Native chromatin IP assays were used to define changes in core histone acetylation at the lysozyme locus during developmental maturation of chicken macrophages and stimulation to high-level expression by lipo-polysaccharide. In pluripotent precursors the lysozyme gene (Lys) is inactive and there is no acetylation of core histones at the gene, its promoter or at the upstream cis-control elements. In myeloblasts, where there is a very low level of Lys expression, H4 acetylation appears at the cis-control elements but not at the Lys gene or its promoter: neither H3 nor H2B become significantly acetylated in myeloblasts. In mature macrophages, Lys expression increases 5-fold: H4, H2B and H2A.Z are all acetylated at the cis-control elements but H3 remains unacetylated except at the −2.4 S silencer. Stimulation with LPS increases Lys expression a further 10-fold: this is accompanied by a rise in H3 acetylation throughout the cis-control elements; H4 and H2B acetylation remain substantial but acetylation at the Lys gene and its promoter remains low. Acetylation is thus concentrated at the cis-control elements, not at the Lys gene or its immediate promoter. H4 acetylation precedes H3 acetylation during development and H3 acetylation is most directly linked to high-level Lys expression.