Hello I am new to this forum (joined last night) and posted a question last night and was told I should go on here and ask for advice. I am also new to having chickens. It has been a very heart wrenching ordeal for me so far. I got 4 baby chicks last year which I thought where vaccinated form a local small breeder (stated on website) and then got a rooster shortly there after. (same person.) We did everything right. I cleaned the coop everyday, organic food, deworming, treats, free ranging etc. These guys where my babies. Then it all changed. I notice the rooster was very aggressive and with only 4 hens he was "over breeding" so I gave him back to breeder but before that my RIR was not looking good and I knew something was not right. Shortly after she pasted away. I took her to our State Poultry lab for a necropsy done and she had a ton of tumors and it was Ovarian Cancer which was unusual for such a young chicken (about 1 yr old) then my Amauracauna started showing signs of not being well and passed I also did necrop on her and it was Mareks!! The breeder said no it wasn't and many things can look like Mareks so what did I know but I should of know the state poultry lab would know. Then my Brahma goes broody and the breeder gave me eggs to hatch ( I know not a smart idea) and then my Frizzle, who was pretty much by herself while brahma was laying on eggs) (she and Brahma are my favorite) goes sick and dies quickly ( I took last 2 birds that died to vets but they where not much help) and I got the prelim report and also states Mareks. I am sick and losing my favorite frizzle has taken a toll on my. I still cry for that one.
Now my dilemma is the poultry lab has told me to depopulate (and other sources) what I have and start over with only vaccinated chicks. I am not sure I can do that to these little guys but I also don't want to put them through the disease. I know stress brings it on and we have had some stressful situations around here with all these loses in a small flock. I just can't see putting my Brahma down, she seems to be healthy and going through all this has done well. All she has ever wanted to do was be a mommy (she goes broody alot) and has done a great job so far. I want to be logical about this not emotional but that is hard. What would you do in my situation? I was thinking if culling is what I need to do (they where around my frizzle in the coop shortly after they where born) I know...I am learning. But she showed no signs at the time. Can I keep Brahma and get vaccinated chicks and bring her and chicks inside for awhile and let here raise them? Can I switch them like that or what?
Sorry for the long article but so much has gone on. I don't want to give up on chickens They are so much fun to have! I really miss my girls.
I'm probably just repeating all the other posts, just buy vaccinated chicks from now on and quarantine them for 3-6 weeks no contamination and keep the ones you have now. There is nothing you can solve by culling anyone at this time. I know it's sad (to me) that I can't let a hen hatch eggs and brood chicks.