Is it worth vacinating my 2 month old chicks for Mareks?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Spring Chook, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Spring Chook

    Spring Chook Songster

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    I need to give some background to this query.

    I have 9 chickens, and 3 chicks who are being raised by my broody bantam in a separate pen. About 10 days ago, one of my beautiful Black Copper Marans started walking funny and panting. Both her legs eventually became completely paralysed and after hand feeding for a bit, I decided it was best to cull her. I dont know for sure, but I believe she had Mareks. I bought her and 4 others a few months ago and she had always been a bit of an outsider and was picked on by the others. She laid the deepest brown eggs of all my chickens though so I was very sad to see her get ill. She still managed to lay the odd egg when she was ill. After she was culled I did not want to pay for her to be sent off for an autopsy to confirm Mareks. No other chickens (who range in age from 1 - 2 yrs) are showing any signs of being ill and I have not had Mareks before.

    My query now is should I bother vaccinating the chicks. They are 2 months old and seem happy and healthy. They have never been in the same pen as the chicken who died, but they are only separated by a wire fence so they could have inhaled infected dust and dander, ie they may already have been exposed.

    And should i vaccinate the other chickens?

    Please advise

    S
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  2. MotherJean

    MotherJean Songster

    If I suspected Marek's I would vaccinate all my birds, regardless of age. It may not prevent the infection, but recent studies are suggesting that the vaccine may prevent the formation of T-cells (cancer-like cells) and thereby averts the type of neurological and visceral disease that leads to paralysis, tumors, and death. I don't know if you've thought about this, but I would also refrain from adding any new birds to the existing flock unless they are: a) vaccinated for Marek's, and, b) isolated from you other birds and the areas where they roam for at least 30 days. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection for the new birds and a 30 day quarantine is always considered best practice for bio-security anyway. Just something to consider.
     
  3. Spring Chook

    Spring Chook Songster

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    That is very interesting MotherJean. I had no idea that there was evidence that the vaccine could stall the development of Mareks as well. That is very encouraging.
    I'm definitely not buying any more birds for a while, and after this experience, will be vaccinating all chickens.

    Now I just have to pluck up the nerve to do the vaccination ....
     
  4. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

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    Yes vaccinate better safe than sorry.
     
  5. Spring Chook

    Spring Chook Songster

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    do some chicks pick up any sort of immunity from coming into cotact with Mareks
     
  6. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Crowing

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    I didn't realize they have a vaccine for older birds. The only vaccine I have found is for use in day olds only.
     
  7. Spring Chook

    Spring Chook Songster

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    I'd read that you can use the same `vaccine for any age bird but I'm not sure if you have to change the dosage. Anyone know?
     
  8. MotherJean

    MotherJean Songster

    I think Dr. Brown at First State Veterinary Supply has the vaccine and can advise you. http://www.firststatevetsupply.com/

    And
    , no, I don't believe there is any "natural" immunity, but you may wish to discuss that with Dr. Brown.
     
  9. Spring Chook

    Spring Chook Songster

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    thanks MotherJean again, I will check out Dr Brown
     

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