HELP! All of my baby chicks are getting sick, believe that its Marek's


11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Hello everyone. One of my daughters hens layed, and hatched 12 young chicks about two months ago, and we immediately put them in a brooder, just like we alwasy do and started hand raising them (we have hawks around here bad). About a week or so ago one by one they started getting sick, really sick. It begins where they are unable to walk that well on thier own, and one leg begins to stick straight out, and their feet start to curl up. Its as if their legs get stiff, stick straight out, and a couple days later all they are able to do is flop around, and even unable to get off thier backs. As if they are paralyzed. I can hold them and they will eat, or drink, but they are just totally paralyzed. I have had chickens for several years, and never had this issue. We now only have about 5 left, and my daughter and I are getting REALLY upset because of this. Its heartbreaking. I dont want whatever this is going to my grown chicks and killing all of my other animals, so someone PLEASE HELP US!! I dont check here very often so if you could email me any advice that you have, it would be great. Is there something we can give them to ensure all of my chicks wont die??
Most likely mareks is in your flock and the adults are just immune to it. There is a vaccine for mareks. Most effective on day olds, but can be administered at any time. Can be bought from several online poultry suppliers(cutler's, first state vet, etc).

I can get it at my local feed store. Before you order it online(shipping is expensive), make some calls to see if you can find it locally.

I am sorry you and daughter are having deal with this.

Morganton, NC
After reading online about this, and on this forum, it sounds like they have Mareks. It starts with one leg, and then moves to the other. Its horrible. I am happy to know that it wont spread to ducks because we have a duckling that was in there with them too. Thanks so much, I was afraid that there was nothing that we could do. I will go today to Tractor Supply and get some meds. Do I need to give them anything else besides the shot? I am assuming thats what it is. What do I do if my hens hatch other eggs, should I begin vaccinating all new hatchlings from now on since it can get into my soil? Thanks
If you don't mind me asking.

Silkiechicken or anyone else, How do you vaccinate a baby chick or any chicken. Where do you inject (if that's how they are vaccinated or is a pill form??? does it come with instructions??


P.S. kjones6689 so sorry to hear about your birds.
Thanks! She is rather upset.

I was going to ask the same question. Online it said that you inject behind the neck, is this right?? Or can I just get a powder form and put in thier drinking water. I dont like needles in the least bit, so the easier the better for me.
Marek's vaccine must be administered sub-q (or under the skin) at the base of the neck. The whole process is intimidating at first but becomes easier once you do it. If you need help, please PM me and I will be happy to talk you through it.

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