Is this Mereks??


5 Years
Apr 30, 2015
I HAD 5 16 wk old chicks (2polish 2 silkies and 1Liege fighter) Last wk I lost a polish and silkie I day apart. They were fine in am but we’re dead by evening. Now the remaining Polish is paralyzed and Liege is stumbling around and his left foot is completely turned to the side They’re still both eating well I got the silkies and Polish from Rural King and hatched the Liege. I called the store just to ask if they were vaccinated against Mereks but she didn’t know. Does this sound like Mereks? Other than adding Nutridench in their water I don’t know what else to do...


6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
Yeah it sounds like Mareks. Stress from integration often triggers a fatal Mareks outbreak in adolescent birds. It is a herpes virus and while it is often dormant for a bird's entire life, high stress levels trigger it (getting picked on, predator scares, injuries or illnesses that cause stress etc...). Do whatever you can to reduce the stress levels immediately especially if you have other birds not yet affected.

Prevention is really the best option, as far as I know there are no truly effective treatments. Wetting down their chicken feed will help them eat if they start to have problems with head/neck coordination. I also asked my vet for a script of Valtrex (a generic anti-herpes med sold for humans) and give any bird that is overly stressed from an injury or whatever a couple of doses to *prevent* them from getting sick.

FYI the Mareks vaccine is very controversial, it does NOT offer complete immunity and the vaccine is actually allowing for the spread of new extremely deadly Mareks strains.

One last note, my flock has had Marek's for 6 years now. I have not had a bird get sick for over 4 years in large part because I now only use broodies to raise chicks with the flock (to eliminate social stress).

Is this your first flock? Do you have older birds? Have the chicks been stressed?
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