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How should I handle this Marek situation?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

We have 5 hens that free range in our backyard and 4 chicks, age 6 weeks, still inside our home.  Yesterday, I received the necropsy report on one of our chicks, confirming Marek's as the cause of death.  This is somewhat new to me, but my understanding is that the other chicks would have certainly contracted Marek's from the one that died.  And while the chicks and hens have never had direct contact with each other, we have two dogs and two children who probably do a lot of tracking of dander between the two environments.  I'm assuming this means the hens have probably been exposed, also.

 

Now I'm not certain how to proceed.  Do I keep the chicks, under the assumption that everyone has been equally exposed and there is nothing I can do?  Or do I cull them in the hopes of saving my hens from getting sick?  If it matters any in the equation, I love my hens to pieces and would do whatever I could to improve their outcome.  

 

Thank you for any feedback.  I'm feeling pretty rotten about this "lesson learned" and hope it doesn't end up as badly as it seems it will :(

post #2 of 5

Welcome to BYC. That's interesting, but sad, that your chick had Mareks. Where did you get the chicks? Have you ever had any unexplained deaths in your flock before? Some chickens can be immune to Mareks. But I would probably go ahead and vaccinate all of the chickens, beginning with the older ones. It can take 2 or more weeks for the chickens to become fully immune. There are several BYC members who have dealt with Mareks in their flocks. If you to the top of this page, enter Mareks disease in the search box, and you will see pages of threads about Mareks. These will include many knowledgeable people who either are dealing with this or have in the past. Vaccines are available online in 1000 dose vials. It has to be used within an hour or so of opening, but read the instructions. Jefferspet.com sells it for around $20 or less,  as well as others. You also have to purchase a cooler and freezer packs, plus shipping. Sorry for your loss.

post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggcessive View Post
 

Welcome to BYC. That's interesting, but sad, that your chick had Mareks. Where did you get the chicks? Have you ever had any unexplained deaths in your flock before? Some chickens can be immune to Mareks. But I would probably go ahead and vaccinate all of the chickens, beginning with the older ones. It can take 2 or more weeks for the chickens to become fully immune. There are several BYC members who have dealt with Mareks in their flocks. If you to the top of this page, enter Mareks disease in the search box, and you will see pages of threads about Mareks. These will include many knowledgeable people who either are dealing with this or have in the past. Vaccines are available online in 1000 dose vials. It has to be used within an hour or so of opening, but read the instructions. Jefferspet.com sells it for around $20 or less,  as well as others. You also have to purchase a cooler and freezer packs, plus shipping. Sorry for your loss.


Just curious/  I know hatcheries will vaccinate the day old peeps you buy (but not bantams.  They say they are "too small", but I was under the impression that marek's vaccine was effective only when given very early.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
This was my first illness/death. I bought her from a local feed store at 4 weeks of age, but not one of the ones I usually go to. It didn't really occur to me that this could be inviting disease into my flock, which I now realize was extremely foolish. I had assumed normal quarantine methods would be suitable. I'm just not sure what to do with the 3 other babies at this point.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by dekel18042 View Post

Just curious/  I know hatcheries will vaccinate the day old peeps you buy (but not bantams.  They say they are "too small", but I was under the impression that marek's vaccine was effective only when given very early.
I would give the vaccine to the older birds on the chance that they haven't yet been exposed. The young chicks already have, but it still would be worth doing since there will be plenty of vaccine. The best chances are vaccinating as a day old before they come in contact with the disease, but it will still work as long as they haven't been exposed.
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