Sick rooster, maybe Marek's, part paralysed also molting

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RooBok, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. RooBok

    RooBok In the Brooder

    14
    25
    38
    Apr 19, 2019
    Hi,
    I have a sweet 8 month old Australorp boy, who I believe was not vaccinated at birth.
    He's been acting a bit strangely for just over a week and a few days after that I started seeing the signs of molt so I wasn't too concerned, but I separated him just in case (he's a cuddley boy and comes inside every night).
    I'm now thinking he's probably got something very bad, as he seems to be unable to walk, has difficulty holding his head up, is still losing his feathers and is having difficulty with food he used to gobble easily before. He's still eating, his poos are looking a bit runny, and he pants and swallows a lot (as if savouring something).
    At this point I'm thinking Marek's, and I'm coming to terms with the fact I may not be able to do anything but if there is anything I can do I will. I'm miles away from any avian vet, but I just want to make him as comfortable as possible and give him the best chance.
    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     

    Attached Files:

    NajmoNests likes this.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    83,900
    107,848
    1,757
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC - sorry for the circumstances. Has the bird improved or deteriorated health wise ? It does sound as if he is suffering some sort of neurological impairment.
     
    NajmoNests and RooBok like this.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    42,761
    25,757
    1,012
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC, and sorry that your rooster is having problems. Have you added any new birds to your flock recently? Is that some type of swelling on his left neck in the second picture? How does his crop in his right upper chest feel early in the morning? Does it empty overnight, or feel full and firm or puffy like a balloon? What do you feed him? I would offer him wet chicken feed with lots of water, some chopped egg, and 1/4 tablet of vitamin B complex crushed onto his feed daily. Tuna or a small amount of canned pate catfood may be good.

    Can he move his feet and legs at all when you stroke them? Or is one side moving better than the other? What happens if you lift him to a standing position? Is his neck just weak, or is his neck out of position?

    He is at the right age that Mareks can strike. I hope that it is not that, but it may take some time to know for sure. Ruling out a crop disorder, coccidiosis, mite infestation, or some other problem that could cause his lameness would be important. Answering some of the many questions above may help. Mareks can only be confirmed with testing, best done with a necropsy by the state vet. Here is a link for state vets:
    http://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm

    Here is some reading about Mareks:
    https://extension.umd.edu//sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/poultry/FS-1007 Recognizing and Preventing Mareks Disease in Small Flocks.pdf

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/
     
    NajmoNests, Wyorp Rock and RooBok like this.
  4. RooBok

    RooBok In the Brooder

    14
    25
    38
    Apr 19, 2019
    Hi! Thanks for the welcome, I need to post a hello...
    He's still eating quite happily and I've been able to get him to drink a fair bit by putting some rice in his water (with electrolytes). He's lost a bit of weight but I'm trying to make sure he doesn't fall to far below usual. I've been a bit scared of handling him too much but he seems ok with touch.
    The main difference is the kind of mouth flapping like when people kind of smack their lips after they've had something tasty, and his inability to balance and walk. He's been trying to move around a bit, and he's been a bit better with keeping his neck up, but he can't really straighten his legs.
    I've wormed and defleaed him regularly and I can't see evidence of parasites.
    He's not giving up yet, and talks to me whenever I pass his cage inside. I just want to help him :(
     
    NajmoNests likes this.
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    42,761
    25,757
    1,012
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Try cchicken feed with water rather than the rice which is less nutritious and can constipate him. I would make him a chicken sling to get him upright and set his food and water in front of him. This will keep him cleaner he can still move his legs. They are easy to make out if a large rubbermade container, a piece of cloth and four or six 2 inch binder clips (see pic below) from an office supply section of a store. Here is a link with many pictures:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/versions-of-chick-chairs-please.1166308/
    upload_2019-4-20_8-40-16.jpeg
     
