1 y/o hen died of Marek’s. Should I sell my unintroduced pullets to save them?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ebot, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. ebot

    ebot In the Brooder

    4
    5
    11
    Jul 14, 2018
    Long story short: I found one of my hens yesterday unable to walk, and after spending the night at the emergency vet, it’s been determined that she most likely had Marek’s. She passed away in my arms earlier this afternoon.

    I have two sebright pullets, about 12 weeks old, who have not been introduced yet to the flock. They are living in an old coop on the other side of the property (about an acre from the other infected coop), though without knowing Marek’s was present in my flock, I haven’t been practicing any biosecurity. They’re unvaccinated (as is everyone else in my flock).

    My question is... should I sell them? They may have already been exposed but if they haven’t, I want to at least try and save them by sending them somewhere safe. I know sebrights are particularly susceptible to Marek’s and I’m worried that if I keep them here, they have zero chances. But I also don’t want to give away doomed birds.
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  2. A_Fowl_Guy

    A_Fowl_Guy Pig Whisperer

    3,898
    23,333
    727
    May 4, 2014
    Newberry, Indiana
    If it is unknown if the birds are infected (caused by dandruff floating through the air from an infected bird) then I wouldn’t sell them but I would just keep an eye on them.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    16,362
    19,697
    836
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with this.
    I'd want an actual diagnosis, based on a necropsy, before having a panic attack over this. Was a post mortem exam done? Tissue samples sent in if it wasn't obvious?
    If you haven't been serious about biosecurity, likely your new birds have already been exposed, if it's Marek's disease. The distance is good, but you have likely been back and forth between your coops, so not good.
    Keeping them will prevent possibly exposing another flock, a better choice, IMO.
    Get a firm diagnosis!
    Mary
     
  4. A_Fowl_Guy

    A_Fowl_Guy Pig Whisperer

    3,898
    23,333
    727
    May 4, 2014
    Newberry, Indiana
    X2 on the necropsy
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  5. ebot

    ebot In the Brooder

    4
    5
    11
    Jul 14, 2018
    Thank you both for the quick responses!

    I’ll be honest, this was my favorite hen and I’m absolutely devestated that she passed so quickly. The thought of doing a necropsy on her makes me ill, so I opted not to. Her symptoms were all classic Marek’s - the sudden onset leg paralysis, partial wing paralysis, difficulty breathing, and dilation of the crop. The poultry vet was very confident in her diagnosis.

    Sounds like I’ll just have to keep an eye on the new babies though. I’ve just been so blindsided by all of this. Haven’t introduced any new birds in 8 months and all of a sudden I have Marek’s killing an adult bird.
     
    ValerieJ and A_Fowl_Guy like this.
  6. A_Fowl_Guy

    A_Fowl_Guy Pig Whisperer

    3,898
    23,333
    727
    May 4, 2014
    Newberry, Indiana
    Necropsies are a personal choice and if you trust your vet then there you go. Some people recommend vaccination for marek’s but I don’t like that idea since the vaccine is a leaky vaccine in that it only prevents the symptoms, not the disease.
     
    ebot and ValerieJ like this.
  7. ebot

    ebot In the Brooder

    4
    5
    11
    Jul 14, 2018
    Right right, I don’t like the idea of it either for that reason. And since I started off a few years ago with adult unvaccinated hens, I decided to not mix vaccinated birds in.
     
    A_Fowl_Guy and ValerieJ like this.
  8. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Crossing the Road

    2,899
    13,191
    797
    Jul 24, 2016
    Washington State
    I hope your flock will be okay. It's a little risky to sell the pullets because you could actually be spreading the disease to someone else's flock. What a dilemma you have. So sorry you are going through this.

    How does the first bird get Marek's anyway? How does it get into a healthy flock?
     
  9. A_Fowl_Guy

    A_Fowl_Guy Pig Whisperer

    3,898
    23,333
    727
    May 4, 2014
    Newberry, Indiana
    It’s a herpes virus in chickens. Birds become infected with Marek’s Disease by inhaling virus laden dander. A bird can have it and never show symptoms but it can pass to other birds that develop symptoms.
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  10. ebot

    ebot In the Brooder

    4
    5
    11
    Jul 14, 2018
    Thank you, I really appreciate the condolences.

    I’m assuming the two new hens I bought last year are carriers. Either that or my oldest hens have been carriers this whole time and it hasn’t appeared in any other bird until now. Or perhaps I carried it in on my clothes/shoes from the feed store. Or someone in the neighborhood has an infected flock and the dander was carried on the wind. The possibilities are, sadly, endless.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: