Difficult times - advice needed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tubateacher, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. tubateacher

    tubateacher Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2012
    Hi all,

    I am looking for some advice/help. It is a little complicated so I apologise in advance for the long post. I have a flock of chickens which consists of 4 Warrens, 3 Araucanas, 1 Pekin Bantam, 1 Brahma and a French Copper Maran. All (apart from warrens) were under 10 weeks when we had them.

    The first 'event' was that one of the Araucanas turned out to be a cockerel. Not what I planned for but we decided to keep him (neighbours don't mind) and he is slowly becoming one of my favourites.

    Next, our Brahma started to become picked on a lot and it was at this point that I discovered it wasn't well. It has been separated from the flock since December 20th and it looks as thought it has Mareks (not confirmed but all the signs are there).

    The rest of the flock are healthy and happy. I then noticed that my French Maran suddenly 'came of age'. Although it has not crowed yet I am 99% sure it is a cockerel. I have seen it mount a hen and it just has that cockerel 'thing' about it.

    What do I do about 2 cockerels? I have the added problem that according to research, my flock all probably have Mareks so I presume that I can't give 1 cockerel away? I also have 3 birds that I thought would be laying that aren't. I would like to buy some more - how does this work if I have Mareks in my flock, is it just a risk that I have to take?

    I would really appreciate any advice or help especially if anyone has had experience with Mareks before.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2014
    Treat the flock once you know for sure what ails them then worry about the roosters. If roosters are okay by neighbors/ordinances/etc. then get more hens once the flock is healthy or eat one or give him away. Definitely get the flock healthy. Best to their health.
  3. tubateacher

    tubateacher Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2012
    Many thanks for the reply. As far as I am aware the rest of the flock is healthy. However, according to my internet research, all of my flock will be carrying Mareks now but not affected by it. There is no cure and the only way to confirm a bird has it is by autopsy.

    This is why I don't think it is possible for me to give the 'extra' cockerel away and I have never culled a bird and don't particularly wish to if it can be avoided!
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    OhMan, that is such a drag!!

    First, confirm or eliminate the existence of Mareks. Sacrifice the extra cockerel for the necropsy to be preformed.

    If you do have Mareks, the birds should all be disposed of and I believe the ground may be contaminated.
    Culling is part of raising chickens, sad but true.
    PLEASE Do not spread this disease by giving away any of your chickens.

    Read more about Mareks here. Lots of advice and experience there. Read a lot and then decide.
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    I agree. I know it's sad, but you really do need to know if you have Mareks. You might also find out if you have something treatable. Don't guess with Mareks, find out. And please don't give away birds, go to bird shows, or be near anyone else's chickens until you know.
  6. sepaditty1

    sepaditty1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    In a happy, healthy flock, having 2 roos is not a problem. Right now we have 5. As long as they get along & you're allowed to have them where you live, no reason to cull.

    But...it sounds like you have some other problems. I would definitely choose which roo to keep & have the other tested. Is it sad to think about? Yes. But not as sad as losing a constant stream of birds for the rest of your life. If ignored, all of your birds, present & future, are at risk. It also means you can never sell/give chicks or hatching eggs.

    Take the initiative to find out exactly what the illness is. Maybe it's something less severe. When you knoe for sure, you can decide what to do. If it is Mereks, the ground will also need to be treated.

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