(written by Message Board member chickchair)
When we all order a shipment of chicks from a hatchery, most offer optional vaccination for Marek's disease for a nominal charge. If you are like me, you may have known nothing about the disease and are wondering what the risks versus the benefits of having your chicks vaccinated are..
I am posting links to information on Marek's to help you make a more informed decision.
I, myself, have lost a chick to Marek's, and a close friend has just lost one as well. It is heart wrenching to watch the progression of this condition. It is not a treatable disease. If contracted, it will, in most cases, lead to the death of your bird. It is caused by a virus in the Herpes family, and as such..cannot be cured. Recovery is not impossible, but not likely.
One thing I would like to add in regard to vaccinating your chicks is that one in perhaps 1000 chicks will contract the disease from the vaccination. This is similar to the chances of a child contracting the disease for which they've been vaccinated, such as Polio, measles, mumps, etc. This is what happened to my chick. I'd like to say that I have no regret having had them all vaccinated...as now the rest of my flock have at least a modicum of protection from this nasty virus.
Another thought you might ponder when you get your chicks at the feed store. Did they order from the Hatchery and if so...did they get the chicks vaccinated.... This is more information to lead you to a broad knowledge base regarding your chickens.
Again...the info I'm including the links for is intended as a means for you to make an informed decision.
May none of you ever see Marek's Disease in your flock.
The Poultry Compendium