I don't know how to go on. Please tell me what you think, my friends. -- NEW INFO AT END OF POST #1

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ICallMyselfCherie', Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Keep everybody, but only as pets. Give up on the business all together. There is no way to salvage i

    4 vote(s)
  2. Hatch chicks from the breeder's eggs, and vaccinate every chick. It would be fine to sell the vaccin

    7 vote(s)
  3. Sell hatching eggs! Marek's isn't transferred through eggs, and it would be fine to sell them.

    7 vote(s)
  4. Try to find homes for the birds --  giving them away as "special needs" birds with full discloser th

    1 vote(s)
  5. Same as above, but you'd have to move to another house before it would be safe to start over.

    0 vote(s)
  6. Breed for resistance. Eventually you can begin to sell the healthy offspring.

    3 vote(s)
  7. Euthanize everybody now. Even if they seem strong and healthy. Everybody has to go. Period.

    5 vote(s)
  8. The test is not reliable. Most birds have been exposed to Marek's anyway. The fact that they have Ma

    14 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ICallMyselfCherie'

    ICallMyselfCherie' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi, everyone.

    I have just received the worst news a chicken owner can probably get. My flock has tested positive for Marek's -- Marek's antibodies, at least. I really need some support from other chicken people right now, and I'd like to ask you all what you think about this problem.

    Here is the situation: I have a flock of 35 breeder Seramas that was exposed to a bird who was showing signs of Marek's. I drew blood samples from 8 of the 35 birds and sent them in the UC Davis CAHFS lab for Marek's antibody testing. I figured this would give me a wide enough cross section of the population to safely extrapolate those results to the rest of the flock.

    All 8 samples came back positive for Marek's antibodies. I believe it is safe to assume all my birds have the antibodies based on these results. Needless to say, it has been a difficult thing to go through today.

    Not many people are aware that there is a blood test for Marek's. I've discussed the test and it's inherent benefits and draw backs here on BYC before. Here is a thread I started talking about it, to give you some background on the test. Please note that the test I had done was the one done on a blood sample, not the one done on a feather follicle.


    Now, the real question . . . where do I go from here? I was working toward building a business with my Serama breeding, and I have acquired some truly beautiful birds from a couple of great breeders. I was just at the point where I was about to start selling Seramas, and now this crushing blow. What's more, they are just sweetheart birds. I absolutely adore them. What would you do at this point? I have thought a lot about this, although I'm still kind of in shock at this point, and have some idea of what I'm probably going to do, but I'd like some independent opinions to add to the equation. Please, if you have any suggestions, or just support to offer, it would mean a lot.

    I have made a poll with some different suggestions I think people might give me. Please do not judge me for options on this poll you disagree with. I do not favor some of these options myself, but I am trying to get a good idea of what everyone thinks from this poll, and that means including everything I can think of regardless of my personal opinions.

    Thank you in advance, my friends.


    While re-reading some of these responses, I realized that I had neglected to include a bit of information that may influence the situation more than I had previously assumed. I was so overwhelmed by the results of the blood test that I forgot to consider the other part of the equation.

    So here it is: I have been doing research into Marek's, testing methods, and stalling my business transactions -- including having birds sent to me that I've already purchased -- ever since my birds were first exposed to the bird I suspected of having Marek's. I just looked back at my calendar to find out when that was.

    They were exposed in mid November. It has been over nine weeks already, and nobody has shown any Marek's symptoms. I have lost two birds since then. The first girl I lost to egg peritonitis. I sent her in for a necropsy and they made that determination. I mentioned I thought there might be Marek's in my flock, and they didn't report finding any evidence of Marek's in her necropsy. The second bird I lost was a micro Serama who I believe was simply too small. She was approaching point of lay and could still fit in your two hands closed together. Other than that, I have had difficulty completely eradicating some mites, and one girl had to recover after laying too big of an egg that tore her bottom.

