Marek's disease; should I be worried

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by QuincyTchickens, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. QuincyTchickens

    QuincyTchickens Hatching

    Jun 21, 2017
    Hello chicken lovers, I have a quick question about marek's disease recently one of my friends chickens passed because of marek's. My friend and I are also going to be raising show chickens and selling them after a few months should I be worried about the chicks caching marek's, we got the chicks vaccinated for marek's but the chicks will be living in the same plot of land where the chicken with marek's and the rest of the flock that have been exposed to marek's are living. should I be worried about the chicks getting marek's?
  2. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    First...are you SURE your friend's bird died from Marek's? There are a lot of illnesses that can mimic Marek's. Only a necropsy can confirm Marek's was the cause (but only if the tumors were obvious during the examination).

    Let's assume it was Marek's.

    First and foremost look at the event rules for animal illness and exposure. It may state very clearly that all participating animals should be vaccinated in anticipation that flock exposures will vary. All show birds should be vaccinated for all illness types as a matter of fact.

    FYI, you should make a habit of keeping your show birds separate from your main flock because the show birds can/will bring illnesses home from shows. (The regular show people keep separate coops and areas).

    Further, as a courtesy, you don't want to expose other animals to something your animals might carry with them from the flock as Marek's transports on, the wind, feed bowls. So, it would be best to keep the show birds somewhere else than the location of the flock that has been exposed to Marek's.

    Though your chicks have been vaccinated, which is good, that doesn't mean they could never "catch" Marek's. Marek's is a complicated disease.

    The vaccine addresses "most" of the strains of Marek's, however, the vaccine is "leaky." It doesn't stop the bird from actually catching the disease. The vaccine merely stops the tumors from developing which cause death and paralysis, and it helps the bird build resistance to the common strains.

    So in short, it is good that your show birds have been vaccinated. The vaccine *should* make your birds non-carriers to other vaccinated birds especially if you aren't tracking in dander from the rest of the flock on boots and equipment.

    Marek's virus stays in the environment. The literature disagrees as to how long. Some state for at least 5 months. Some state for a very long time.

    It is passed in the feather dander, so keeping the coops clean and well ventilated helps, but won't obviously prevent.

    Some literature is now coming out that criticizes the vaccine as it is "leaky" and is creating "super" virus strains. The rule of thumb now is to cull all birds affected, keep litter and coops clean, avoid cross contamination, and breed from resistant birds.

    How that fits into show birds is not something I'm an expert with as I don't show...others on this forum will have specific advice for that...but I do think you have a bit of an ethical issue if you place those birds on grounds that are known to carry Marek and then want to show and sell them.

    KikisGirls likes this.

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