Marek's Disease

Asked July 25, 2013, 12:04 PM EDT

We had a chicken that, we learned after researching, showed signs of having Marek's disease. It was unable to use its legs and just lay back on its rear end. We put down the chicken and did not butcher it for consumption. Upon reading further and seeing how contagious this disease can be to our remaining flock, we have a few questions. First, is an infected animal able to be consumed? What about eggs? Are there other diseases or infections that have similar symptoms?

We have a backyard flock. We have 7 meat birds, 8 layers, and 2 turkeys. They have run of an area of about 800 square feet. What do we need to do to ensure our other birds don't get sick? I read that this virus seemingly lies dormant for some time. What are the chances that our other birds are already infected? Which brings me back to, can they be consumed? If we find that we have to continually put birds down, we would like to be able to use the meat. Please advise this "backyard bumpkin."

Tooele County Utah

1 Response

A number of diseases can result in paralysis - see

If it was Marek's disease (you'd need a necropsy to confirm), it would have spread to other birds by now.

I would not recommend eating any birds that die or that are sick enough to have to be put down.