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Unsteady 2 mth old chick. Are my other chicks in danger?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Drk_Wlf, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Drk_Wlf

    Drk_Wlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Culled a chick last night [​IMG] .

    It was a little rooster. I had noticed sense he started feathering out his feathers have always looked to be in disarray (sticking up and some looked to be upside down) He has always been one of the smaller, slower developing chicks as well and has always been a little clumsy. I noticed about two days ago that he wasn't walking right (more then normal) and was stumbling. Then last night he looked to be either panting or trying to squawk but there was no sound coming out, he kept falling over and seemed to be extremely unbalanced. He was still eating and drinking though. I have more then enough chicks and wasnÂ’t going to spend time nursing a runt rooster back to health when there was a chance he either wouldn't make it or would take twice as long as the others to fatten up for butcher. So, I had the hubby take him outside and give him a swift end. I know it sounds cold, but I would prefer him to die quickly then suffer.

    Did he have something developmentally wrong or was it a disease? Should I put the rest of my chicks on antibiotics, even though they seem perfectly healthy?

    [​IMG]

    PS I checked for mites, none of the chicks have any.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like he wasn't a healthy bird from the beginning. IMO as long as there are no symptoms in the others I would just watch them closely.
     
  3. Serrin

    Serrin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Kayla, are any of this brood vaccinated against Marek's Disease (MD) ? Two months old would be right in the middle of the time frame when they are most vulnerable if not vaccinated. I just lost a sweet little pullet to MD, just days before she would have started laying. If it is MD, antibiotics are of no use. Actually, there is NO treatment for MD. Culling, and a hefty dose of praying, is about all you can do.

    This is a link to the APA website vaccination chart. http://www.amerpoultryassn.com/vaccination_guide.htm At the top of that page, under "Health Series" there is also a page to help identify various poultry diseases. Marek's symptoms are described in there. You might want to familiarize yourself with them. By what you have described, I fear this may be what your cockerel was suffering from. If it was, you need to very closely monitor the others and remove ANY chicks exhibiting the same symptoms. Part of the problem with Marek's is that there are SO many symptoms, some of which are hard to detect. But educating yourself now may be your very best defense against this wretched disease.

    Good luck Kayla. I hope for you and your flock that it is NOT Marek's. Please keep us posted on how the rest of them do. [​IMG]
     
  4. Drk_Wlf

    Drk_Wlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:No they aren't vaccinated, I hatched them out at home. [​IMG] I really hope that isn't what it is. I just read the symptoms and some of them fit but others don't and he had been a little off for a while. I really, really hope it isn't Marek's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  5. Serrin

    Serrin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:As do I Kayla, as do I! [​IMG] It is a truly heartbreaking disease to witness first hand.

    How old was this cockerel? What are the ages of your other chicks for that matter? Any particular breed? The issue with his feathers could either be a result of his blood lines, or it could be something associated with disease. Hard to say when I know neither age nor breeding.

    Just to be sure, you are aware, aren't you, that there are something like six different forms of Marek's? Each version has its own set of symptoms. For instance, the neurological version attacks the muscular and coordination systems of the bird. The ocular version attacks the eyes, causing them typically to turn gray and the iris will be misshapen.

    I'm trying to remember the website address that describes in detail all six forms of MD, but for the life of me, I can't right now. I'll look for it later tomorrow and post it here for you if you'd like to learn more. There are three things in this world that one can never have too much of. Money, good looks and knowledge! [​IMG] I lack the first two but I'm working on the third! [​IMG]
     
  6. Drk_Wlf

    Drk_Wlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are mostly barnyard mixes Black Australorp Roo over Golden Comet hens and a few purebred Aussies. I have 2 that are 3 mths old and 20 (now 19) that are 2 mths old. Everyone else seems fine, no other weird behaviors. Everyone is eating and acting normal. My one 3mth old Roo won't shut up and I can't wait until he gets a little bigger so he can be dinner he is going to drive me to drink [​IMG] His father is not nearly as annoying.

    I read about all the different strains of the disease, and while some of the symptoms fit most of them don't and I have been reading that a lot of poultry diseases and disorders present with nervous system symptoms.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  7. Serrin

    Serrin Chillin' With My Peeps

    I read about all the different strains of the disease, and while some of the symptoms fit most of them don't and I have been reading that a lot of poultry diseases and disorders present with nervous system symptoms.

