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The new guy - Page 3

post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi Azygous,


Yes, we have wild turkeys out here galore!  Saw 11 just the other day in the cornfield right by my front yard.  With that said, here is a dumb question.....Since I have a lot of Wild Turkeys out this way.....and you mentioned taking a clump of soil and letting the chicks nibble on do I know this specific clump of soil I dig up has the mild from of the virus or bacteria in it unless the turkeys have been right there?  Sorry for being so dumb about this..


Thank you!!!!



post #22 of 24

Hey Mike, I'm not Azygous, but I will take a stab at your question.  I am thankful to have a nice big population of wild turkeys.  I don't know that the particular clump of sod that I give to my chicks has Marek's dz. in it.  


I qoute  Harvey Ussery in his book "The Small-Scale Poultry Flock" in reference to Marek's disease:   "Marek's virus is to be found anywhere chickens are raised.  Small home flocks, receiving normal exposure to universally ambient pathogens and managed to minimize stress do not require vaccinations to thrive.  Ideal Hatchery, one of the 2 largest suppliers of chicks for backyard flocks in US says unambiguously on it's website:  "Ideal Poultry does not recommend vaccinations for small flocks."  (pg 50)  "Apparently Gallus has already made a good deal of progress developing complete immunity to (Marek's)- some individuals have an inherited immunity, though others are susceptible and will succumb if under stress or heavy exposure.  We can help the advance of natural immunity to Marek's in Gallus as a whole by culling all susceptible individuals who develop the infection.  Looked at in this way, vaccination of whole flocks might be the WORST choice:  It confers immunity to all potential breeders and thus masks the carriers of immunity and of susceptibility alike, making it less likely that the flock as an ongoing entity will increase natural immunity over time."(pg 221)


So, it boils down to how you choose to manage your flock.  There is no right or wrong answer here.  The only right answer for you is the one that you carefully choose after weighing the options and making an educated decision based on your comfort level.  If your chicks are pets foremost, then you may choose to vaccinate them.  If they are an ongoing flock, and you may at some point be raising your own replacement birds, you may decide to work towards natural selection.  That being stated, you could raise chickens your entire life time, and NEVER have a visible case of Marek's dz. in your flocks.  Though, you will most likely have some amount of sub-clinical infection present at varying times over the years that will never present with signs.


Oh the choices!  Merely one of many choices and decisions you will be faced with over the next few years.  Enjoy!

Edited by lazy gardener - 2/28/16 at 5:02pm

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

post #23 of 24

Thanks, my lazy friend! That covers it amazingly well.


As for knowing whether a particular clump of sod is graced with turkey Marek's or not, we don't. But between the turkeys being constantly wandering all over the place, and my chickens wandering all over the place, often mingling with the turkeys (yes, they've all become terrific friends), I'm sure if Marek's virus is present, it's also present in that clump or has been tracked into the coops and runs on the feet of my chickens.


Therefore, baby chicks raised outdoors in my run are going to be exposed to all pathogens present during their immunity building window, being inoculated against them, something that's hard to accomplish in a brooder indoors.

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks to both of you!  It is really nice to have folks so willing to help! I believe I am going to go with brooding them in the coop.  There have certainly been chickens here and as mentioned I have tons of wild turkeys.  It is just going to be a trail and error game with this.  I still do not know if the hatchery provides vaccinations to the poultry it ships but I will check with them.  If not and it cannot be done it will fit very well with the flock being raised in the coop.  Not to mention the other advantages of that particular style of raising the flock according to many on this thread.  I must say that I never thought I would be so excited about a bunch of chickens but this has really turned into an obsession!  LOL

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