Broody raising chicks in an assumed Marek's positive flock?


Dec 9, 2020
Hi guys. First-time poster. I'm looking for some advice from people who have far more experience than I.

I have 6 hens all from the same NPIP certified local farm. 4 are 8 mos old. 2 are 6 mos old. All vaccinated against Mareks. One of my 8 mos old died of Mareks 2 weeks ago. It was certified by our State Department of Animal Health Services through a necropsy and a bunch of tests. I noticed she was acting off, isolated and nursed her for 2 weeks before she passed. None of my other ladies have shown any symptoms. The general consensus is that her vaccination was given incorrectly and failed since she still had the tumors. I'm assuming that all my hens, though asymptomatic, are carrying Marek's.

I had been planning on getting day old chicks the next time one of my hens goes broody and having her raise them in the run. But from what I understand, even though they'll be vaccinated I would need to separate them for about 2 weeks at which point they'll be too big to put under a broody hen. If I put them out before that time, they're likely to be exposed to Marek's before their full immunity and will likely succumb later in life.

Does anyone have any advice about introducing baby chicks to an assumed Marek's positive environment?
Am I limited now to older vaccinated pullets only? We hated the indoor brooder stage and don't want to raise the chicks in a brooder again.

We are getting a new coop, that is being placed in a different location than where my one symptomatic hen lived (not because of this experience) but I'm still assuming all my current hens are shedding the virus. I'd really love to broody raise some baby chicks, but not if I'm likely to lose most of them.

Any advice would be so helpful!
PS- I've read the great blog post here on Mareks, done a lot of research, searched similar forum postings but nothing was about my specific situation so here we go. Thanks.


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