Giving Mareks Vaccine

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by THough1956, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. THough1956

    THough1956 Songster

    OK. I have had problems with Mareks in my flock.

    I just had 10 chicks hatch from eggs in the incubator and also have new chicks coming from a breeder this Wednesday. I have ordered Mareks vaccine due in this week. Has anyone had bad effects from doing this? I am starting to chicken out!

    I know I have to keep them seprate for 10-14 days.Tell me your stories or advice.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  2. babsbag

    babsbag Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    Anderson, CA
    I just did all my birds, old and young alike. It was MUCH easier than I thought. The only problem I had is that I stuck it all way through the skin on a few and had to do it over again. They didn't feel a thing. I did about 35 of them.

    Get as many syringes as you can and have them loaded and ready. The needles are so fine that it takes a little bit of time drawing the vaccine into the syringe so it was easier for me to fill the syringes in the house and take them out to the yard with me. Have a container to put the empty syringes in so you don't grap an empty one to give a shot.

    I didn't clean the necks with alcohol, I just "DID IT"

    Have a way to sperate the ones you have vaccinated if you can't easily tell them apart. I had some white chickens that I marked with a blue marker when I did them so I would know which ones were done.

    I did them in the evening after all of them were roosting. Like a surprise attack [​IMG] No chasing, no stress.

    Good luck, you can do it.
  3. kelar

    kelar Songster

    May 22, 2010
    I vaccinate ALL my hatchlings & when I first started vaccinating, I did my entire flock as well. I've never had any trouble from the vaccine & the only case of Marek's I've had since was in an unvaccinated bird. It sounds like you already know it takes about 2 weeks for them to develop immunity so you will need to practice very good biosecurity with the little ones for the first couple of weeks & hopefully can keep them entirely separated from any adults. It's not difficult to administer the vaccine - I use tiny insulin syringes & needles since I raise bantams. You can split the vaccine wafer into 4 parts to save expense if you like. (1/4 wafer plus 50 cc. of diluent. ) Once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty quickly. DO remember that once you mix the vaccine, it is only good for about an hour so have everything prepared before mixing the vaccine. The vaccine is most effective if you can get them vaccinated on the day of hatch - I try to get it done within 24 hours because of the possibility of exposure prior to vaccination. Keep in mind that if the chicks have had prior exposure, the vaccine will not protect them, but the vaccine will not give them Marek's Disease. I think you will be very glad you made the decision to vaccinate when you stop losing birds from this terrible disease. Good luck, Karen
  4. THough1956

    THough1956 Songster


    Some of the chicks are from the eggs I got from you!! They just hatched over the weekend! 6 out of 14 eggs. And I have 6 chicks coming from Sunshine Silkies on Wed. I am keeping all the new chicks in my house for the next 3 or 4 weeks and I always wash my hands when coming into my house and I keep an old pair of crocs on the backporch that I only wear to the chicken coops.

    So, it would be ok to go out and vaccinate all of my OLD birds to? Even the ones already exposed? I am really confused about all of this.

  5. blueskylen

    blueskylen Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    i have a question - do you mean that you remove the chicks from the mother for 14 days immediately after giving the vaccine? will she take them back when they are reintroduced?

    all of my hens were vaccinated before I got them, but i had 1 chick that hatched last year who died at about 8 weeks, and now have 2 broodys again. i think it is best that I vaccinate any chicks that hatch from now on, as I am pretty sure that it was mereks.
  6. THough1956

    THough1956 Songster

    No, chicks with their mother have already been exposed.
  7. MotherJean

    MotherJean Songster


    it is so difficult to control your birds' exposure to Mareks, (showing, bringing in new birds, airborne spread from other farms), the best course is prevention. That starts with completely sanitizing your brooders. Then consider the Mareks vaccine, which is available in a freeze-dried form through a few of the mail-order suppliers, and is easy to administer to day-old chicks. The downside is that you have to administer the vaccine within one-half hour of mixing it with the fluid it comes with (diluent), and you have to plan your hatching to accommodate the 'all-or-none' vaccination within a day or two of hatch. (After one hour of mixing the Mareks vaccine, the active virus dies and the vaccine becomes ineffective.)

    You'll inject the vaccine under the skin at the back of the neck (subtecaneously). Be careful though, you could stick right through to the other side and vaccinate the floor instead of the chick!

    There are certain 'B factors' contained in the blood of some chickens that make them resistant to Mareks. If you have access to a lab for 'B type' blood testing, 'B factor' birds are desirable for breeding for a 'Mareks-free' flock.

    Overall, the easiest way by keep Mareks out of your flock (but not the most effective), is to promote 'age resistance' by keeping your youngsters separate from the adults and away from the poultry shows until they're over 5 months old."

    From: Peter J. Brown, First State Veterinary Supply, Inc.

    "If a bird that has not been vaccinated for Mareks Disease comes down with the obvious symptoms of Mareks it may be of value to vaccinate anyway. There is some research to show that some birds may recover after vaccination. This would possibly work on birds whether or not they were vaccinated before. Some research has suggested that re-vaccination 4 to 6 weeks after the initial vaccination was of value in preventing new cases of Mareks disease in high risk areas. It is important to keep in mind that birds that have been infected are shedding this virus at a very heavy rate from their follicles and it would be of value to keep feathers about your coop cleaned up. Regular spraying with oxine will go a long way in keeping this disease as well as other diseases under control."
  8. THough1956

    THough1956 Songster

    OK, all the chicks got vaccinated this weekend with no ill effects. Yea!!!!
  9. kelar

    kelar Songster

    May 22, 2010
    Tena - I'd only add that chicks with their mothers MAY have been exposed. When I raised chicks with their mothers, I still vaccinated them all within 24 hours of hatch and put them back with mom. Those that now hatch under hens are taken away, vaccinated and put in a brooder. Sorry mom [​IMG] Don't be afraid to vaccinate - the vaccine will not cause the virus and even with older birds, may offer some protection in the event they have not been exposed. As a side note, since I raise silkies, I inject the vaccine under the skin of the thigh because silkie chicks just don't seem to have any neck skin as hatchlings & I find it quite easy to do the job by myself this way by holding the chick in my left hand, pulling its right leg forward, wet down the fuzz with alcohol so I can clearly see the injection site and give the injection. I use a tiny insulin syringe and needle for the job and it works great. Karen
  10. MuranoFarms

    MuranoFarms Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Boyers, Pa
    It depends where you get your information on what the timetable is on the vaccines 'life'. I've read everywhere from 1/2 hour after mixing to 2 1/2 hours. That link has lots of great information as does the one quoted earlier and this similar link

    I don't 'clean the area with alcohol' but on the day old's it helps to dab an alcohol pad on the area before vaccinating just to wet down the fine feathers a bit. It makes it easier to see the skin.

    If you do older birds, some people recommend doing a booster at 4-6 weeks.

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