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#87422 - 05/20/07 07:44 AM Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Anonymous
Unregistered


My Rhode Island Red hen, about 4 years old, hopped out of the henhouse 2 weeks ago and promptly fell off to her side, unable to use her left leg. She had been fine the night before, and the flock has never had any real health problems in the past.

We left her with the other ladies (6 hens and 7 recently introduced now 2 month old chicks of varying breeds) for several days, but she hid under the henhouse and didn't move much. So we moved her to a sick pen and have been feeding her scrambled eggs with the shell, table scraps and scratch. She has a good appetite, seems comfortable and alert. Every morning we take her out of her box and put her on the lawn, and she tests her leg, seems to be perhaps a little stronger each day, but still cannot walk. She sits on the grass all day, only moving a few inches if necessary to get into the shade.

The tone of the leg is perhaps improving a bit and the leg does move spontaneously, I find no breaks, bruises, or areas of tenderness. She has stopped laying. The rest of the flock remains healthy.

So if this is Marek's disease, will she improve, or are we destined to nursing her along indefinitely? Could it be a break or a sprain that we can't see, and if so, should we try to splint the leg? Does anyone else have any experience with this or suggestions? I'm just not sure how long to go on caring intensively for her.

Thanks so much for any experiences or ideas.

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#87423 - 05/20/07 09:47 AM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
If it IS Marek's Disease, she may recover, but it is not common. If it IS Marek's Disease, and she recovers, she is still a carrier, although all your birds are already exposed. Other birds may or may not show sypmptoms as time goes by--(why is it our favorites usually will be the next ones?) There is no treatment, no cure. Before I knew what Marek's was, I lost a hen, then had one recover, after being penned alone for more than a month. She actually laid several eggs, after recovering her mobility. And she spread the virus to all my birds during the time I kept her. Later, I lost birds occasionally to Marek's---until I started vaccinating chicks 7+ years ago.

But Marek's may not be her problem, although leg injuries are very rare with chickens, that you do not know how they happened. It is up to you. There is a blood test for Marek's, but would not expect most Vets to know about it. It is not the same as blood testing for Pullorum/typoid. We hate to part with with chickens that are sick or injured. It is an individual decision. Good luck CJR

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#87424 - 05/20/07 08:47 PM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks for the reply. I guess we will watch her for another week or two, and if we are able to reintroduce her to the flock, will vaccinate any new chicks in the future. Will let you know how she does,
Ellen

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#87425 - 05/21/07 05:40 AM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
Ellen, Mareks is pretty wide spread and some stocks have a genetic immunity. Just something else to think about. If she is able to move her leg, it could be Mareks or even a dislocation at the hip. It's not always easy to tell. It often slides back in by itself, and even if it doesn't, a false joint forms and they walk pretty well. It's too late to set it now if it was out of joint. I have no idea, as I can't see her and see her move. 2 weeks and slight improvement is promising. Depending on the line or breed of chickens you have, Marek's vaccination is a Godsend, or totally unnecessary. The immunity varies to that extent. CJR has a breed with low immunity, and there are many others like that. I hvae an old landrace or two with high immunity. It just means I don't need to vaccinate.

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#87426 - 05/22/07 07:30 PM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thank you for the information. It is really helpful. Today she was able to stand (on one leg) for several minutes, gingerly placing the bad leg down, but not able to bear any weight on it....will have to see,
Ellen

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#87427 - 05/23/07 05:54 AM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Kathy W. Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 273
Loc: New York
Is there a reference which lists breeds with more and less resistance. Sounds like the heritage breeds would be most resistant. I suppose that resistance can be lost if the selection pressure (i.e. exposure to Marek's) is removed. But is the disease so common that the selection pressure is always there?

I keep Buckeyes, Dorkings, Wyandottes of many "stripes" and I'm starting to get Chanteclers.

Ellen, sorry about your hen. Hope she recovers.

Kathy

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#87428 - 06/08/07 07:09 AM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Anonymous
Unregistered


Just to update you all, the hen is in with the flock again. She still can't use the one leg (it hangs limply and is crossed over the other one when she stands), but she manages to hop/fly around when she really needs to. She is holding her own with the others, not being pecked up I think because she puffs herself out and must have been one of the higher-ups before she got sick. She is thin, and over the last 2 days has taken to hiding under the hen house more of the time. I wonder if she is tiring of the work it takes day to day to keep herself going. I'm thinking of putting her back in with the goats who may not be so hard to hold her own with. She still gobbles down her layer feed.... will have to see,
Ellen

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#87429 - 06/30/07 07:17 PM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Anonymous
Unregistered


Another update, she's now doing very well. She's in with the flock, still limping but getting around by hopping and using her wings, relearning how to walk with a weak leg. I think she'll be fine, seems content and has put some weight back on. I think we made it over that hurdle, now we're realizing one of new hens is really a rooster! His cockadoodle do needs some work, but he certainly seems to be a he smile
Ellen

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#87430 - 07/06/07 02:06 PM Re: Another limping chicken, 2 weeks out
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ellen,
Thanks for the update. I love it when members enter their issues and give updates, good or bad. It's hard to remember to go back and update - I've been there - but much appreciated!

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