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Staggering Drunk Polish Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickyTown, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. ChickyTown

    ChickyTown Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    Courtenay BC
    I have a sick Polish hen, she is around 5 months old now, about 2 weeks ago now she started to stumble and was walking like she was drunk, then just standing in the corner all hunched over, I separated her put her in a crate in the house with vita/electrolyte mix and did a round of oxytetracycline, she perked back up and seemed fine, so I put her back with the flock after a week and the first six hours with them she was staggering and drunk again and hunched, I have separated her again and she again seems fine alone in the crate...now in the shed, I have no idea what she has, I called the vet they have no idea, they are not farm vets mind you, I don't want to put her back again if she's just going to get sick again I'm worried she might not pull through a third time if I haven't actually discovered the cause of her illness.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Have you changed feed recently? I know Botulism can cause symptoms like you are describing. Also, Mareks is another possibility given her age.
     
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry about your sick Polish. My first guess is Marek's Disease based on her symptoms and age. Do you know if she was vaccinated for Marek's Disease (usually done at one day old by hatcheries- breeders don't always vaccinate). The vaccine isn't 100% effective so even if she's vaccinated she can still get it. Mareks often begins with birds staggering or limping and slowly progresses into paralysis. It is extremely common and spread through feather dander. Some people never have trouble with it, but some breeds tend to be more susceptible.

    Unfortunately, there isn't really a treatment for Marek's Disease. Most birds that get it slowly waste away from lack of food or dehydration, or internal tumors kill them. Some people have experimented with herbal remedies like curcumin or St. Johns Wort, with varying success. I suggest taking a look at this extremely informative article on Marek's Disease: The Great Big Giant Marek's Disease FAQ You may also want to check out the St. Johns Wort thread, if you want to learn about that "treatment" (doesn't work for everyone): St. John's Wort

    Alternatively, your Polish could have a neurological problem, possibly caused by a vitamin deficiency. If this is the case, you're doing all you can by using those vitamins. It could be weeks before you'd notice a difference.

    A few last thoughts: check her eyesight. A blind eye could be making her wobbly and unsure, especially when around other birds. It's probably not the case, but it is good to check everything. Also make sure that she doesn't have any mites or lice since those can really sap a bird's strength, causing weakness which can lead to trouble walking.

    Best regard to you and your bird!
     
  4. ChickyTown

    ChickyTown Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    Courtenay BC
    I have not changed food but they free range all day, I was concerned that maybe they spilled water in the house and got mold intoxication? I had thought eating rotten something in the yard and Botulism too, its just so weird that if she is in the crate she gets better and once shes free range again she goes downhill soooo fast. How long with Mareks for her to get paralyzed? She isn't showing any paralysis as of yet, but its only been a couple weeks...
     
  5. ChickyTown

    ChickyTown Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    Courtenay BC
    So I guess my question really is...if it is Mareks...which looks like its almost un-diagnosable...everyone will have been exposed to it but maybe will live perfectly healthy lives?
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I would look at her possibly being kept from water or food while she is with the other chickens. Some chickens are just meek or afraid, and they won't try to get to water and food if they feel threatened. Polish can be low in the pecking order, at least my two have been in their mixed flock. Placing multiple water and feed sources, even if just in small bowls inside and outside the coop, can make it less likely to become dehydrated. I would also smell and inspect the feed for off odors or mold. Mareks symptoms don't usually come and go in most cases. I would keep putting vitamins in their water, and spend some time observing their interactions. The suggestion about eye problems should be explored also. I trim the feathers of my polish to allow them to see better, and one of them was blinded by a peck in the eye.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  7. ChickyTown

    ChickyTown Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    Courtenay BC
    Well that's good news about the Mareks not tending to come and go. Bad news being she had been all feeling better so I put her back with the flock and came home from work to find her beat the crap out of laying in the corner of the coop in the rain :( so she's in the house I put Veteracyn on her plucked head and neck and wrapped her in a towel in a crate...she ate and drank right away so I'm assuming she got no where near food or water all day...poor thing
     
  8. ChickyTown

    ChickyTown Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    Courtenay BC
    Soooo this bird is still kicking, living in my garage, going outside alone in the front yard some days. she is not a she but a he ....but doesn't seem to be healthy enough to reintroduce. He seems happy and forages around, but not stable on his feet, then other days seems fine? Crowing now, hangs out with the muscovies, but like I said I just cant figure out whats wrong with him, his head dress is growing back and all the neck feathers that the others ripped out of him, he eats fine, drinks fine....any ideas?
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    It's sad that he has to live by himself. Someone might want him as a pet, or there may be another bullied chicken out there who would make a good friend for him. You could put up a poster or try in your state thread to find him a home. Or, you could place him in a pen in the coop with the others, and place his own food and water. That might be warmer and better for him, having company, but not being picked on.
     
  10. ChickyTown

    ChickyTown Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    Courtenay BC
    Well my biggest concern about reintroduction isn't if they will pick on him, it's what is making him drunken stumble. I don't want to introduce it to the whole flock
     

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