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Is it Mareks?

My friend has been losing hens to some disease for a couple of months, they fall off their feet, their toes curl under them and they haven't laid in months. The vet hadn't mentioned Mareks, but the next one is just off to the vet, does this sound like it?

It does sound like it to me Sad

This is what's been killing my chooks then....does it affect ducks in the same way ?

They often present with one leg forward and one leg back when they die. Their pupils react peculiary to light, too. If you have a Google you can probably find some pics, although they don't always die like that.

It's spread through feather dander and cold kills it. Scrub the house out regularly with something evil and cull the minute you see symptoms.

You can get a PM done for £40 or £50 to be sure.

I didn't think it affected ducks.

I asked because I had Indian Runners dying at the same time

Just culled another chook this morning showing symptoms

Probably doing the rest during the week & re-starting in the Spring

Read on another chooks page that Marek's is there "for good" ie when you've got it, it doesn't go away

Is this the case ?

I think Bebo had it and left the houses empty over a cold winter after sterilising them and got rid of it that way.

I think unless you cull everything, sterilise and start again completely then it does hang around - it's one of the reasons that people say you shouldn't mix vaccinated and unvaccinated stock - the vaccinated can be asymptomatic carriers and infect your unvaccinated. This isn't a problem if you unvaccinated birds are resistant, but of course you don't know until they either get it or don't get it.

I'm breeding for resistance; it's taking a while, but it's working I think. I didn't have it for years and then I bought a bird in that must have been a carrier and it wiped out about half my youngsters - some strains of Barnevelders are particularly prone to it. I spent a couple of years culling out youngsters at the first sign of symptoms and I try and breed from two-year-old and older birds that are obviously resistant. I haven't had any sign of it this year.

It's the usual good-hygiene-cull-anything-poorly thing - unless you want to vaccinate. I might do that if I was more organised as it's a quick fix. But generally I think breeding resistance in is a better long-term plan.


Don't know about the runners. There's some sort of duck virus thing that they can get, isn't there? Did they have their necks go all floppy?

Thanks for that...that clears things up a bit

We have bought all our birds layers & eaters from the same man

We lately took on some bantams & ducks from friends of ours; all their chooks are in good health I thought the problem came from their ducks...maybe not

Oh well, we'll start again next year with fresh stock

That said, the few successes we've had with hatching are doing very well; the Runners hatched at home are enormous; & the chooks from an experimental incubation (1 cock bird & 2 hens) are in rude health

So which batch are dying? Or is it across the board?

We had 10 eaters around 8 weeks old; then 15 more around 6(?) weeks old; the younger weree still inside under a lamp as per man's instructions.
No problems thus far.
Four of our friends' Runners died in quick succession, & one of our layers; followed by our two original this point we started to lose the younger eaters that were still inside...I imagine that if there was a virus lurking with the outside fowl, I was taking it into the young 'uns when I fed them
When the younger eaters were ready to put out, nine had died, & two of the eaters already living outside.
We are now down to seven of the first batch of eaters & one from the second....& have had another two layers die
I say "layers" but no eggs for about four months now

All the deaths apart from the ducks have occurred in birds bought from the same source, that had no visible signs of illness, before the arrival of the "outsiders"

All the housing has been blow-torched to within an inch of its life; then toxic powdery anti-mite stuff spread about; drinking vessels changed; anything suspect removed & burned (including corpses)

I disinfected the run with the same powder...I had one concern in that, the runs are bare earth floors; this was on the advice of my neighbour who told me it was better for the birds...obviously less easy to clean but ultimately better than concrete or gravel

I hope this all makes sense

It makes sense and all sounds reasonable. You can use lime on earth pens, but you can't put birds back on straight away. I think Pookie has tried this.

It does sound as if something has come in with the new birds. Are the bantams okay?

Are the ducks and the hens showing exactly the same symptoms? Have you got any pictures of the corpses?

The bantams are bouncing around looking very healthy, but they all live in the tree over the main run, therefore are outside 24/7

The ducks became very "scruffy" for want of a better word; our two Runners were paired up with our three Muscovy females & were constantly trying to mount them...then it all stopped & everyone looked a bit depressed

As an example, we had a beautiful "cendrée" ash-coloured hen with blue/black legs; she was plump & very hen-like (obviously) but a real picture of health...last week she couldn't stand & weighed nothing...effects came on very quickly; in fact, we can now almost predict which bird will go next

No pictures as I burned everything but I don't think we've had the last of the fatalities yet so will keep a camera handy

Have you wormed them?

We've done nothing except add vinegar to their water...again, man's instructions each time...apparently, everything was treated

I must be honest & say I know of no one here that worms their chickens; & it's never been mentioned to me as a necessity

As I say, I followed instructions given by the breeder

It was just a thought. They can be really poorly with worms - both ducks and hens. But to be honest, if you had an infestation you'd probably see it in their faeces.

We await photos of corpses with interest Smile

my oddest chook autopsy result finding was death by oily rag Rolling Eyes

My friend took chicken to the vet. He put it to sleep (£££££), and said he thought it was infectious bronchitis. Mmmmm, not sure.

It was just a thought. They can be really poorly with worms - both ducks and hens. But to be honest, if you had an infestation you'd probably see it in their faeces.

We await photos of corpses with interest Smile

I saw that as "faces"....

Their poop can be funny colours but as they eat a lot of greenery, corn, barley etc, I'd expected something similar, so wasn't looking to inspect it closely

Next corpse will be snapped & uploaded, barring any computer incompetence on my part
Green Rosie

Don't know about the runners. There's some sort of duck virus thing that they can get, isn't there? Did they have their necks go all floppy?

Interesting - I had a Runner a while ago who fell out of the shed in the morning with a floppy neck and she was unable to lify her head. I slaughtered her thinking she had a back/neck injury caused by some weird sex the drake may well have been into (He's a bit if a randy sod Embarassed ). Randy male and the other female were fine.
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