Strange liver?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Tracydr, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was processing some Cornish X yesterday, some of them were mine, some my friends. One of my friend's Pullets had a liver that I would describe as crumbly and rather pale. It sort of fell aprt in the hand after I removed it. Also, I noticed a lot of what I believe we're lymph nodes in a chain on the neck, about 1/2 cm in size. There was also a spleen, at least that's what I think it was, I've never seen this organ in this size and color before, quite large and fairly dark in color.
    The pullet was rather small compared to the rest of the two groups. They are all about 9 weeks. Mine are 6-9 pounds. My friend only had the two. The cockerel was 9 pounds, the pullet maybe 4-5, even her feet and legs were finer boned, as if she stopped growing at some point.
    I also have a 7 week old batch and the pullet was smaller than my 7 week old batch, which we didn't process.
    I didn't notice any problem in the intestines, heart or peritoneal cavity, no abnormal fluid or smell. No abnormal skin coloration. She appeared normal on the outside.
    Any idea what she might have had?
     
  2. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 25, 2010
    The 'chain' in the neck is the thymus. It most commonly enlarges due to cancer (such as Mereks) or infection. From the other symptoms either could be the culprit and explain the birds small size. System-wide issues aren't a good thing. Hard to confirm what it is without seeing the bird in person or doing lab tests.

    Sounds like the liver was friable, which is the technical term for a liver that falls apart easily when pressed on.

    Fyi, the thymus is larger when a bird is younger and then atrophies. Birds of similar ages should have similar sized thymuses.
     
  3. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I would have said friable but didn't think most people on here would recognize the term. I was debating if the chain was thymus or lymph nodes, since there were about 4-5 individual nodules in the chain.
    I've not seen any other birds with the chain of nodules or the friable liver. If the thymus disappears at a certain age, then I would see a certain looking thymus on all the birds?
    Also, I think the spleen was enlarged?
    I only butchered one other bird from my friend's batch but he appeared healthy except for a one day episode of limping, which seemed to be related to his hips. Almost felt like both hips were dislocated when lifting him, although I didn't notice it after processing. He weighed 9 pounds, live weight. My friend has 6 more chick's, some broilers, some Pullets, all appearing healthy.
    Just wondering what this is that this Cornish had, if it is oreventable. I assume the meat is edible as it appeared normal and had no odors.
     
  4. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just read and looked at pictures of poultry anatomy. It must have been an enlarged thymus, although this is not really supposed to have several nodes like I saw.
    Beginning to suspect a viral illness.
     
  5. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 25, 2010
    Well, birds don't have lymph nodes. Just a bursa (above the cloaca) and the thymus. The thymus does have several nodes. It's usually pretty flat, so if you don't look for it pressed against both sides of the neck skin (and sometimes in the thoracic inlet), you won't see it.

    Can't comment on your spleen without pics. Spleens can be slightly enlarged from stress or a normal variation. They can be massively enlarged from stress too. Or they can be flat out diseased.

    Like I said, no way to be certain what the bird had without an expert right there, and you might still need lab tests.

    All I can tell you re: edible meat, is that I would assume it is NOT edible, based on what you have said. You have a systemic illness. If you look at the meat and are happy with it and believe the bird had an illness that had mostly passed (ie- no toxins left in the body or whatever), then it is up to you (or your friend) to make that decision. If you want my generic, I haven't seen the bird, opinion, then I repeat: assume not edible. There are of course limits to getting help from a web forum. *shrugs*
     

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