Possible Marek's?


8 Years
May 30, 2011
Hi there,

One of my (7 month old) RRI hens started limping a few days ago. After reading a few posts on here, sounds like it could be early stages of Mareks. Couple of questions -

how long does it typically take for the full onset of symptoms to develop? Everything appears healthy with her except for the limp. She does put a bit of weight on it and even some scratching, but I cant tell if she simply injured her leg or its the onset of Mareks.

Thanks for the help
I would first like to say that I am sorry your bird is not feeling well, and I hope it gets better soon.
Now, with Mareks, most birds (if they are to get it ) will catch it between 5-25 weeks of age. The most common type are eye, visceral (tumor producing), and nerve.
The nerve version is known by some Fanciers as 'down in the leg', and symptoms range from slight to severe paralysis in the wings, legs, or neck, and usually results in death from trampling by other chickens, and/or the inability to get to food and water. There can be 'transient' paralysis that disappears after a few days, such as a dropped wing that suddenly corrects itself. In the eye version, you'll detect an irregularly shaped pupil, cloudy eye ('gray eye'), or sensitivity to light. It can result in blindness. The visceral version should be considered when a bird is just generally 'wasting'.
Mareks is extremely contagious but does not spread vertically (to the egg). Youngsters should develop a natural immunity (called 'age resistance'), by the time they're five months old. This is one of the reasons it is important to raise your youngsters separately from your oldsters. The older birds that have encountered Mareks and have managed to survive are carriers. New birds coming in from other flocks are always potential carriers.
Cutaneous form: Enlarged reddened feather follicles and white bumps on the skin that form
brown crusty scabs.
Neural form: Characterized by one, all, or none of the following symptoms -
• Progressive paralysis, usually of the leg or wing, a typical leg-paralysis victim will
have one leg extended forward and one leg extended back. A swelling of the sciatic
nerve is the cause.
• Weight loss
• Labored breathing
• Diarrhea
• Starvation and death due to an inability to reach feed and water and to trampling by pen mates.
• Cutaneous (skin form)
• Neural (nerve form)
• Ocular (eye form)
• Visceral (internal-organ form)
Ocular form:
• Gray eye color
• Misshapen iris
• Weight loss
• Blindness
• Death
Visceral Form: Tumors on internal organs including heart, ovary, liver and lung.

Hope this helps and good luck
Here is a short video showing how she is limping around:

It appears to be getting worse.
It does not appear to be paralyzed...looks to me like she really hurt it....did you check her pads and the leg and surrounding skin to see if you can see or feel anything???
If you think it is getting worse I would take her to a avian vet.
Make her some scrambled eggs with butter milk ( this will give her system a little boost) and hopefully help the healing process if it is only an injury. You can also help her with some vitamin in the water to give her more immune boost.
Agree , could very well be Bumblefoot, and if it is , you need to treat right away. If left untreated she could die. Can you take a pic of the bottom of her hurt foot??? Then I can better tell. Your looking for darken to black scab, or calus like marks. there may or may not be swelling of the foot, let and or in between toes. If it is Present you will have to remove right away and I can tell you how to do that, but first a Pic if you can

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