Sporatic, Unknown Disease Crippling My Chickens and now a pet Call Duck... and it kills.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LostGosling, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. LostGosling

    LostGosling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi everybody.

    We've had this disease pop up about once a year, or every other year since about 4 to 5 years ago, and we really need some help. It's so bad, we don't know what's causing it, the chickens take weeks to go on out once they get it, and we haven't been able to find a cure or even a successful form of treatment...

    The first case this year was one of my little OEG Bantam pullet.
    She's still laying out there, can't walk, is having to be offered food and water becuase she can't reach it herself.
    She's lost so much weight that you can grasp her breast bone between your thumb and for-finger.
    She wants to live, she's as alert as you could ask for, she just has no coordination in her legs and lost her balance early on.
    When she does try to walk, her left leg kicks her in the head (her neck is crained into an a tight "S" shape, and she digs her beak into the dirt when she tries to move), and there's a deep bruised spot at her ankle. She has no control over that foot.

    The second case of this we've had this year was Mom's broody Bantam Cochin.
    I don't know if this is the same stuff or not, but she started getting really bad during the last few days of incubating her nest. She wasted away into this thin, deleriously clucking little mess of feathers, and hasn't came out of it since. Her neck is crooked, she has something comparable to bed sores on her face, and she acts weak all the time. When she stands up (I don't know if she can still stand or not, Mom takes care of her), she fluffs out and drops her wings as if she were still broody. She now spends her time looking about half dead in the corner of her cage. I have to check to see if she's still breatjing frequently.

    The third case was our Tetra Tint pullet.
    She just recently had to be caged, because the other hens were trying to peck her to death. She has no coordination, and can't stand without help. Food and water has to be offered to her by hand, but she doesn't readily take it.
    Though I've noticed that her case is slightly different. Instead of lying on her side as the Game hen does, she gives a god awful scream and flips over onto her back, where she just lies and kicks absently for hours. She wants to sleep all the time, and isn't nearly as alert as the game, even though she's only had it about a week.

    And then there's our most recent case (just last night), our Chocolate Call hen.
    She's seemed a little down in the dumps for about a week before this, but we supplimented that with flipping over the water containers so she could reach all those knots of worms that she just loves. This morning, she couldn't get out the barn door.
    She doesn't have much of an appetite, but she can still stand. She can stand, beat her wings, swim, scratch her head, peck at the ground, even walk carefully for as far as a whole yard. But if she gets excited, and tries to run, her legs bow out, and she trips over her right leg. She also has a hard time tucking that same leg under her once she's down.

    Has anybody had any experience with this? Is there a cure? Treatment? Cause? Prevention?
    I'm so tired of seeing my birds die of this, it's just a very terrible way for them to go out.
    I can provide pics if you need them. Thanks.

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  2. J-Sanders

    J-Sanders Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2012
    Your best course of action would be to collect the bird and send it off for a pathology from the state lab. They will run the tests and cultures along with a necropsy and send or call you back with a report detailing what killed your bird and then you can work out a course of treatment. It really is the only way to be sure. Good luck and hope you get some relief for your flock.

  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Hi. Out of 25-40 chickens over the past 4 years, I've had the same thing. I just didn't understand. Every 3-6 months another would waste away. Last year when I put 10 new chicks outside, they all died ,, 1 a week. Unable to use legs,some gasping, wasting away. Until the end they would look good despite what was going on. Most had an apetite or ravenous appetite because they were starving. Now I knew what I had. Marek's Virus.

    The only way you'll know for sure is to send a dead chicken to a state lab for animal disease. Regular Marek's has classic symptoms. The other strains can be just about any symptoms. I find most get paralysis or can't use their legs, or, waste away.

    I have a bunch of info at the bottom of my posts. You should also write up a good flock history-it helps the lab.

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  4. G-unit

    G-unit New Egg

    Jun 20, 2014
    I am not sure about a virus, but I know my chickens got Gleet and they became weak and had sores and I used apple cidar vinegar in their water and fed them yogurt. They have recovered nicely. My Grandparents raised chickens and supplied their entire country side with eggs and meat for decades and my mom had never seen such a thing. I was stunned when I lost a couple of my ladies to this, when the couldn't walk and were just so weak. It all started with a nasty bum though. They had yucky bums and then a day or two later sores and then they were puffed up, standing in a corner or hiding somewhere then the next thing you know they could not walk or hold up their heads! They were just so weak and so quickly. Yogurt and apple cider vinegar worked for my ladies. Thought I would pass it along. I have never had to send anyone off to a lab for pathology.
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Sending a bird off to a state lab for a necropsy would most times not be expensive.
    Some toxicities can match your description. Others come close. But it mostly sounds like Marek's. Sending is fairly easy. Call the lab for the form and how to send it. It's got to be sent next day delivery and kept cold in a Styrofoam box. You should do this for the benefit of your flock. The one I sent was $30 for the necropsy, and $20.00 to mail.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by