Maereks Disease? How to Diagnose?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jene Bean, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. Jene Bean

    Jene Bean Hatching

    Mar 29, 2014
    Hi Everyone,
    Ive got a problem with my flock. Ive read about vitamin deficeincy and it does not seem to fit. Ive had six birds in the last two years die and about 4 survive, first they start to have some limping behaviour then paralyzed one side and second leg paralysis when it goes that far and the symptoms either improve within a week or two or the bird dies. I isolate as soon as I realize something is off with any of my birds. We live off grid. Our birds are free to roam and have open feeding. There has been one random bird grom six different groups and never two from the same group. Our birds seem to have their own group to hang out and eat n sleep with. When a bird shows no improvement and losses too much weight despite eating and drinking quite well. Have difficulties with putting any weight on their legs. I massage their legs but can tell when there id no longer any feeling left or ability to put any weight at all on their legs. This seems to be random and as I mentioned has affected 10 birds in two years now. Or that we have noticed. I had to let go of my favorite silkie momma today and just after doing so found another female sussex struggling with the same thing. This follows a rooster two weeks ago.... so I am now convinced its something spreading through my babes :-( Any idea how the layman can figure out if its Marecks or should I consider culling my flocks and waiting 3 years to begin again? Desperate for a more hopeful outcome....
  2. BarkingChickens

    BarkingChickens Chirping

    Jun 25, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    Sorry, but it sounds like Marek's . I have had some chickens come down with it and I immediately put down the ones with symptoms. Not much else you can do, as all attempts to treat it not work. You don't need to cull the entire flock, but immediately cull those with any symptoms. Lethargic, wasting away, leg or nervous system issues, etc.. Cull ASAP. Good luck!
  3. Jene Bean

    Jene Bean Hatching

    Mar 29, 2014
    Will it continue to kill hirds each year and ae infected birds still edible or should all birds be considered toxic? Some do live and I undertand they will have the virus for life and can pass it on. You may not even know a bird is a carrier... Not sure if you can answer these questions but worth asking :)
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Some birds may be immune to it. Mareks does sound like it could be the problem, and it stays in your environment from the dust, dander, and droppings for many years, at least seven. Buying vaccinated chicks from a hatchery that are kept away from the environment for 2-3 weeks to develop immunity would be a way to get more chickens. You can send a bird off for a necropsy and request testing for Mareks by your state vet. Here are some good links to read about Mareks:
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    You've received some good advice so far from the above posters. It sounds like possible Marek's to me, as well. But, the only way to be certain is to have a necropsy done. If you lose any more, I'd consider sending one in for a necropsy.

    Birds with Marek's can still be eaten. It isn't passed to humans.

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