Mareks Disease

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bolelove, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. bolelove

    bolelove Out Of The Brooder

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    My neighbor just told me she lost a few of her chickens to Mareks disease. I just finished building a chicken coup directly on the other side of the fence, separated by a fence, about 5 feet apart. My neighbour and I are worried that the disease might get to my chickens. Can anybody tell me if it is OK that I build the coup that close? Or any suggestions you all have will be much appreciated.
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    If you're worried, get vaccinated chicks. At least then, they won't die from the disease, though they might still get it. (Actually, they could still die from it if the vaccine didn't work, as it is about a 90-95%, not 100% effective)
     
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    If she is sure that her chickens have Marek's, I am sorry to be a bearer of bad news, but the chances are that it's not only in her yard, but in yours as well and possibly even further. The virus is shed in chicken dander, which can be easily blown nearby by a breeze, wind, even mice and wild birds can accidentally track the dander. The virus can live for months (if not years) on the dander, even if the chicken it came from is long gone. The chances are very high that it is already on your property. Not 100%, but high enough that I personally wouldn't gamble with it.
    It doesn't mean you can't keep chickens though!
    If you are buying day-old chicks from a hatchery it would be very wise to consider having them vaccinated. Even then the vaccine is 90% effective. It is very important to keep the chicks quarantined from your yard/any area that might have been exposed for at least three weeks. Longer is better. If she has a mutated strain the vaccine may not be as effective. Can you ask her if she knows what strain her birds had? Did she get them tested?

    Be aware that if you get vaccinated chicks, and the chicks are later (after at least three weeks old) exposed to the virus, they will carry the virus. Hopefully they will never show symptoms, but will carry and shed the virus. This is not from the vaccine, but from being exposed to the actual live Marek's virus (from your neighbor). So any new birds you brought in should be vaccinated if you want to prevent losses.

    Vaccination against Marek's disease is ideally done before the chicks are 36 hours old (out of the shell). There are some that vaccinate older chicks-- it cannot hurt, but it is generally very questionable if it is effective after this small window closes. It is a much bigger risk to bring birds in that are not vaccinated as day old chicks if there is known Marek's in the area.

    I hope this helps you!
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
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  4. bolelove

    bolelove Out Of The Brooder

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    oh wow! it most definitely helps me. You guys are so awesome.
    I will ask my neighbor what strain her birds had and if she tested them.
    I will be devastated if something happens to my babies.
    Thank you again.
     
  5. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nambroth I agree with you and would like to add one thing. If this were me facing this, I would want my chicks vaccinated with all three types of vaccine and also I would be asking friends or family who are miles away if they would be intersted in keeping these birds for a while. I know one of the hatcheries is using all 3 types right through this season. Ask before purchase. HVT [turkey Marek's is pretty much standard in all hatcheries for Marek's], Rispens, and SB1 are the 3 types currently being used last time I checked.

    As Nambroth has already pointed out, if your neighbor did have Marek's, your yard, house, new coop...everything is infected with the virus already. Especially if the outbreak in your neighbor's flock was a recent one. You'd really need to look into that time frame. If you cannot find someone willing to raise your chicks for 6-8 weeks before you introduce them to their new home....you will see losses, possibly total loss. I will say this, I ordered chicks this year vaccinated for Marek's. I face a very virulent strain of Marek's here and what I had to go through to keep these chicks alive for the time needed to let the vaccine work, was a nightmare. It can be done, but you have to be completely committed, as does anyone else in your household. Honestly, do not take this route lightly. Research Marek's until your eyes cross, talk with Nambroth more and anyone else who has it to find what they do to get through.

    I wish you luck and I am so sorry you are facing this. Something that just hit me.....How late in the year are you willing to wait to get your chicks? I have no idea where you are located, in the NE, where I am, the end of Sept. and beginning of Oct. it is already getting cool to cold. You don't have your windows open often. If, IF, you were dedicated to the idea of birds, it would be possible, maybe, I believe so....you could do this. A basement, a room that doesn't get a lot of traffic, someplace you could control who goes in and out and air exchange to a certain degree. You could set up a 'clean room' for the raising. Lysol will become your signature fragrance and your hands will become rough and red from all of the scrubbing you will need to be doing. If you can get them to the 6-8 week mark....then you have a chance. At the 8 week mark start being less stringent with the biosecurity measures you've been following, this way you are slowly introducing these birds to their new enviroment. This will take a few more weeks. Like I said...you need to be totaly committed to this. It ain't easy and there will be days you'll wonder 'why did I do this?".
     
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  6. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm sooo sorry!!! This is an awful situation you are facing! So glad your neighbor was responsible enough to inform you!!!! Too bad it was a bit late, but atleast she/he did tell you!!! You now have choices, lots of folks did not have, when their flocks were infected!!!

    I agree with what you have been told...research this to the ends of the earth...you will need this information, if you are going to procede and I would like to add one thing also. If you do go forward with having chickens, you will need to keep a "closed flock". More research for ya....if you are not up on what that means...best of luck and glad you are here asking the questions!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. bolelove

    bolelove Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello my chicken family,
    sorry didn't see all these emails. I appreciate all your feed back. I haven't seen my neighbor to ask what strain of Mareks disease her chickens had or if she did/didn't get them vaccinated.
    To answer your question Haunted55, I live in San Diego CA, and today it's hotter than hades. My chicks are indoor in one of our rooms, and it's cool and they are hanging out. They eat like pigs, all day :) they are getting big, except for one, she is almost half their size but same age can't figure that out, and she is the friendliest, always looks up at me.
    Anyways, keep in touch guys, i enjoy hearing from you all.
     
  8. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    I'm glad your chicks are doing well. Did you have them vaccinated?
     
  9. bolelove

    bolelove Out Of The Brooder

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    I called the person that sold me the chicks, and he said that they have an organic farm and does not vaccinate their chicks. He said that Organic chicks have better resistance to Mareks disease than non-organic chicks. And he told me to wait for 9 weeks before taking them outside. I hope that is true.
    Another thing I do want to ask Nambroth, my neighbor lost 11 of her chickens, and she has 3 left. How come these 3 chickens are still living? or is it a matter of time before they too die?
     
  10. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not Nambroth, nor do I play her on television...lol. If you will excuse the expresion...that's a bunch of Bull. Organic doesn't mean they can't be vaccinated for Marek's. What it means is the person didn't want to vaccinate them. This is a sore spot with me and I believe a large part of the mutation of the Marek's strains we are seeing now. All anyone has to do is look up the guidelines for the maintenance and registering of an Organic Flock to know the truth. Please do some research or ask questions, a lot of them. Most Marek's outbreaks do not kill 100%. Some birds have resistance and are able to completely dodge the bullet. Others have resistance but can only run so far before symptoms show up. The truly virulent strains, caused by these mutations can and will take out 100% species during an outbreak.

    I was asking because if it got cold in the Fall where you were, you would have a better chance of having some of the virus wiped out from the land after a couple of frosts. Heat will also do it, but it needs to be a longer time frame to do so. Days as oppossed to hours. You may be lucky and find that some has been killed due to the heat issue, but if it were me, I'd be looking into vaccinating these birds myself before they hit the ground. Jeffers is where I purchase mine, but there are other suppliers out there.
     

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