Merek's disease?


Mar 29, 2015
I have posted a couple different threads about my Golden Laced Wyandotte. She's 2 1/2. Her symptoms looked a lot like internal laying, ascites or EYP. Her symptoms don't look like that much at this point. She has recovered to a point where she is alert, highly interested in food and water again and is her normal chicken self for the most part. However, she can't walk. She can't move. Occasionally, she can stand up but normally when she tries to stand, she will fall. If she tries to walk, she falls. Her toes are often curled up and she has no balance. Its almost like shes paralyzed. We are starting to think, based on this, she could have mereks disease. She is in an isolation coop and has been for about 2 weeks now.

What are some other symptoms of mereks disease, or what else do you think she may have?

Thanks in advance!


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
Yes, it could be Marek's and the other issues may have stemmed from it.

It could also be neurotoxin poisoning. Exposure to petroleum distillates, even a few oil coated bits of grit a chicken consumes can lead to symptoms like your hen has.

Take a fresh look at what is sitting around in the area where your chickens roam. Do you see any yard or automotive machinery that happen to be leaking fluids onto the soil under them? These fluids can poison the soil and are just as deadly toxic as insecticides.


2 Dozen Chickens Past Normal!
8 Years
Dec 31, 2014
NE Missouri
I'm so sorry your hen is ill.

Marek's paralysis usually presents itself with a distinctive 'scissor' stance. The chicken will drag one leg behind it, toes curled and when it rests, it will rest with the leg either stretched out in front of it or behind. When both legs are involved, they will have the look of an open pair of scissors with one in front and one stretched behind it.

Paralysis is a predominant symptom of Marek's. What is puzzling is that I've only had the scissor paralysis in one bird and it was 9 weeks old. So 2 1/2 is a bit old for this symptom to show itself. With Marek's they usually are infected when they are very young and if they survive the preliminary infection they live on to die of one of the satellite diseases associated with the disease.

Could she be suffering from secondary tumors related to Marek's that are causing her current symptoms? Yes.

Could her symptoms of internal laying and being egg bound be associated with Marek's? Yes, once again, back to the tumors, this time reproductive.

How is her weight? Is she bone thin?

Marek's can present with numerous symptoms. I currently have a 3 year old speckled Sussex hen that I am treating for crop problems related to Marek's. I know I have Marek's exposed flock so when something weird pops up with them I just assume it is related to the disease.

Suggestions? You could try building a chicken sling for her. There are threads about them here on BYC. Unfortunately, if it is Marek's there is little you can do for your girl besides make her comfortable as the paralysis will progress. Ultimately, if it does progress you may be facing the possibility of ending her suffering. I know, that is a hard decision to make and only you can make it for her when the time comes.

I wish I had more information I could give you or more advice. Marek's is a terrible hateful nasty disease that I hate with every fiber of my body. It has taken over 18 of my birds in a years time and I have no doubt that it will eventually take more. Just know if it is Marek's your whole flock is exposed now. They will not all be affected but some will be. I truly hope this isn't the case with your flock and you hen is suffering from some other problem.

Maybe @Ravynscroft or @casportpony can offer some suggestions.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom