Back to add another ray of sunshine through the dark cloud that is Marek;s.....
I left my two Marek's girls out with the flock all day yesterday (no cage) and they did great!
Hoppity realised that if she hung around with Harry he would protect her from Henry's advances and also from being bullied by the little oiks (young leghorns have such an attitude!).
Hope (I have eventually given her a name and it couldn't be more appropriate) seemed more confident and integrated with the older ladies, and it was wonderful to see her dust bathing and sunbathing with them.... in fact several times I mistook her for her sister, she was so relaxed and well integrated.
Anyway, when I went up to put them away, I had a few chores to do first and Hope traipsed around the yard after me whilst I did them, like she was my shadow. She is walking so well there is just a hint of lameness and a slightly squiffy tail to indicate that she is not normal. I can't believe that in January she was so bad, lying on her side with her legs stuck out that I had twice set myself/her a DEAD line to cull, but just wasn't quite ready to give up on her. I'm getting so much pleasure from her now both as a pet, as well as 4 eggs a week, I'm SO, VERY, VERY pleased I hesitated.
Hoppity on the other hand was waiting in the hen house for me to open the palace (infirmary) gates and hand her in before serving supper ....she was "not amused" at having to mix with the peasants and her prince charming (Harry), was insufferably attending to other ladies! Apparently you just can't get the staff these days!!
We have had sensational weather for 2 weeks now and I'm dreading it coming to an end (this weekend) because these girls have benefitted so much from it.
I was talking to a local breeder last night and he says that they are usually OK here for Mareks once they make it past 18 weeks. I will be so relieved if that is the case.
The chicks are 2 weeks old and growing fast.... just another 16 to go! Yesterday they went into the cage that the Marek's girls have been in through the day, but on new ground. They are in the hen house with the others overnight so the cage exposure is irrelevant in my opinion since they've already probably had maximum contact with the virus at night.
I don't mean to be critical and I know this will be very contentious, but I just want to throw it out there for some consideration....I appreciate why you throw a "cocktail" of chemicals at your birds the moment they start looking sick, but is it possible that the physical act of giving them these treatments stresses them as well as the chemicals themselves, stressing their digestive system. I'm sure you are right that my strain of Marek's is much less virulent, but as another poster said, keeping hens happy and stress free is a key factor. I'm definitely seeing this with mine. I haven't wormed or given antibiotics or any other drug (just a bit of turmeric and black pepper and garlic occasionally in their feed and ACV daily in their water) and more recently fermented feed (actually I think I started that around January time which is when things started to improve but to be honest they were eating more soaked mixed corn than anything else, as that is what they wanted and I was just happy for them to eat anything)
Anyway, whilst it has been nerve wracking at times, I'm finding both with my poultry keeping and my bee keeping, that not intervening but just providing care and support, seems to be more successful than treatment. This is only my experience in my situation and perhaps my house of card will come down on my head in the near future.... I do half expect it to.... but at the moment (and I have a lot more experience with beekeeping than poultry) I am more confident to let mother nature take care of things than to intervene. I accept that there will be fatalities but those of you who use chemicals also have those. I'm not against drugs per se, but I do think that we can get drawn into becoming too dependent on them and that they become our first resort when things go wrong.