Does Mareks vaccine work?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rbrumfield23, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. rbrumfield23

    rbrumfield23 New Egg

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    Jan 14, 2015
    I've recently had it confirmed through a necropsy on a hen that my flocks have Mareks. I'm up to a 73% loss. I've researched the disease and vaccine extensively the past 4 months that I feel I could write a book on the subjects. But what I can't find is any information on if I start over and buy vaccinated chicks or hatch and vaccinate them myself, if they can live successfully here knowing that I have the virus in my ground. I can only find studies on commercial birds and not small flock owners. I'm looking for anyone that has/had Mareks in their flocks and then got vaccinated chicks. I'm looking for someone who had actually had Mareks run through their flock and then getting vaccinated chicks. Did they live or is it a waste of time and money to try to keep having them? I know once they have it, they are carriers for life and will shed it. I'm not wanting info on Mareks, the vaccine, or even treatments that anyone has tried. Just wanting to know if I can ever have them again.
     
  2. CuckooOrpington

    CuckooOrpington Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would not say that I had Mareks 'running through teh flock' but I got it occasionally so I started vaccinating the chicks I hatched. Each year I would only get about 5 Mareks birds (but that is pretty good considering I hatched up to 800 birds a year). The vaccine will stop any paralyses and tumors, it also helps stop the virus from contaminating other birds. Mareks vaccine is developed from a virus carried by turkeys mixed with a weakened version of the herpes virus. The vaccine will only work as good as it did for me on young birds that don't already have the virus. About 5% of all vaccinated birds will succumb to Mareks anyway but that number is small compared to what it could be. At the number of birds I was hatching, 40 should have gotten mareks but I think only 5 did because they weren't exposed to the virus anyway. In short, yes, it works and I think it is worth it especially for chicks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. rbrumfield23

    rbrumfield23 New Egg

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    I really want to hatch from any survivors that I have. I started hatching English Orphingtons this past spring and I would like to hatch from their eggs if I have any survivors. I just wish they made the vaccine in smaller doses for hobbiests. A 5% loss is better than the 73% loss that I have so far. Thanks for the response.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi

    As someone who has Marek's I can really sympathise although the strain I have in my flock is relatively mild and my percentage loss is low.
    Have you read the thread?...https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...esistance-to-mareks-disease/800#post_17552357

    There is relatively new research which suggests that the Marek's vaccine may actually not be a good thing as it could lead to more virulent strains mutating, that are resistant to the vaccine.

    I hatched 56 chicks(unvaccinated) this year and so far I have had 3 with Marek's. Two have died and one has completely recovered from that first attack, although from experience I know there is a high likelihood that it will suffer another more serious attack. However as a surplus cockerel it will probably not reach that stage. My chicks are all broody reared within the Marek's flock but the individuals that have suffered an outbreak this year are not ones bred from birds that have been exposed to it, so have not had the opportunity to inherit resistance, if that is indeed possible.

    I wish you luck whichever route you decide to take regarding the vaccine, but if you go for it, you probably need to practice very strict biosecurity for the first few weeks after the chicks are hatched and vaccinated so there is no cross contamination from your flock before the vaccine has had time to activate.

    Best wishes

    Barbara.
    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  5. rbrumfield23

    rbrumfield23 New Egg

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    I've read the articles on the fact that it can be promoting the virus to mutate. And I do agree with it, it does make sense. However, I still have to go the vaccinated route. I had 43 chickens and I'm down to less than half now. I do intend to hatch from aNY survivors that I have. And I just found out that my roo, who has been the heatheist out of all came from vaccinated parents. It's an interesting thought that he might have a slight but of resistance to the virus from his parents. Hopefully he continues to do well. Thanks for the help.
     

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