answers there. I guess I need to find the vaccine and get it in the rest of my chickens asap. This is so frustrating. I was going to get some new chicks and start brooding them now since I will be building a new run soon, I'll make sure I order them vaccinated and brood them in the house. Thanks for the help.
     
  8. kelar

    kelar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2010
    yacolt
    If you can't find a local source, you can order the vaccine from Jeffers or First State. The dose is for 1,000 birds so I divide the wafer & diluent into 4 parts to cut costs. You should vaccinate everything on your place as even though they've probably already been exposed, it's possible some of the birds have not had exposure. It will not do them any harm, but if they are already infected, they may still come down with Mareks. It stays around for a VERY long time and the only way to protect your birds is through vaccination and avoiding exposure before vaccination and for at least 10 days after vaccination. All of my chicks are vaccinated at hatch and if I get a bird in that has not been vaccinated, it goes into isolation in a separate building, is vaccinated and then I wait at least 14 days after vaccination before exposure to the rest of my flock. I've been vaccinating for about 4 years now & the only case of Mareks I've seen was in a youngster who did not get vaccinated because I ran out of vaccine and could not acquire more. You should probably give your hen a little time to make sure she is not going to improve, but if it is mareks, she is shedding the virus like crazy & causing further exposure to your other birds. So be sure and practice good biosecurity when dealing with her - change clothes, wear gloves, disinfect shoes etc. - whatever you need to do to limit further exposure. I'm so sorry about your birds. Marek's is a terrible disease & all too common, but you can win the battle. Karen
     

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