    Yes, they do! And that just makes it all the harder to diagnose, especially if you're like me and are a simple layperson at disease identification. It's kind of like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall on some of them. Besides stumbling, did you ever see him do something that looked like he was doing the splits? One leg sticking straight out in front of him, the other leg sticking straight out behind him simultaneously? If he did, were his toes curled up when he did it? When he would sit, would he lower himself down to his hocks and just kind of balance himself in that position? These too can be signs of MD. But, like you say, it's not a definitive set of symptoms. There are other diseases that present nearly identically. The age of the cockerel is right in that prime window though.

    You did the right and safest thing you could do for your flock, Kayla. Now it just becomes a waiting game. Keep a close eye on everyone. Especially as your pullets come in to point of lay. This is the second most vulnerable time for the hens. The most vulnerable time is the first 10 days after hatching. This is why MD vaccinations are typically given in the first 24 hours after hatching. It takes anywhere from 7 to 10 days to establish immunity following vaccination.

    I'll still pull up that information tomorrow and post it here for you. Others may benefit from it as well. Knowledge is power! Good luck and keep us posted with how the rest of your flock is doing!​
     
  8. canadianchick

    canadianchick Out Of The Brooder

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  9. Serrin

    Serrin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:It depends largely on the age of the chicks. Newly hatched are at the most vulnerable end, as I understand it. MD can decimate anywhere from 60 to 90% of a flock. And what it doesn't kill outright with the onset of the disease, it will later kill with subsequent malignant tumors throughout the body. Usually a few months after the initial outbreak. Some chicks are hatched with a natural immunity. If their mother was disease resistant to MD, then chances are somewhat good that she will pass that immunity on to her chicks.

    Vaccination is the only first line of defense at this point, and even it is not a complete guarantee of survival. The vaccination has a success rate of 95% protection from MD, when properly administered at hatching. This means that one in every 20 chicks in a large flock will still succumb to the illness, if it is present, despite inoculation against the disease. But this is far preferable to a 90% mortality rate!

    MD affects more pullets and hens than it does cockerels and roosters. At this point, no one knows why. Pullets enter their second most vulnerable stage in the weeks preceding point of lay and for a few weeks thereafter. Once a pullet reaches her full growth and sexual maturity, the chances of her being susceptible to MD drops off dramatically.

    But, if coop conditions are bad, i.e. a build up of feathers, dander, and excrement's, then even fully grown hens can still be vulnerable. MD is usually transmitted through direct chicken to chicken contact as well as being an airborne virus. The virus is harbored in the feather shafts of the infected bird as well as occurring naturally in soils. Grooming and molting can dislodge the spore from a carrier bird and infect an entire unvaccinated flock, regardless of age. If the birds in question are not in peak condition, they can be affected.

    MD does not always present itself with symptoms that can be readily detected by the average owner of a backyard flock. Sometimes it can show up as just a few days of the birds feeling a little under the weather, only to clear up and return to their normal level of appetite and activity within a few days.

    This is where the second stage of Marek's becomes so deadly. Within a few months, many of the infected birds will begin to die unexpectedly and without any outward signs of illness. These sudden deaths are usually caused by rampant malignant tumors throughout their bodies. Necropsy is the main route to detection of late stage MD.

    Your very first line of defense with Marek's Disease is a good protocol of bio security! Vaccination also plays a pivotal role in protecting your flock. If you purchase your chicks from a hatchery, request that they be vaccinated. It usually only adds anywhere from fifty cents to a dollar to the price of each chick, and is well worth the expense. If you are doing your own hatching, you can still vaccinate against MD. The vaccine comes in a two part package. The virus itself and a diluent. But be forewarned. The vaccine is only viable for up to one hour after opening and mixing the two parts. So you must do it quickly.

    Somewhere in all of my dusty old files, I have a link to a really good website that will take you through, step by step, on vaccinating newly hatched chicks. As soon as I find those links as well, I'll post them. Good Grief! It's late peoples! I'm heading for the barn now. My apologies for being so long winded! [​IMG] Y'all take care. Pleasant dreams!

    ETA: To answer your question directly Canadianchick, yes! If you catch it early enough and remove the affected chick, chances are that you can prevent the spread of the disease. But there is no guarantee. A lot depends on the condition of the chicks, their environment [as in how clean is it? is there enough elbow room for all? etc....] and their age. It's a rare occurrence, but yes, it does happen that only one chick out of the flock might become ill.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  10. Drk_Wlf

    Drk_Wlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I found the culprit and it wasn't any bacteria or virus. Today while feeding the chicks I saw one of the older roosters that I named Nugget go after one of the little ones. He grabbed her by the neck and was pulling her around, then he went after me when I tried to stop him [​IMG] So Nugget while still on the small side is meeting Mr. Ax this weekend and is going to be dinner. I am so relieved. I am guessing that is what happened to the other chick that I had to cull.
     

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