We are so discouraged....it had been several weeks since the last chick (two had had to be culled a month apart) showed signs of Marek's (leg paralysis) and we had put it down. I was hopeful. Today we lost another, at about 20 weeks of age. I have kept the chicks isolated from the established flock, but was getting ready to incorporate them in a couple of weeks. Now I am really wondering: WHAT SHOULD WE DO with the remaining six chicks? Can we just butcher them and safely eat them? What a costly meal they will make, considering that we have been feeding them since the end of November just waiting for those delicious eggs! Here is our set-up: Since the end of November, the chicks (pullets, I guess at their age!) have been in a separate building from the adult chickens, which will not be used for chicks in the future, as it is too hard to clean, and do not walk on the same ground as the older ones. Some people think I can still put them back with the older chickens even if they eventually show signs of the disease, figuring that the older ones have probably already been exposed and have survived (they were given to us, and vary in age from one to two or three years...one is five years old!) My fears: 1) the older chickens may come down with the disease 2) the permanent coop and all the grounds will be infected, since the chickens free range over most of the yard (albeit not where the pullets go) 3) in this case, it would be so much work to treat the big coop, and I would have to let the ground just "sit" for a couple of years before getting any more chicks/chickens My thoughts: 1) just get rid of the pullets (can we use them, can we eat them?) 2) wait until NEXT spring (2014) to get new VACCINATED chicks (I won't try fall chicks again) 3) in the meantime, maybe we would just butcher all the existing flock, after this summer, as they are getting along in age (all of this is new to us..I guess you can tell!) 4) OR..instead of #2, new chicks, find some year old chickens somewhere YOUR suggestions, please! 1) 2) ETC! Thank you!