Is it safe to blend a Merek vaccinated flock with a non-vac flock???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jmsim93, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. jmsim93

    jmsim93 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2009
    East Texas
    I recently received chicks from Ideal that I decided to go ahead and vaccinate for Marek's disease. I was not thinking about my existing flock and I was wondering if it is safe to combine the two. What are your experiences?
     
  2. Bravo

    Bravo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 24, 2009
    CA
    I have read that it should be ok. The Marek's vaccinated chickens do not shed the virus so it will not affect the unvaccinated chickens. Not sure about other vaccines though...

    I have a similar post in this section but I cant get any responses. This whole vaccination protocol is so confusing and there aren't any resources that have the info readily available. It's really too bad since I am sure a lot of people are in the same situation as the both of us.
     
  3. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

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    Fair Oaks, California
    i think there haven't been a lot of responses to this and to your post, Bravo, as it is a confusing subject. Some folks are adamant about doing things naturally and not vaccinating, others feel vaccinating is the way to go.

    You first want to check with someone, perhaps your state vet (you can find them through your state dept of agriculture webpage). They will be able to tell you what is prevalent in your area. i would *think* you don't want to do unnecessary vaccinations.

    i did some reading on Marek's when i had part of my flock put down for other reasons. The necropsy showed latent Marek's for several of the birds. My state vet said that all chickens have been exposed to it, it's that common. i read that vaccinating for Marek's does not prevent infection, and that there are some birds who will contract the virus from the vaccine.

    The only thing i have vaccinated for here is Fowl Pox. This was because i brought a bird in last year, and during quarantine she showed signs of it. It's carried by mosquitos to other birds. The dry pox is not life threatening, but the wet pox can be. i just bought another batch of the vaccine and will be vaccinating the new kids in my flock soon.

    Honestly, after dealing with our State Vet during my recent flock crisis, i highly recommend them as a resource. Granted, they are more geared towards large flock management and commercial operations. But they have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through caring for your own small flock. They can answer questions and provide insights you won't find by reading articles.
     
  4. shay20

    shay20 Shay's Flock of Fun

    Jul 31, 2008
    in the wild, Mass
    I may have had something else going on, with me little ones. I had some in with some that were vacinated and i lost a lot.

    I learned that the Mereks vaccine is a virus to kill for mereks ( like the flu shot),
    also the chicks that are vaccinated, you have to take extra care of because the shot weakens there immune system that normal.

    This is what i have gone through.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  5. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Newman Lake, WA
    There is no evidence that the vaccine for mareks can be spread laterally from bird to bird. It is a modified virus and does not give the bird mareks.

    The reason people are asked to quarantine the chicks after vaccination is to keep them from being exposed to the actual mareks virus and give the bird time to build up antibodies.

    And, in my opinion it is safe to mix vaccinated and unvaccinated flocks.
     
  6. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

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    Fair Oaks, California
    Okay, here was what i was reading earlier: "Vaccinated birds can still contract Marek’s disease and although they will not display any clinical signs of infection, they will act as a source of spread through their dander. " The article is dated June 8, 2009, and here is the link:
    http://www.fwi.co.uk/academy/article/115991/mareks-disease-in-laying-hens.html

    . . . and darn it, but i was just reading earlier today that a very small percentage of chicks will contract the virus from the vaccination, as the vaccine contains a live virus. But now i can't find that article.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  7. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nelson BC
    The Mareks vaccine is a live virus - it's a related strain, though, not the more virulent strain that causes Mareks disease. The virus in the vaccine will not make any chickens sick. What the vaccine does is create an immune response in the chick so that when it encounters one of the disease-causing strains of the Mareks virus, the chicken doesn't get sick. It's said to be 90% effective (that is, some vaccinated chicks will occasionally develop Mareks disease because their bodies don't effectively fight off the "real" virus even after exposure to the harmless one).

    The vaccine will not block the entry of the Mareks virus into the chicken's body, but it does protect the chicken in the sense that it stops the disease process from occuring. Vaccinated chickens can still contract the Mareks virus and can shed it in their dander, just as unvaccinated chickens can, but other than that they pose no danger to unvaccinated individuals.

    The reason for quarrantining vaccinated chicks for 2+ weeks is to protect them from exposure to the Mareks virus until after the vaccine strain has gotten a running start in their system. In other words, you don't want them to be exposed to Mareks until after they've developed some immunity to its effects. An unvaccinated chick doesn't need to be protected from a vaccinated chick.
     
  8. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    pips&peeps :

    There is no evidence that the vaccine for mareks can be spread laterally from bird to bird. It is a modified virus and does not give the bird mareks.

    The reason people are asked to quarantine the chicks after vaccination is to keep them from being exposed to the actual mareks virus and give the bird time to build up antibodies.

    And, in my opinion it is safe to mix vaccinated and unvaccinated flocks.

    Quote:I agree with these comments.

    I've also mixed vaccinated and unvaccinated birds. When we bought this farm 2 1/2 yrs ago I started out with unvaccinated chicks in Aug 2007. But the following year, one of the neighbors had Mareks among his flock in 2008. After talking with an Extension Agent, I found out it's quite prevalent here. Thereafter I started buying only vaccinated chicks, and vaccinating all chicks I hatched.

    Up until Nov 2009, I still had 12 unvaccinated birds from that first group, mixed in with 2 different groups of vaccinated, younger birds. No problem. I sold 7 of the 12 in Nov but the remaining 5 are still here and mixed in another flock. Again, no problem.​
     
  9. shay20

    shay20 Shay's Flock of Fun

    Jul 31, 2008
    in the wild, Mass
    Hmmm i was told that why a lot of my chicks died, i was told that if you mix vaccinated chicks to unvaccinated chicks, that the unvaccinated can get sick from the vaccinated ones.

    SO then i was told wrong? i was told and did research and came up with that a lot.
     
  10. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nelson BC
    Consider smallpox, which used to kill huge amounts of people and caused incredible suffering. Milkmaids, as it turned out, were usually immune to smallpox, because they were exposed to cowpox (related to smallpox but not particularly virulent). Because it's so similar to smallpox, an immune system that's been previously exposed to cowpox will make short work of the smallpox virus. Most of us today are immune to the ravages of smallpox because we've been exposed to the cowpox virus (that's what the smallpox vaccine is).

    Unvaccinated chicks will not get sick from vaccinated chicks *unless* the vaccinated chicks have been exposed to the Mareks virus, in which case they can shed the virus and transmit it to other individuals. In other words, although they themselves will not get sick they can become asymptomatic carriers. Unvaccinated chickens can become carriers too - some will get sick/paralyzed and die, some few will get sick and not die, and some will be more resistant and show no symptoms, but all that have been exposed can be carriers. If you were losing chicks at a very young age it probably wasn't Mareks anyway as it takes some time before the symptoms start to show up. Bottom line: your unvaccinated chicks won't get any sicker from a group of vaccinated chicks than they might from another group of unvaccinated chicks.
     

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