    NajmoNests and RooBok like this.
  6. RooBok

    RooBok In the Brooder

    14
    25
    38
    Apr 19, 2019
    Hi - sorry for the double post, I must have been writing as the thread updated.
    No new chickens. I think that's just how he was holding his neck at the time - it seems to have gotten slightly better as the day went on. His crop was fairly normal (not quite flat but not swollen) this morning and after a lot of hand feeding today is full as he goes to bed.
    He gets peters free range and Southern Cross chicken feed, and I occasionally give him mealworms, lettuce, rice, bread, grapes and/or oats. I've added some electrolytes to his water.
    He can move his feet and likes to try to walk, but he can't balance and tends to fall face forward. Both sides seem pretty equal. When I right him he falls over after I take my hands away. his neck doesn't seem out of position, just weak.

    Thanks for the links. I've had a browse at some threads here and have become a little more optimistic, though I'm really worried about the poor guy. He's been very attached to me since birth, so I was kind of suspecting he'd probably be a bit on the weaker side. I just want to make it all better... But realistically I'm not going to prolong suffering if it's a hopeless case.
     
  7. RooBok

    RooBok In the Brooder

    14
    25
    38
    Apr 19, 2019
    Update time:
    He had a good couple of hours outside, was gardening next to him and had one of the chickens he came with (we had 4 little ones given to us, including him when they were just weeks old about 7 1/2 months ago) have a bit of scratch close by. He perked up a lot and walked a few steps every so often, and toppled over quite a lot, but he was definitely feeling happier. It's the most he's walked in a few days.
    He doesn't like the sling I made very much, so I'm going to try to make some alterations later. He really doesn't think much of putting his legs through anything.
    He's still been eating fairly ok - gave him some grain/grit, fried egg, tuna + little bits of yoghurt, lettuce and sunflower seeds with water to try to coax him to drink more. At weigh in he's gained a bit compared to yesterday, when he was about 300g under usual weight (which was about 3 weeks ago) - he's about -150g now, I think his appetite has picked up. He's really not liking crushed tablets or drinking water. Will keep trying.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    21,841
    23,797
    1,052
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    So that is not a lump on his neck?
    You mention the smacking - have you looked inside his beak for any canker, lesions or plaques?
    I would still check his crop first thing in the morning before he eats/drinks to make sure the crop is empty.
    I do agree to get some B vitamins into him. As mentioned previously he is at the right age for Marek's, hopefully that is not what's going on, but from what I understand Marek's weakens the bird which allows other conditions to take place. Some of what you see may be symptoms of Marek's as a whole.

    upload_2019-4-20_23-8-10.png
     
  9. RooBok

    RooBok In the Brooder

    14
    25
    38
    Apr 19, 2019
    No, not a lump, he's had a lot of neck feathers come out. That's a bald spot. I thought the sores and enlarged follicles (is that what they're called?) were signs of Marek's.
    The beak looks ok - he hasn't been doing it as much today, but he's not drinking much at all. I'm trying to dropper some vitamin B and electrolytes into his beak.
    I will check his crop first thing tomorrow when I get up.
    Thank you for the help.
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    42,761
    25,757
    1,012
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    If he can stand and walk or get to his food in a small area, he probably doesn’t need the sling. It is more for helping them be up and to get food if they cannot move. You can make that judgement yourself.

    I have a hen who 3 months ago was having balance problems, and kept falling backwards or on her side. Her legs seemed strong, but just would take off and end up on the floor. If she stood up she would fall backward easily. After a month in a basket, she kept standing up, wanting to walk. Eventually, she started getting out of the basket and going out of the coop. She stumbled a lot, but finally had enough of the basket. For the last 6 weeks, she has been walking around all day long outside free ranging. She is wobbly, and does still fall on her bottom occasionally, but has made a big recovery.

    Unfortunately the hen is attacked by her flock since she began walking again, even though she remained with her flock. I have to keep her separated by a fence for protection. Hopefully, your rooster will get stronger. But if he gets worse, I would get a necropsy done on him by your state vet. Losing so much weight, he really needs to eat high protein foods. Cut out treats, and feed chicken feed 90% as his intake. Egg, tuna, and adding water to his feed may help him to eat.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: