Mareks: destroy all now or wait?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LizaBlue, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. LizaBlue

    LizaBlue Songster

    Oct 26, 2010
    Wee Acres
    I live in an area where the vets won't treat chickens, so when a pullet got sick several months ago, we had few options. We treated her symptoms for a month, and when she relapsed, we put her down. After about a month, a rooster appeared to have a broken/dislocated wing, which we bandaged to his body for a week, then put in a sling for a week. He seemed to get better, then began to have trouble walking. About a month after he first showed illness, another pullet was sick. She wouldn't walk, her abdomen was swollen, her vent poking out, pulsing, and leaking. That was the last straw: we drove 2hrs to the nearest vet we found that would take chickens. Bloodwork on the roo showed only anemia and dehydration, x-rays showed nothing. The pullet was so near death, we decided to have her put down, tested extensively, and sent for autopsy by the state. Today the vet called and said the preliminary findings showed she had Marek's. Despite the fact that all 3 birds presented differently, it does make sense, especially when a Silkie Roo we added to our flock briefly this year had a peculiar twitch - he bobbled his head frequently, jerkily - which could have been a symptom.

    The doctor's suggestions for where we go from here seem to line up with the information I have found so far online. Suggestion one: kill all surviving chickens, sanitize everything, wait several months, start over with new, hatchery vaccinated chicks. Suggestion two: do nothing, add nothing, and accept that none/any/all of our chickens could get sick eventually and die.

    Researching the disease on the internet provided some rather shocking information: nearly all chickens have been exposed to Marek's, and the virus can live up to a year, and be spread by Darkling Beetles (prevalent in our area) and mealworms. In other words, at least I know what's going on with mine, starting fresh would only guarantee that I have different chickens that could possibly become contaminated unless I move where no one has had chickens and no one around has had chickens.

    Our plan (pending discussion with extension office tomorrow) is to kill the remaining sick bird, remove all bedding from coop and burn it, scrub coop with bleach water, sterilize all feeders and waterers, clean up outside anything that could be contaminated, and kill immediately any chicken showing signs of illness, going through the cleaning process again if that happens.

    What would you do?

  2. daoustaj

    daoustaj Chirping

    Aug 22, 2012
    Your plan sounds good, just watch them close.

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