Poultry Diseases

Mareks disease in chickens

mareks disease in chickensRare poultry disease.

Mareks disease is a viral disease that attacks chickens of all sizes and ages. It is incurable and very dangerous to a poultry farmer looking forward to a successful flock. The mareks disease is rare in the sense that it can be discovered in quite an unreasonable ratio within your flock.

My personal experience with the mareks disease has been quite a knowledgeable one. Symptoms that generally attack the chicken that is infected by the virus gradually show within one or two chickens in a flock. The difference can be clearly seen. Most of the time, a chicken infected by the virus to its critical stages will be immobile and struggling to achieve its normal stance.

When undergoing regular coop maintenance either in the morning or evening, be sure to properly check the coop for any chicken that is laying flat on the ground with its legs spread abnormally. That is a sure sign of mareks disease. The abnormal stance will generally last for a long period of time.

At first, when my first chicken was infected by the mareks disease, I thought it was a deficiency disease and that my chicken lacked calcium. However, after doing my research and asking a few of my more experienced poultry farmers, I got to learn about the mareks disease.

I lost about six chickens anonymously to paralysis and most of them, I culled due to the fear of the paralysis spreading to my other healthy chicken. Little did I know that I was dealing with the mareks disease. I wrote this post just to share my personal experience on this disease, how you can discover it within your flock and how you can possibly prevent it in your future poultry flock. Take a look at a more detailed analysis;

Mareks disease symptoms

Chicken that are suffering from the mareks disease will be easily identified. They will not eat, just lie down of the ground because of the paralysis affecting their limbs and move around once in a while by crawling. These symptoms may be confused for much more deadly diseases to chicken, however, every single symptom that is exhibited by chicken must be taken with utmost seriousness. If not, mortality rates will gradually increase right under your nose. Symptoms of the mareks disease are;
  1. Pale eyes.
  2. Paralized limbs.
  3. Unsettled pupil.
  4. Grey Iris.
  5. Blindness.
  6. Loss of balance caused by paralysis.
  7. Raised neck feathers.

How you can prevent Mareks disease?

Getting rid of the mareks disease is practically impossible. In my case, before i realized what the problem was, I lost a chicken after roughly six weeks. All showing the same symptoms. After a while and after proper research and criticism, i found the following ways to be most suitable in fighting the mareks disease;

  • Observance to biosecurity measures.
  • General poultry coop hygene.
  • Vaccination


Desmond Wekesa is the director of Agripreneur, with experience in new methods of farming and digital marketing. His background in digital marketing informs his mindful but competitive approach in the online-agriculture space. Desmond is fueled by his passion for understanding the best methods to network and achieve ones goals of advertising. He considers himself a ‘forever student,’ eager to both build on his knowledge in agriculture and stay in tune with the latest digital marketing strategies through continued hard work. You can email him HERE.