Wobbly walker: 7-week old Lavender Orpington seems off balance

toastinboots

In the Brooder
Apr 29, 2020
20
32
36
Cincinnati, Ohio
I'm completely new to chickens, so maybe this is just how some chickens walk, but Van Halen, my 7-week old Lavender Orpintgon seems off balance, like she's having trouble walking.



Does this look like Marek's disease? A vitamin deficiency? An overly concerned new chicken mom?

She's able to fly up to roost, but misses the mark half the time and falls down. The sand floor is new - we had straw before. Her feet look fine to me, tops and bottoms. She's eating normally - started on medicated chick feed, then switched to regular chick starter, plus she's snacking on strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, lettuce. I have been using the vitamin pack in the water occasionally, and just re-introduced it today.

This girl has never really tolerated being held, but puts up with it now with no argument. She's usually the biggest, poofiest of all my chicks, but she seems to have "deflated" in the last day or two.

I read that vitamins E and B might help. Can I give people-vitamins to chickens?

If this could be Marek's, is my flock doomed? I have five pullets all the same age. I cannot begin to imagine how I would quarantine one of my birds, but as a new chicken mom, maybe that's something I need to plan for...

Any guesses, advice, or words of wisdom appreciated! Thank you!
 

Attachments

toastinboots

In the Brooder
Apr 29, 2020
20
32
36
Cincinnati, Ohio
Update on Van Halen: I did a bit of ( hours and hours of obsessive) Googling on Marerk's disease, and really suspect this is what's going on. I got my chicks from Mt. Healthy Hatchery, and they do vaccinate against Maerk's, but I read that the vaccine is not 100% guaranteed. I am feeling reassured though that the rest of my flock will probably not catch the disease since they have been vaccinated at the hatchery.

So now my question is, how do I care for a growing hen with this disease? She's already having trouble walking down the ramp from the coop to the run. I actually do have the time and energy to baby her quite a bit... Can birds live a decent life with Marek's, or is it kinder to serve her for dinner?
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,091
271
Georgia
Marek's is usually triggered by stress. Has this bird been stressed? If she came from a hatchery and you don't have other birds it seems odd that she would have caught it unless the coop recently housed other birds.

If it is Mareks she is at the earliest stages so there is hope. But where could it have come from and has she been stressed?

And no your flock is not doomed many flocks have a mild strain of Mareks and the birds never get sick from it unless one becomes ill for another reason or otherwise highly stressed. Thing is the Mareks vaccine should have prevented signs from a mild strain, though the problem is I believe a vaccinated bird will test positive whether they have acquired the disease or not so it is impossible to tell now. Several people have tried antiherpes meds, I have it in my flock and use meds asap if I think a bird may come down with it.
 

toastinboots

In the Brooder
Apr 29, 2020
20
32
36
Cincinnati, Ohio
Thanks @Sonya9 ! The coop is brand new, and I've never had chickens before. Good point - how in the world would she have caught it? I have not even free-ranged my birds yet, so not likely she would have picked up anything from local wildlife and certainly not from other chickens.

As far as stress goes - well, there's nothing in her life of chicken luxury that seems stressful to me... but it has been my experience so far that hens freak out over things that don't seem like a big deal, LOL!
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,091
271
Georgia
Thanks @Sonya9 ! The coop is brand new, and I've never had chickens before. Good point - how in the world would she have caught it? I have not even free-ranged my birds yet, so not likely she would have picked up anything from local wildlife and certainly not from other chickens.

As far as stress goes - well, there's nothing in her life of chicken luxury that seems stressful to me... but it has been my experience so far that hens freak out over things that don't seem like a big deal, LOL!
I think it is usually from sustained stress, like being picked on by other birds or an illness that lingers for some time. Sometimes a predator raid can scare them badly enough too, a local breeder friend with lots of birds said she didn't know she had it until a predator got in with her 3 month old Lavendar Orp chicks, the survivors all came down with Mareks within a week.
 

Wyorp Rock

Chloe!😱
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
32,216
43,313
1,262
Southern N.C. Mountains
Watching this thread, as I have a similar problem going on. My 7-week-old Lavender Orpington is showing the same symptoms. Just re-started the vitamins in the water today. I don't have any other special chicken vitamins on hand, but I do have B12 and women's multivitamins - can I just crush those up for my chickens?
Hard to know if it's Marek's, but a possibility.
You can try vitamin therapy to see if that makes a difference.
I would not give a multivitamin nor just the B12.

You can find vitamins at WalMart, CVS or similar or order them online.
I would give her 400IU Vitamin E and 1/4 tablet B-Complex daily along with some scrambled egg. Make sure she's eating her normal feed well. Check to make sure her crop is emptying overnight, re-check her legs and joints for any problems and just for kicks look for lice/mites.
Hope she gets better soon.

1597687212940.png
1597687227590.png
 

toastinboots

In the Brooder
Apr 29, 2020
20
32
36
Cincinnati, Ohio
Thanks - I've been giving vitamins, healthy snacks. She's been eating and drinking normally through all of this. Sometimes her crop feels full, sometimes empty. Feet still look perfect to me. Her feathers are looking kinda ratty and dirty, especially on her hind end, though she does not have diarrhea. I checked her early on for lice or mites - I'll check her again after I re-read some tips on how to do that!

Overall, she's no worse, but certainly not better yet either. This is around day 12 of her being all wonky.
 

toastinboots

In the Brooder
Apr 29, 2020
20
32
36
Cincinnati, Ohio
Update: although she's not 100%, I'd say my chicken is pretty much better at last! And I now suspect something completely different was wrong. (I mean, I don't really know, but I think maybe?) I'd been pulling weeds from the yard and leaving them in the run for the chickens to pick through. This one seemed to really like white snakeroot, and I have tons of that so I dumped a bunch in there every day for weeks! I also had spurge and honeysuckle bush leaves in the mix. None of which are good for chickens, I later learned. White snakeroot is particularly toxic, and can cause tremors and leg problems. Just wanted to put this out there in case anyone else can learn from my mistakes.
 

Wyorp Rock

Chloe!😱
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
32,216
43,313
1,262
Southern N.C. Mountains
Update: although she's not 100%, I'd say my chicken is pretty much better at last! And I now suspect something completely different was wrong. (I mean, I don't really know, but I think maybe?) I'd been pulling weeds from the yard and leaving them in the run for the chickens to pick through. This one seemed to really like white snakeroot, and I have tons of that so I dumped a bunch in there every day for weeks! I also had spurge and honeysuckle bush leaves in the mix. None of which are good for chickens, I later learned. White snakeroot is particularly toxic, and can cause tremors and leg problems. Just wanted to put this out there in case anyone else can learn from my mistakes.
I'm glad to hear she's improving!
Ah...you may have figured it out with the White Snakeroot! A possibility if it's toxic. Hopefully she can overcome and make a full recovery.
Thank you for the update.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom