Starting from the very beginning... I got my first flock of chickens from a co-worker who was going through a divorce. This was back in 1994 and I didn't have the internet to turn to back then. Everything was fine and I didn't have problems. After that I just got hatchery chicks with the exception of a few bantam Seabrights that another co-worker gave me. Still no internet so I thought that the scaley legs was just how they were until it spread to the rest of my flock. I had a lot of chickens at the time, and the remedies for mites that I read in books wasn't really feasible on a large flock. I ended up depopulating, cleaned out the hen house, and left it empty for the winter. Then I started again and just got hatchery chicks. I never opted for the Mareks vaccine because nobody around me has chickens so I thought I was safe there. Fast forward to last winter. We had way more snow than normal, but temps overall weren't as cold as they were the winter before. One night I went out to feed and found two dead chickens. Of course I was alarmed. When I went to move the water fount to fill it, I noticed that the heated base was making a buzzing noise. I thought that maybe the dead chickens got electrocuted, though when I found them they were nowhere near the water. I took it out and checked the circuit, no problems there so I got a new heater. But still for the rest of the winter and into the spring I would lose a chicken here and there. Enough to worry me, but nothing that I could put my finger on. Around May I quit having losses, then in July I decided to worm the flock because they were a little thinner than I liked. This spring I had a bunch of chicks that I moved to the outside brooder at a younger age than is normal (for me) because it was warming up outside. The problem is that these chicks didn't grow like my chicks normally do. They are Frizzled Cochin and some mixes from my flock (possible crosses are EE/Cuckoo Marans and Buff Orp crosses) I thought perhaps it was because part of their diet is from foraging. I have since found that the Cochins aren't the best foragers so that could be part of the problem. But I have some Leghorns in with them which I think are supposed to be good foragers? I was thinking perhaps the quality of forage was the problem. They are fenced in an unused part of the garden beside some Cottonwood trees. We planted the trees but have since learned that they are water and nutruient hogs so are a bad choice to have by the garden. So the trees have to be taken out, in the meantime I thought that maybe the weeds are lacking in nutrition. Now I am wondering if Mareks can cause this? What makes me now suspect that I have Marek's... I was looking at my year old EE rooster a few days ago and noticed that one pupil is oval. Closer inspection shows a a milky clouding close to the pupil. I looked at my other chickens and saw some year old Brown Leghorns with very small pupils on one side and normal looking on the other. I look at pictures of the split leg chickens and it looks familiar but I can't say if any of mine had that or did I just see pictures before so it looks familiar? Last winter one of my roosters staggered a bit when I went in to feed, then he seemed like he was walking better. A few days later he died. Starting around the winter of 2009-2010 my egg production has been down a bit and has been hit or miss ever since. Quite a few eggs for a day or two then very few. This could actually be normal because the ages of my birds vary from a year or so to probably at least 6 or 7. I am not getting as many white eggs as I would expect considering that I have 15 - 20 Brown Leghorns hatched last year (from MM hatchery). They are smaller than the White Leghorns that I had previously and seem to have the different sized pupils more than my other varieties of chickens. I visited a friend who has chickens, and later took one of my Chantecler hens to her (they grew normally, but were also vaccinated for Marek's I think. They were from John Blehm and from his website it appears that he vaccinates unless you ask not to). 3.5 weeks later one of her chicks that hatched from shipped eggs started limping. He appears better now, but I am sick at the thought that I may have spread this to her flock. The only other chickens besides my own and my friends (hers are hatchery stock mixed with chicks from a fellow BYC member and some hatched from my eggs and shipped eggs) that I have been around was in October 2008 when I went to somebody's house to pick up a pair of peafowl, and she had chickens too. Looking at the Merck site, they said: Mareks disease is one of the most ubiquitous avian infections; it is identified in chicken flocks worldwide. Every flock, except for those maintained under strict pathogen-free conditions, may be presumed to be infected. Although clinical disease is not always apparent in infected flocks, a subclinical decrease in growth rate and egg production may be economically important. So does this sound like Marek's to you? Starting cost for a necropsy here was $75 about 10 years ago, if Marek's is really that common would a necropsy be worth it? (No avian vets around). And what is the best course of action? Depopulate and start over with vaccinated stock? Is it worth it to do that when the new stock will likely be infected anyhow? Do I just plan to have any new chicks vaccinated prior to arrival, vaccinate any that I hatch and just keep some of the old stock here (my BCM, Chantecler, and Ameraucana that I just got this year), cull anything with symptoms and breed for resistance? I start chicks in the house, will I be able to sell any of those chicks that have never been exposed to the flock? One interesting note: reading here in BYC it appears that Silkies have very little resistance to Marek's. I have one Silkie Rooster and a Bantam Cochin rooster. Both are 7 or 8 years old and so far are still doing fine though the Silkie rooster is looking pretty old. Please give me your thoughts on all of this. I feel sick about it but have not hit panic stage... yet.