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How to start a new flock after Marek's

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

About a few months ago my flock of 3 bantams died of Marek's after 1 year of having them. It was tragic, and took a long time for me to consider starting a new flock. I have a few questions on what I should do to ensure as much as possible that these new chickens won't have Mareks.

 

1) What should I do to the coop to clean it out and kill the virus? Feeding/water containers? Or should I just toss them and start completely all over? 

 

2) I read that bantam chickens cannot be vaccinated and even if they are, it's usually ineffective. Is this true? The coop I have is only big enough for bantam chickens, and I greatly prefer bantam chickens as well. So, would I not be able to buy bantams because of the disease?

 

3) I still have a lot of feed and snacks I bought for my chickens left over in a big bin in my garage. Would it be still safe to feed those to my new chickens? Or do I have to throw it out and buy new feed?

 

4) I also read that Mareks spreads very easily, so I suspect it might be everywhere outside my house since my previous chickens were allowed to roam around freely around the backyard. Is the virus still active even without a host all these months? Is there a way to kill the disease in my back yard?

 

5) What other precautions should I take to make sure my new chickens won't catch the disease? 

 

 

 

Thank you so so much! Everything is much appreiated :)

post #2 of 2

Get rid of any old feed and snacks since mold can kill. Feed loses vitamins and minerals after sitting for months.

Mareks is spread by direct contact and through dust and dander from feathers. So anywhere the chickens have been, everything will be contaminated for months, and even up to 7 years. Any new chicks should be vaccinated and spend 2-3 weeks to gain full immunity living in an area free of the infected dander and dust, either inside your home or even at someone else's home.

There is no way to disinfect your area completely to kill the virus.

Consider any new vaccinated chickens that you own to be carriers of the Mareks virus if they live in your environment, so do not sell or rehome them.

Sorry that you lost your first flock, and good luck to you. I would call some of the major hatcheries to ask about vaccinating bantams, since I'm not aware they won't vaccinate them.

Here is a good link or two that has lots of gathered information on Mareks:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/90/mareks-disease/

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