    But no signs of Marek's in my flock since when they *might* have been exposed in November. Other than what I mentioned above, everybody is healthy and feisty as ever. I thought I should put this information here, and see if you think this makes any difference.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  2. ChickChickChicky

    ChickChickChicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2011
    Greater Kansas City, MO
    From what I've read, the maximum incubation period is 12 weeks. If your birds survive that length of time with no problems then I'd say you're fine to use the birds however you'd like. Your birds may only be testing positive because they were immunized as chicks, or they are naturally resistant. I personally would never do away with a flock based solely on the evidence you have presented, because false positives are possible. I suppose that if your mind still could not be put at ease, you could always cull 2 or 3 (that have already tested positive on the blood test) and have them necropsied to see if there are any internal signs of Marek's. I hope things work out for you, do not give up hope!
  3. ICallMyselfCherie'

    ICallMyselfCherie' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you so much for your vote and your response, Chicky. It means a great deal. I am going to refrain from responding with too much information regarding what I think to keep from influencing the results of the poll, but I want to say thank you for the encouragement. Thank you, so much, to everyone for your input!
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have never had any of my flock tested for Marek's disease, but I suspect at least one if not two birds have died from it. Perhaps 3. Out of a flock of 50+ that's not bad, I think. I have never purchased chicks vaccinated for it, nor have I vaccinated any of my own. If I decide to order any more from hatcheries (I might do that, one never knows - but I do incubate and hatch eggs I've purchased from BYCers) I intend to have the hatchery vaccinate them.

    My flock IS comprised of pets. I sell some eggs, but do not sell chickens.

    Marek's IS "everywhere." I wouldn't want it to show up in anyone else's flock from birds somebody got from me.

    I believe I feel some of your pain.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  5. ICallMyselfCherie'

    ICallMyselfCherie' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you, gryeyes. If I could get the smilies to work on my iPad I would be giving you a big hug, too! Thank you for your support, it means a lot at this difficult time.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  6. ChickChickChicky

    ChickChickChicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2011
    Greater Kansas City, MO
    One other thing I wanted to add is that it might be very helpful for you to contact the University and ask to consult with whatever vet specializes in poultry, specifically Marek's, and hash out your concerns with him/her, and perhaps even seek out such veterinary specialists at other universities (the University of MIssouri - Columbia has a great veterinary program) and ask their advice. I just wouldn't give up my flock without doing some serious research and exploring all options.
  7. ICallMyselfCherie'

    ICallMyselfCherie' Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's a really good idea. I've been trying to think of how to get more information, and that sounds like a good next step. I knew I should ask you guys, even when it seems hopeless!
  8. ChickChickChicky

    ChickChickChicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2011
    Greater Kansas City, MO
    Try just sending an email or fax (with complete details), or make a phone call, to the school's veterinary program and ask for help and direction. For example, here's the contact info for the veterinary school at the Univ. of MO-Columbia:
    Please direct all VMS inquiries to:
    Leslie Simmons
    Executive Staff Assistant
    Phone: (573) 884-6444
    E-mail: [email protected]

    and for UC-Davis:
    Dept of Medicine and Epidemiology
    Contact Information
    2108 Tupper Hall
    Davis, CA 95616
    Phone: (530) 752-1363
    FAX: (530) 752-0414

    There's also the American College of Poultry Veterinarians at http://www.acpv.info/mc/page.do;jsessionid=D23CE175A7A9F3DFC0106C0F1411BB2E.mc0?sitePageId=65818
  9. ICallMyselfCherie'

    ICallMyselfCherie' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, wonderful! Thank you for that info, I'm going to go ahead and call the UC Davis number today. I'll let you know what they say!
  10. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 9, 2009
    What you are facing is something that all of us should consider - the question of what action we should consider/take if we are unlucky enough to be in that position - I am no expert, my flock are my pets and so I, in my own situation would keep mine ( within reason) - if any of mine were showing symptoms of degenerative problems I would not hesitate to cull for reasons of their quality of life - my responses are from my own emotive point and in no way are reflective of the very serious issues you face.

    I had one chicken that showed signs of what appeared to be Marek's - her feet became contorted and her quality of life was ebbing away - I culled her as she was becoming rapidly disabled and had no prospect of living a normal life - on a lighter note she ate all of the strawberries in the garden, I wanted her to enjoy her last couple of days before the inevitable.

    My thoughts are with you at this so very difficult time - I offer no advice - you have more knowledge than most... do whatever YOU feel is right for you and yours.


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