Pretty sure my chickens have Mareks... What do I do now???


8 Years
Mar 2, 2011
San Martin, California
My two chickens are completely paralyzed and I do not know what to do with them. I do not have the heart to kill them but I can not spend all my time hand feeding and watering these chickens... I have read a ton about Mareks and I'm almost positive they have it. I am new with raising chickens but learning a ton. I am worried because I have 3 adult healthy chickens and also the chicks sibling that I separated. Are my other chickens all going to get this as well? The infected chicks are only about 3 months old.I posted a comment last night and someone told me to try hypericum. I have been putting it in their water and hand feeding them. No signs of getting better yet but I am willing to keep trying. It breaks my heart because they are chirping and trying to survive. I guess I'm asking what do most people do with chickens that have Mareks? Will the paralysis go away in time? Do they need to die? I have no idea what I'm doing...
You can keep trying to hand feed them if you want. Most of the time they don't get better
If they show no improvement have a friend that can put them down or if not that. Take them to the vet to get the shot
So sorry your going through this.

I've read Mareks is actually sort of common but I could be wrong. They do sell a a vaccine that you can give your chicks and chickens and any other chickens/chicks that you get. Once they have it they will remain a carrier but if you vaccinate the tumors/symtoms wont show up thus killing your other birds.

A bottole of vaccine is around $20 1,000 dose but is only good for about an hour after you mix it.

My heart breaks for you, Kelly -- I've dealt with Marek's and it's heartwrenching. I had a beautiful, happy, healthy flock until I brought home some silkies from S. IL and apparently they were the source of the virus. I did quarantine them but not for long enough (2 weeks). I lost a lovely show quality silkie roo who started showing symptoms about a week after I put them with the existing crowd. In quick succession I lost several OEGBs and a couple of EEs. Three more OEGB bantam Black Breasted Reds got sick. I took them to the vet, had them euthanized, and sent to the Breathitt Co. (KY) state lab for necropsy and testing. They had a combination of Marek's and multiple strains of coccidiosis. The vet said to assume my entire flock could be carriers, and to maintain a closed flock -- none in or out. I ended up with a few more babies (hidden nests, the little goomers!) and didn't lose any more to the Marek's, but have lost a few more to coccidiosis. We apparently have a severe overload of coccidia oocysts in the soil -- the vet recommended keeping them on medicated chick starter routinely. I did have one beautiful bantam cochin who developed the Marek's, and I tried the hypericum with her. I used it for a little over 2 mos. and saw no visible improvement at all. I kept her propped up inside a "kitty cup" pet bed with a towel under one side for balance. She ate, drank, was alert, and seemed to enjoy when I would take her outside and put her in the grass. However, all that time she had incredibly loose, grainy looking stool. I gave her a bath at least once daily (which she didn't seem to mind at all). She kept losing weight until she was nothing but a skeleton and feathers, even with high protein treats and MannaPro food. I finally couldn't justify to myself putting her through a life that didn't resemble that of a proud, happy, chicken. I took her and had her euthanized. I held her as she died, and I buried her in my back yard. If I ever do add to my flock again with chickens that haven't hatched here, they will be vaccinated for Marek's and anything else I can get a vaccine for. I got some EEs and a couple of Golden Comets/Cinnamon Queens last Spring, and they were vaccinated for Marek's. They're all fine with the exception of one I lost to coccidiosis. This last time I used Sulmet since the medicated chick starter was apparently not enough to keep the organism at bay. It seemed to stop it fairly quickly. I'll make sure to keep it on hand now, even if it is harder on their systems than the Amprolium. I'm sorry about your predicament; I asked the vet about Bambina's paralysis, the hypericum, the weight loss and loose grainy stool, etc. He said he has been in practice and seen Marek's for several years, and he has NEVER seen one recover from the paralysis or from Marek's in general.
I'm so sorry. You might, for your own peace of mind, have the two sick ones euthanized and have a necropsy done so you will know for certain.
No, you're not wrong. It can be more prevalent in certain areas. The vets here and from the state lab said that it is so prevalent / widespread, every chicken owner should assume it is in their area. I think the vaccine is only helpful if the chicks are given to it BEFORE they are ever exposed to any other chickens or the environment in which other chickens live. It is my understanding that the vaccine doesn't prevent exposure or the virus' entering the chicken, but that it prevents the lesions on the nerves and in the brain that result from the virus. It is those lesions that cause the neurological issues. It can affect chickens months after exposure; most often the symptoms start around 3-5 mos., but I had some that were right at a year old and started exhibiting symptoms.
Thanks so much for replying to me. You mentioned the vaccine... So~ I should now vaccinate all my other chickens?? Will I be able to get more baby chicks eventually? This totally sucks! I love these two little ones!!!!! They get excited when they see me and I don't know how I'm going to tell my kids about them needing to be killed!!
I vaccinate any chicks/birds that I get (new birds are rare) but with any chicks I hatch I do vaccinate them just in case.. I mean you can pick up the virus from any poultry shows,feedstores,swaps,anywhere and some people may not know they have it in their flock until a bird comes down with the symptoms.

I'd rather spend the $20 on vaccinating even ONE chick if it hatches. I don't want to go through the pain of mareks
I've read that some chicks may get it... and some don't but I'd rather not take that chance.

Just my 2 cents
sorry you and your kids are going through this

Last edited:
This week I had the same problem,
1 chicken totally paralyzed, the second day she started eating,
I have given her antibiotics and selenium and vitamin e.

2 days ago I decided to euthanize her .
I said i will take her to all the spots in the patio where she
liked to dig for worms.

I never let her eat from some plants, of course they were meant for me not her,
but in my deep sadness I decided to give her a little leaves of the spinach and tomatoes to eat.

I said to myself What the hell let her eat some of the coffee plant.

I did not get round to kill her, she would be the first animal I put down.

1 leaf is all she eat, a new leaf at that very small, next morning she was wobbling around the cage.

today in the morning I gave her no vitamins but replaced them with 2 new leaves from the same coffee plant.

Came back home from shopping to find her standing against the side of the cage.

So Coffee leaf. Seems to have done it for my chicken Totto.

In the link there is the video of the first moments of the Chiken becoming paralyzed

I will upload video of today.

If you can't find i will send you some coffee plant leaves
it would be very exciting to find a treatment that is herval.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom