Can you vacccinate poults with chicken Marek's vaccine?


11 Years
Dec 26, 2008
Port Angeles, WA
I vaccinate my chicks for Marek's on a regular basis. I picked up a couple of gimpy turkey poults at the feed store. The hatchery said they don't vaccinate their poults. So I need to vaccinate them. Do I use the chick vaccine? I know it is made from turkey antibodies. Is this ok? Will it work?
Thanks for any advice!
Thanks for the suggestion! At least one person answered. I called Jeffers where I got the vaccine and they said I could use it on Turkeys. Then I called Fort Dodge, who is now bought by Pfizer and they said they could not recommend that because it would be off label. I asked if they knew what to vaccinate a turkey poult with for Marek's and they said no and to ask my vet. Well my vets wont treat poultry.....

I am going to use it on them anyway.
You might also call Dr. Keith Bramwell at

. Bramwell is the Extension Reproductive Physiologist. In other words, he is the Coopertive Extension Service go to guy for poultry. He is a founding member of the Heritage Poultry Conservancy and oversees the Arkansas State Fair Poultry Show. He is also a top breeder of some of the rarest Standard bred pOultry in the nation. Sadly, he can never show. Nothing is allowed to return to the University of Arkansas/Fayettville farms.

ETA: Most vaccines etc are not labeled for poultry. And most vets are not trained for poultry. There is a 30 minute class in Vet school for poultry. Those who are trained, know nothing about our type of poultry. Was speaking with Dr. Bramwell last week. He has maybe 3 students that have knowledge on exhibition type poultry. Some of his students knew nothing until they took his courses. The UA poultry program is aimed at the commercial industry.
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Very interesting you are asking that question. I was just trying to figure out what - if anything I should be vaccinating my for. I am now much more confused than before. I was looking at this site: They have plenty of vaccines, killed/live for egg layers, broilers and for turkeys as well as most other animals. The problem is - I have no idea what is appropriate for a back yard mixed flock. I don't mind buying a $10 vaccine that will vaccinate 1000 birds and only using it on mine, but the choices are staggering.

I don't have a poultry vet per say, but I'm going to try our state poultry contact. I'll let you know what I find out.

Last year I had two chickens with what I believe was Avian Pox - they only had the bumps on their faces but they were very uncomfortable. This year I wanted to vaccinate for that. Guess what, there are several different types of "pox" that chickens can get, and not all the vaccines will protect against all the different types.
I would suggest that you always vaccinate for Marek's on your hatched chicks. I actually quarter up the 1000 bird vaccine so I can use it 4 times. I get it from Jeffers. The price on the vaccine is not bad, but it the special coolers, ice packs and 2-day shipping that makes it cost prohibitive. I asked my local feed store if they will order it for me in the future with their vaccine order.

Then the next step is to vaccinate for anything that you have had in your area or flock, like your Avian Pox. That is how I do things. I am not vaccination happy, or anti-vaccination, but try to find a happy medium for a healthy flock.

I will check out your website. Good luck figuring out your own method!
When I started with chickens (just a few), I planned to have unvaccinated ones-thought that would be a healthier, 'greener' way to go....
Then I found out that Marek's is a very serious issue in the Northwest and the effects are horrendously terrible on your chickens, and that's before they are lucky enough to finally die (or be put down)!
Now, I only bring in vaccinated chicks or chickens into my flock. It's just not worth the risk!

If only local feed stores would realize this and get the chicks vaccinated, I wouldn't have to be limited to just ordering my chicks by mail!

PS. It is my understanding that turkeys have a form of Mareks and the vaccine is that form, so I don't think you have to vaccinate turkey chicks...but I am no vet, this is just the conclusion I have come to from what I have read.
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Yes I have also recently realized the seriousness of the danger of Marek's and started vaccinating my own chicks. All of the feed stores I know of get their chicks vaccinated for Marek's. I think it is a requirement of theirs. You might check with yours to make sure.
I see you are also in Washington. I am in Kent and the feed store nearby is pretty focused on horses. They have a good selection of chicks, but never really have all that much info on chickens. I have asked recently if their chicks are vaccinated (and for the first time, I have heard other customers asking), but they aren't. Too bad they aren't as up to date as your feed store!
How do you go about splitting your vaccine? That is a great idea for small hatches!

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