Sick Pullet. Marek's or something else?

Flocky

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 23, 2014
65
7
96
BC, Canada
Hello BYCers

Looking for some help/advice. Four days ago I found one of my favorite pullets "Poppy" on her side unable to really move. I though for sure she was going to pack it in, her neck was going everywhere, it looked like she had very little control of her motor skills. I am somewhere between a crazy chicken lady and a realist so these situations are hard for me. I giver her some egg yolk ( I know cooked is better cooked but there was no way she would be able to eat a solid) and she drank a very small amount of water, I probably did this 3 time on day one. Day two was pretty much the same, by evening I am thinking there is likely no hope and it seems cruel to let her suffer. I offered her more yolk and she was actually able to eat a small amount, she was improving. Day three she pecked at some apple and now I could say for certain that her legs wings a neck were not paralyses but it looked like she couldn't balance. Yesterday with some help she ate plenty of her chick food drank lots of water and tried to balance by herself... very unsuccessfully. I felt I needed to give her a very thorough look over and I found a very soft, probably fluid filled lump on her upper right breast, about the size of a ping pong ball (half). This morning to my happiness she was balancing in front of the water dish drinking. She is still spending the majority of her time on her side trying to get her legs under her. She diffidently cannot stand or walk but she has improved dramatically in the past few days. I know I probably should have separated her but I figured if it was contagions the others would have had it already, and the crazy chicken lady in me didn't want her to die alone. That was my decision and hopefully no one else is affected, They are all fine for now and I am watching very carefully. Any ideas or suggestions? Is her improvement just false hope? Poppy is a roughly 7 week old FBC Marans.
Thanks in advance
 

Nambroth

Fud Lady
8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
2,961
1,078
312
Western NY
My Coop
My Coop
Hello! I'm sorry your poor pullet is unwell. I know how distressing this can be! Thank you for trying to help her. Keeping her hydrated should be your first goal, and then food.
Unfortunately it is very hard to try and diagnose disease over the internet, especially since many diseases and problems can "look" like this. Marek's is a common disease and of course should not be ruled out, but at the same time it could be something else, too.

The best thing to do is to learn about all of the look-alikes and see if any of them seem to 'fit' with what you are experiencing. Please check this link, and scroll down to "SYMPTOMS AND DISEASE DETAILS" then scroll a bit more until you see: "Are there any other diseases that look like Marek's?". There are a list of diseases and ailments that can cause these types of symptoms (paralysis-like problems, lameness or poor control of the legs, wings, and sometimes neck). Read through and see if anything fits. Important things to look at are your flock history... meaning, have you ever experienced any other illness in your flock, or had a chicken die, or have you added any new birds? When and from where, if so?

Make sure to rule out the chances for Botulism, which is generally experienced where there is standing water, puddles, decaying animals, or compost.... and lead toxicity. Lead is not at all uncommon on older homesteads as lead components were used widely in everything before its toxicity was known. Even modern ammunition uses lead, and a single stray bb from a shotgun shell is enough to cause toxicity.

Also check the origins of your feed, especially if it uses corn (most feeds do), as aflatoxins gowing in feed (especially corn) can cause these symptoms. Discard feed immediately if you find any hints of mold, but even feed that does not look or smell moldy can have aflatoxins; sometimes it is just bad luck or just due to old, "stale" feed.
 
Last edited:

Flocky

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 23, 2014
65
7
96
BC, Canada
Hello! I'm sorry your poor pullet is unwell. I know how distressing this can be! Thank you for trying to help her. Keeping her hydrated should be your first goal, and then food.
Unfortunately it is very hard to try and diagnose disease over the internet, especially since many diseases and problems can "look" like this. Marek's is a common disease and of course should not be ruled out, but at the same time it could be something else, too.

The best thing to do is to learn about all of the look-alikes and see if any of them seem to 'fit' with what you are experiencing. Please check this link, and scroll down to "SYMPTOMS AND DISEASE DETAILS" then scroll a bit more until you see: "Are there any other diseases that look like Marek's?". There are a list of diseases and ailments that can cause these types of symptoms (paralysis-like problems, lameness or poor control of the legs, wings, and sometimes neck). Read through and see if anything fits. Important things to look at are your flock history... meaning, have you ever experienced any other illness in your flock, or had a chicken die, or have you added any new birds? When and from where, if so?

Make sure to rule out the chances for Botulism, which is generally experienced where there is standing water, puddles, decaying animals, or compost.... and lead toxicity. Lead is not at all uncommon on older homesteads as lead components were used widely in everything before its toxicity was known. Even modern ammunition uses lead, and a single stray bb from a shotgun shell is enough to cause toxicity.

Also check the origins of your feed, especially if it uses corn (most feeds do), as aflatoxins gowing in feed (especially corn) can cause these symptoms. Discard feed immediately if you find any hints of mold, but even feed that does not look or smell moldy can have aflatoxins; sometimes it is just bad luck or just due to old, "stale" feed.
Just wanted to update and say thank you for responding
Poppy has made a full recover, It took a little over a week but she is steady on her feet now and getting better every day. I still do not know what the cause was but no one else is exhibiting those symptoms.
Thanks!
 
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