Does my pullet have Mareks?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
Mansfield, Ohio
Hello! I am new to owning chickens & new to posting on this forum although I've been reading here for a couple of months learning many things! Here is my question...I have a Salmon Faverolle pullet (hatched April 5th) that was bought from a hatchery & vaccinated for Mareks. She was one of 12 that I bought that week. I following week I purchased 15 EEs which were also vaccinated for Mareks. Everything has been problems at all...until 2 nights ago. My daughter & I went out to close everyone in the coop & this pullet is laying kind of one her side/back flopping around. I picked her up & she felt a bit limp so I brought her in the house. She then stood up, started eating & drinking quite a bit. I decided to put her in a rubbermaid tote at night & keep her inside so I could keep an eye on her.

She's been relatively quiet at night although once in awhile she will stand up, run around in a circle flapping her one wing & rolling her head around. The wing she's moving appears to be drooping more than the other one & quite often she preens that wing only...not the normal one. The wing doesn't appear broken or anything. During the day when the chickens are out in the run I will put her out there also to walk around. She walks ok (no limping or anything) but just isn't very active & that wing always droops down. When she's been in the run I haven't seen any of that weird circling behavior like when she's in the house. Through it all, she's been eating, drinking, & pooping like normal. I've been trying to look on the forum to see if anyone else has encountered this, but didn't find much on this issue. I did read a couple of symptoms of Mareks & was wondering if it sounded like it could be that. ALL of the chicks were vaccinated.

A few other things I might mention...they are on an organic feed, starter grit, have fresh water daily, very clean coop & run & get fresh fruits, vegetables about every day. I am supposed to be picking up 7 Black Cooper Marans pullets-day old chicks (which will also be vaccinated for Mareks) on Monday & I'm wondering if it will be ok to do so. I guess I'm afraid if she does have Mareks what danger will the chicks be in? Hopefully I'm just worrying too much. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated!
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I'm hoping someone else will chime in here because i'm not the best authority on marek's.

Your description does sound like other marek's descriptions i've read (though i have no personal experience).

I've also read that chicks can get marek's even though they've been vaccinated.

You might want to change the title of your thread to get a little more attention. Something like "does my chick have marek's?" would work.
Thanks! I did change the title like you suggested so hopefully I will get some response. Some of the symptoms sounded like it could be Mareks from what I've read about it, but since I'm new to this I just don't know for sure. I also read that they could still get Mareks even though they were vaccinated. I sure hope its something else & nothing serious. Thanks for responding though!
These symptoms seem to fit Newcastle disease better than Marek's. Both have the capability of effecting neurological function, but Mareks commonly shows up as leg paralysis. Here is part of what the Merck Veterinary Manual says about Newcastle symptoms:

"Observed signs depend on whether the infecting virus has a predilection for respiratory, digestive, or nervous systems. Respiratory signs of gasping, coughing, sneezing, and rales predominate in low virulence infections. Nervous signs of tremors, paralyzed wings and legs, twisted necks, circling, clonic spasms, and complete paralysis may accompany, but usually follow, the respiratory signs in neurotropic velogenic disease."

Mareks also produces various neurological symptoms, but the "paralyzed wings...twisted necks, circling, clonic spasms..." doesn't seem to be common, but not unlikely depending on the degree of infection.

I think you need to consult an expert. I suggest you consult your Vet, but if you cannot afford that, free help is available by calling your local cooperative extension office, the State Veterinarian, or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veterinary Services office to find out why. USDA operates a toll-free hotline (1-866-536-7593) with veterinarians to help you.
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I thought I would update this post to let anyone that may be interested know what happened to my hen. She eventually started losing weight & not wanting to eat so I took her to my vet & he thought it would be best to put her down & autopsy her. She ended up having an ear infection that went into that side of her brain & that caused the odd movements etc...He said it was a one in a million freak thing & I'd probably never see it again as long as I own chickens. Other than that he said she looked very healthy & nothing else wrong with her. I was just thankful it wasn't Mareks because some of the symptoms were very similar. Just sad that I lost her...I got pretty attached to her trying to nurse her through this.

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