Salt began exhibiting Pepa's symptoms the day Pepa died. When Salt got to the point of not being able to breathe well, we took her to the Emergency Clinic for Animals in Madison. Dr. Mark Koeppl (who also took care of our late beloved cat, Riley) handled Salt with care. He kept her overnight, and in the morning, recommended that we put her down. He sent her little chicken body off to the State Lab, and today the results came back: we've been dealing with Marek's this whole time.
This is devastating news. Since Marley was put down, we've been waiting for results from the state lab to no avail. We're not really sure why that has taken so long, but the turnaround time on Salt was only three days. Shouldas, wouldas, and couldas are running rampant through my mind: we shouldn't have put all the chicks together, we should have waited until we got the State Lab results for Marley, we could have gotten another coop so the chicks could be separated until we knew, etc., etc. Ani is currently limping around the run, and I'm sick with worry about her. She is the chicken version of the love of my life.
We're waiting for answers as to how to proceed. I want our chickens to live. I don't even care about eggs. I love those little birds. Luckily, I have a super compassionate and empathetic husband who consoles me with back rubs, tears up with me, and has a deep fondness for our feathery friends. Thank goodness for soul mates.
|Salt as a baby, with our only Easter Egger left, Spinderella|
|Andy with his favorite baby chick|
P.S. We don't normally add face photos, but this one really shows Salt's personality.
We've learned quite a bit from this ordeal, including:
1. Get all of our chickens from one source. Purchasing from multiple places was our mistake in this situation.
2. Marek's is rare, the second rarest chicken disease after Newcastle Disease. (We're unlucky!?!)
3. Marek's shows up through so many symptoms. The "respiratory symptoms" were Marek's. The limp was Marek's. The empty crop= Marek's.
4. If chickens are pets, culling them seems impossible. To us, it would be like hitting our cats over the head to put them to sleep. We'll be taking all of our chickens to the vet to say good-bye when the time arises just like we would our cats. We seem crazy. We know it, and we're okay with it.
Please send our chicks: Ani, Zappa, Janis, Ella, and Spinderella your most optimistic vibes ...