How unlucky. It strikes again!


6 Years
Jul 5, 2013
Northern Ireland
I'm sure this word sickens us all, yes mareks!

Well last year I lost 3 chickens to this horrible thing the rest survived showed no symtoms. I was so glad when it "went" away. I know it never leaves but I didn't have another symtom or dead chicken since.

Then last week my oldest hen died, her symtoms were that of mareks, I panicked to say the least, she was followed a day later by my gorgeous rooster tony - then three days after him my Rhode Island Red rooster big red died. It's now been two days from the last death and no more chickens are showing illness but I am completely drained from it hitting again.

Is it normal for it to strike again nearly 6 months after? I thought I'd seen the end of it, ok maybe not the disease itself but the deaths from it, if the rest had already been exposed to it how come they're only dying now?
I'm terribly sorry you are dealing with this! There are not many "Normals" for this disease, but to answer your question, yes this can happen. Unfortunately because the bird has the virus for life, it can "wait" in dormancy (this is called latency) and if the chicken becomes sick or stressed out from something, it can become "active" once again. This often happens if something really stresses the birds out (predator attack, changes to the flock, etc) and/or if they become ill with a secondary problem such as cocci or a respiratory disease, etc. I am not an expert, but if I had to guess, I'd say something happened in your flock that would cause this to rear its ugly head once again. Has anything happened within the last few weeks to cause stress to your birds, or any other possible problems? Even a big parasite load (internal or external) could be enough to weaken their immune systems and that is when Marek's will "show itself" again in some flocks.
Well as for changes I moved them into new housing in February so that's likely done it :( honestly it's the most horrid thing ever. So far alls been well today!
Marek's is horrid, I agree. I'm sorry that you are dealing with it seemingly coming out of latency!! All my best wishes to you.. I hope that your symptomatic birds get well again. There is always a chance they will!
Thanks guys. All we want is for our featherd friends to be well and healthy so it's a disappointment when their health is out of our hands and all we can do is let nature take its course. We can but hope :)

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