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The new guy - Page 2

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you BrideBeliever,


Yeah I know there are differing opinions on this and I certainly see both sides.  I have called the hatchery to see if the birds are already vaccinated in any way.  They do not show an option on the site, as I have seen on some, for vaccinating so I am checking into it.  If they do not offer it is this something you can do once the chickens arrive?  I have no idea how to give the vaccination so I would not want to hurt them either.  I did actually wonder about the place already having chickens and if disease could still linger.  I certainly do not want to lose my chicks as 27 birds was a little pricey!

post #12 of 24
I personally wouldn't want to give the vaccine myself but I know it can be ordered and done. It's supposed to be given within the first two days though I believe.

There are many schools of thought on this and no absolute MUST. Marek's is a pretty prevalent poultry virus. It tends to affect chickens from two weeks to 25 weeks of age. Most can be carriers (and shedders) of it never showing the disease. Some choose not to vaccinate and let only the strongest survive. (This is not saying every chicken will get this or that yours will!). My original flock of 9 chickens were vaccinated. I then added two more chickens to my flock that have an unknown history so I have no idea if they are vaccinated! I know that poultry has never been on my property, but I have wild song birds everywhere and my flock free ranges. That being said my original 9 are 25 weeks old and I have had no illness in any of my chickens.

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!" 



"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!" 


post #13 of 24
Originally Posted by Bridebeliever View Post

Hi Mike! Everyone here has given you fantastic advice. I'm just piping in on the vaccination part. If your chicks haven't been shipped yet you may still be able to call the place you are getting them from and have them vaccinated.

If your property has ever had chickens on it and you don't know the history you may want to have them vaccinated for Mareks as it will be on the property.

If your property has never had fowl on it you could just skip it, but, song birds also carry the Marek's virus.

Oooh, good call!

My final brooder is 5x5' (made of cardboard boxes) and currently is holding 21 6-week-old chicks. I bet you could start with the 4x4' box to contain them for warmth, then add an extra box around 3 weeks or so to give them more room to stretch as they should have a significant amount of feathering by then. By 6 weeks, they'll probably be fully feathered and loose in the coop.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi Jensownzoo,


Thanks for the advice on the brooder.  I think what I will do as they get a little bigger is to put two of the 4X4 boxes together as you mentioned.  Can you tell me what this "MHP Brooder" is?  Or is it a Mama Heating Pad?  Where do you get these at?


Thanks again!



post #15 of 24
Here's the link to the MHP thread. It's long, but all the essential information is in the first couple of pages with one exception. It has been figured out recently that people brooding a large number of chicks (like you) should have both the front and the back of MHP open so the chicks can get in/out easier if they need to.

As for the heating pad, I already had mine from raising orphan kittens (I got them at Walgreens), but there are several links to sources in the thread.
post #16 of 24

Welcome!  You might want to find out how long ago chickens lived in your coop;  if many years ago, fine, but if within the last couple of years, there could be an issue.   Marek's disease will last in feathers and dander for a long time, and to be safe, get your chicks vaccinated at the hatchery.  It takes about two weeks for the vaccinated chicks to develop immunity, so having them AWAY from the coop during that time would be best.  I always have hatchery chicks vaccinated, and chicks brooded here aren't.  They are the 'canaries in the coal mine' for my flock.  Avoiding Marek's disease is much better than coping with a diseased flock.  Chickens are a lot of fun, and your mixed group of pullets will be a wonderful way to get started.  Mary

post #17 of 24

Medicated chick starter will be a good idea, because you won't know if coccidia is a problem in your soil, so avoiding sick chicks is a good idea.  Some of us would loose chicks every year with coccidiosis, and some of us are blessed without that issue.  Mary

post #18 of 24

Regarding Marek's, which I agree is practically everywhere, if you happen to have a wild turkey population around your place, turkeys carry a much milder form of Marek's that can inhabit the soil. I have never vaccinated my chickens, but they are exposed to this mild form of turkey Marek's and they've never had the virulent type because they've developed immunities against it through exposure to the mild Marek's.


I expose my baby chicks to this mild form of Marek's in their first week by introducing a clump of sod to them to scratch in and nibble at. This serves as a "vaccination" to build immunity against the bad form of Marek's. It also immunizes them against other pathogens such as coccidiosis. It's among my many reasons for recommending brooding outdoors.

post #19 of 24

As a first time chicken owner in a new location, the OP will have no way of knowing what problems might be present. It makes more sense to me to take precautions that are available, and have the best possible first experience.  Mary

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks Folly,


I will have to call the hatchery in the A.M.  Tried today but it is Sunday.  I will get the medicated food however to start.  Hopefully the hatchery can get them taken care of before shipping.

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