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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23815
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I have a flock of 28 guinea fowl. I had to go on an

Customer Question

I have a flock of 28 guinea fowl. I had to go on an emergency leave of absence from my farm 3 weeks ago. I hired caretaker for the farm but things were not taken care of as I had hoped. I got home two days ago and 8 of my Guineas are limping. There were confined to their pen. The pen wasn't cleanedand no bedding material was put down. I found out they were being feed cheaper chicken layer feed. Is there a disease that can cause leg issues because of the unsanitary conditions I returned to or is it most likely lack of nutrition? I would like to butcher my guineas for my families consumption, but am now worried.Is there any disease I can get from them if they are properly cooked?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Considering the poor conditions they were subjected to while you were gone, I would first check the feet of a lame bird for infectious pododermatitis (bumblefoot). You could certainly eat such a bird as long as you don't like (chicken, mostly) feet in black bean sauce as can be found in many Chinese restaurants. You may be concerned about Marek's disease (herpesvirus) which can cause lameness in many avian species (chickens, mostly). Even if Marek's were present, both meat and eggs can be eaten safely.

I'm going to consult with a friend of mine who's a specialist veterinary pathologist with a special interest in birds and then return to our conversation. I need to know if she's ever seen Marek's in guinea fowl. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Those were my thoughts, I just wanted to make sure I could eat the birds still. I have no intention of eating their feet. I will also look into Marek's disease.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Thank you. I'll speak to you soon.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

The pathologist hasn't seen Marek's in guinea fowl. "Sudden lameness in a bunch of Guinea fowl would surely make me think of bumblefoot first, but other possibilities like injuries, staph, mycoplasma also come to mind." were her words. If obvious injury to their feet can't be found, they should be culled and not eaten in case a systemic infection with Staphylococcus or Mycoplasma is present. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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