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Dealing with Marek's

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by WeBeCluckin, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. WeBeCluckin

    WeBeCluckin Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2014
    Spokane Wa
    Just wondering how others deal with Mareks in their flock. I made the mistake of buying feed store chicks this year and have lost three to Mareks so far and another is on her way out. Of course it had to happen AFTER building my 12x36' dream hen house. I have a couple of roos so I can incubate eggs (or order hatchery chicks) for replacements but just not sure I should. It's been a heartbreaking ordeal especially since it's been my favorites to get hit by it. My older flock so far seems fine but I'm concerned about carriers. How long does everyone isolate vaccinated chicks? What are your isolation measures? How far from the infected flock? Could I raise chicks in the garage for a couple months and then introduce them? Any advice or experiences are appreciated.
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    My flock is infected with a close cousin to Marek's - lymphotic leukosis. Unlike Marek's though, there's no treatment, cure, or vaccination. I just have to learn to live with it. I just lost a hen this week to it. Most are not showing symptoms, and may lead mostly normal lives in spite of carrying the disease. I have no idea how they became infected. The only way I found out was after my young rooster died and I had a necropsy performed.

    All I can do is offer you my heartfelt sympathy and support. It's a tragedy to lose a chicken to disease after you've cared for it and bonded with it. But there are those that survive, and we do our best to encourage the best health we can for them to make the most from their lives during the time we are blessed to have them.

    In your shoes, I would look into vaccination for new chicks coming into my flock, treatments for those who are symptomatic, and look into ways to eradicate the virus from the environment, if at all possible. Read. Read. Read.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Vaccinated hatchery chicks might be your best bet; raised in the house, or somewhere else for three or four weeks. Check with the pathologist about the strain involved and the vaccine strains used at the hatchery or breeder. The disease is not passed in the eggs, but they need to be cleaned with an appropriate wash before being incubated, preferably elsewhere. The feathers, dirt, and dander are infective, and really can't be eliminated from the environment. Again, talk to a poultry expert and make a plan. So sorry! Mary
  4. WeBeCluckin

    WeBeCluckin Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2014
    Spokane Wa
    Thank you both for your advice and support. Unfortunately the furthest I had done with necropsy was histology before Mareks was confirmed. That's excellent advice though and perhaps I'll send the next in and pay the extra for pathology so I know more about what I'm dealing with. I'm thinking we have something else going on now, maybe respiratory. Unexpectedly lost one of my older hens last night and have another who sounds strange in vocalizations with a bit of "who" sound on exhale. The girl who expired last night had a shut eye for about a week before she died. I just assumed she injured her eye in a squabble and just needed time to recover. I have a tetracycline antibiotic I could use but their waterer is a 35 gallon automatic chicken nipple system with no practical way to mix fresh water every day...but that's another subject. Do you happen to know what the wash is for incubating eggs, should I go that route?

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