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Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Glenda L Heywood, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    Well, my experience with Mareks is that it is spread
    by the infected dander of the infected bird. The only
    experience I ever had was once when a man brought some
    8 month old Cochin Cockerels over to be butchered.

    Well, I did not take them into my chicken buildings
    but did store them in rabbit hutches for two days
    while butchering them. They all had been vaccinated
    for mareks when babies.
    As I felt the dander flying
    off the birds got into my pens as some of my old birds
    soon afterwards got the paralysis of the wings, legs
    and neck. But as each one became infected and signs
    became evident I killed them. Also it was at time in
    August when Iowa weather is very hot. That added to
    the stress of Mareks. I had no need to try and save
    them as to my thinking there is no cure but death for
    mareks infected birds. Most birds of this type become
    paralized and lay on their side and cannot eat or
    drink without you putting them up to the water or
    feed. So not much need to infect the rest of the

    This type of Mareks is a neutral type, loss of body
    weight, anemia, labored resporation and diarrhea are
    all common symtoms. Many birds that are pre laying age
    will come down with it.
    Mareks is a virus belonging to the Herpes virus
    The virus is concentrated on the feather folicles and
    shed in dander, being sloughed from skin and feather

    The virus has a long survival time in dander and can
    be found in chicken houses that have been isolated for
    long periods of time.
    Young birds are the most suseptible as the virus has a
    short period of incubation time.
    Mareks also has a visceral type,with lesions seen in
    the gonads, liver, spleen, kidney,and heart, lungs and
    muscles. Most birds dying rapidly with massive tumors
    inside the body.

    Then there is the Leukosis type Mareks disease,
    usually called gray eye. Which mortality is not as
    fast, but the blinding of the eye and gray iris in the
    eye. Then the emaciation diarrhea and death will
    The skin leukosis is in the feather folicles and
    causes skin lesions, this being the most infectious as
    it is in the dander and feathers.

    Most all hatcheries today vaccinate day old chicks for
    mareks and will only sell chicks non vaccinated if you
    order plenty ahead of time.It is a subcutaneous
    injection in a sterile environment. 90% effective
    vaccine.My reference material is from a Texas A&M Vet
    book on diseases. Also you can catch information at
    the web site of Mississippi University at
    Also my web site at http://www.gkpet.com
    has articles one of which is Mareks.
    If one does get this disease I would suggest burning
    the bodies as the feather dander would then be

    Also may I suggest that you feed your birds
    electrolytes and vitamins and good mash with fresh
    oyster shell and grit either boughten or can obtain
    river sand, most birds do not succumb to this disease.
    Feeding greens such as swiss chard, kale, turnip
    greens, mustard greens, chick weed, lambs quarters,
    and the like.

    Now regular head lettuce is a waste of
    time and energy as it is mostly water and no food
    value to the birds. Makes such a mess in the bird pen
    or house. I always raked up the greens if they were
    old and tossed them out, so as not to have spoiled
    feed for the birds.
    The vitamins and minerals from the greens is great for
    the birds.

    Also another item that can be fed to the birds is
    soaked whole oats with buttermilk and yoguart
    Take a gallon of whole dry oats and in a stainless
    steel or crock container
    put the oats and use a 1/2
    gallon of buttermilk and a quart of yoguart, any
    flavor, and soak over night and then stir and feed the
    birds in a clean trough. When they have eaten them
    wash the trough and dry for another days usage. This
    gives the birds a good source of stomach lactobicilus
    and stablizes the birds to not take on sickness so

    As you know clean water daily is very important to
    your birds health. Sanitize the waterers every week
    with a solution of 1 cup clorox in a 5 gallon bucket
    of water, let the wateres sit submerged in the water
    for at least three hours and then scrub with a bottle
    brush in clean water.

    As to the mareks situation I would take one of the
    birds perferably a live sick bird to a diagnostic
    laboratory and see what they say. If you have a
    agricultural lab around this is great. Call a Vet and
    ask where in your area there is one.
    Also if you start to vaccinate you will have to
    continue to vaccinate all hatches of birds.

  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I've vaccinated, but I've never had one with Mareks.. .why would I need to vaccinate new hatches?
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    once vaccinated they will continue to shed the virus on occasion > especially when stressed (so if you have vaccinated birds you will always have to vaccinate and if you do not have vaccinated birds then you should take care never to bring in birds that have been vaccinated)
  4. Azulegg

    Azulegg Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    south central PA
    I never vaccinate any more. As to why - I received new birds to my flock several years ago, ALL at the time were vaccinated. One of the new cockerals that I had came down with the "lame" and then after a few weeks of limping he got sick. By that time I isolated him (he was a vaccinated bird) and it spread to other birds I had that were vaccinated. I did have one of my birds necropsied, and it took two different labs to finally determine that it was a strain of marek's. I feel it is a waste of money as birds that were supposed to be protected WERE NOT.

    The birds that survived I bred because obviously they are naturally resistant to the marek's. I think that is one thing that need not be overlooked in breeding, is breeding stock that is resistant to diseases such as marek's.

    Any how, there are natural remedies/supps and NOSODES that are anti-viral which can protect your flock just as well or better than vaccines.
  5. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    Vaccinated birds DO NOT INFECT those that are not vaccinated
    the only reason to vaccinate is that all birds carry mareks in their make up and can under stress of the too much heat or too cold
    will come down with full blown mareks in some form
    I never vaccinated and raised thousands of birds
    but in heat of summer would have older birds get mareks
    so I killed them and never had it effect the others
    trying to cure a mareks infected bird brings on the sluffing off of mareks dander to infect other birds
    so disp[ose of any that have mareks and you will b okay

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