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Vaccination question

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I know that Marek's vaccinations should be given in the first few days of life (day old chicks usually, but I hatch some smaller chicks and the breeders recommend day 2 or 3 for them), and that one they are 'exposed' to the virus it essentially negates the effectiveness of the vaccine.  That being said...


I've found some chicks that I'm interested in but the breeder does not offer vaccinations.  Just wondering of the effectiveness of vaccinating these chicks once they arrive.  They're bantams so I probably would've waited to vaccinate them on day 2 or 3 anyway and figure that their odds of exposure are low since they're being delivered via USPS.  The breeder is only 1 state away and I have access to a facility in the town that they'll be delivered to (I live rural and live chicks always arrive a town away).  Marek's isn't common (meaning not many flocks die from it here, I know most pros say marek's is 'everywhere), especially in the urban area that they'll arrive in.


Anyway, I have the vaccine on hand and the plan is to go forward with vaccinating the imports.  I guess I'm hoping for reassurance that there is a possibility that the vaccine will take.  I lost a small flock to Marek's a few years ago and vaccinate everything ever since.  

On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 

Sent this query to Dr. Pierson at Virginia Tech and received this as a reply:



Hi Brandon,


The point that your friend makes has to be understood in the context of exposure to wild, virulent (nasty) strains of Marek’s. If the person you are getting the chicks from has not had a problem with Marek’s, then you should be OK. If he has had a problem, I wouldn’t obtain chicks from him.  


If you have been obtaining vaccinated chicks in the past and/or have not had a problem with virulent strains of Marek’s on your farm, what you propose should not be an issue. In fact, it’s what I would do if I were in your situation.  Vaccinating for Marek’s whether you have had a problem or not is always the best thing to do. It’s the one vaccine you should always have on board.


Best Regards


F. William Pierson, MS, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACPV

Professor, Biosecurity and Infection Control

Clinical Specialist: Poultry Health

Department of Population Health Sciences

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University




Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases

VMRCVM/Virginia Tech

1410 Prices Fork Rd

Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0342



Tel: 001-540-231-4529


Ut Prosim – “That I May Serve” – Excellence, Integrity, Compassion, Courtesy

 and also came across this discussion on the BYC  forum while digging around for information.  The article and more importantly the reply from Dr. Pierson have defnitely set my mind at ease on the situation (enough to place the order for the unvaccinated chicks).  Anyway...  just sharing information since there is a lot of incorrect info out there on vaccines (vaccinated chickens can't be housed with unvaccinated, etc).

On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
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