Marek's ?s & Assistance Please (apologies for being so long)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by thegreypony, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. thegreypony

    thegreypony Chillin' With My Peeps

    So 3 years when we got into this backyard flock stuff, I'm 99% positive that the week old chicks we got had Marek's (carriers?) as one of the pullets becamse paralyzed around 4 mos old and ultimately died @ ~ 1 yo. One of the roosters died suddenly at 6 mos old (appeared healthy & ate his brkfast but was dead at lunch time); another rooster just always seemed a little unthrifty. I contacted the breeder we got the original babies from and he does not vaccinate ANY of his ducks, turkeys, or chickens for Marek's.

    One of our neighbors dogs tore the fence off our chicken yard and killed the entire flock except for 2 GLWs that we bought as 6 mo pullets and a BR pullet that was part of the original week old chick group. Hard to follow, I know. Point is, we never saw the entire flock of original week olds mature b/c the dog killed them. The BR pullet that did survive became egg bound when she was 2.5 and died. The GLWs were purchased from a friend who got 25 day olds from McMurray - ordered w/o Marek's vaccine. We still have these GLWs & they are the greatest birds...very healthy, happy, and productive.

    So we cleaned out the hen house - which is a permanent structure with a dirt/sand floor (converted tool shed). This was a couple of years ago. Over time we added some birds to our flock - in particular 2 BO hens who are addicted to brooding. they are impossible to break so I end up getting fertile eggs for them to hatch. This has been a very successful way to make them happy. We've gotten eggs from a couple of different sources and had great luck w/healthy babies. Aside from a black snake and a hawk, our babies have all grown up to be very healthy; some have been rehomed but to friends so we know how they 're doing.

    2 weeks ago, BO hatched 15 Ameraucana babies. 3 eggs didn't hatch. 1 baby hatched unthrifty and died overnight. the remaining 14 have been very active, thrifty and seemingly healthy until 2 days ago. I found one baby on its side, leg stretched out, foot curled up. Brought it in & fashioned a "brooder" box thinking maybe he'd just gotten run over. I was going to give him the day and/or night to improve or not. That afternoon, I found another baby sort of stumbling around. Brought it on. yesterday morning neither chick could stand, both feet curled. Still trying to eat/drink but can't move to get to it. I call my vet who freaks out over the thought of Marek's...that's another story. I take the babies in and he Halothanes them in a ziploc...we say a prayer that this is the end of this little nightmare. No dice...another chick this morning. SO FRUSTRATED.

    I'm researching all of this Marek's stuff once again to refresh what I think I know. The vet - well, like I said, he's in a panic mode b/c he's thinking this is going to do in our entire little flock. I'm honestly just overwhelmed at this point trying to figure out what is the best course of action.

    1. Do I bother trying to move the momma hen and the remaining babies to another location just so they are out of the hen house? I can't imagine it would even matter at this point, other than to stress them all out, because they've been exposed to whatever this is.

    2. Is there anything at all to be done to give pre-emptive supportive care to the reamaining babies? I don't know what that would be but any suggestions....

    3. Do we just burn the whole thing to the ground, replace the building and close the flock until all the birds we have pass away of old age?

    Everything I've read just makes this all seem hopeless. Marek's is here; if your chickens breathe then they've been exposed. The different schools of thought on whether or not to vaccinate - especially a small backyard flock - well, everyone seems very convinced of their opinion and both sides have very valid points.

    What to do, what to do....any thoughts or kindly delivered advice is most appreciated. No one is going to be harder on me than I'm being on myself, and I pose these questions and open this discussion in the hopes of coming to a better understanding of what's best to do.
  2. honfor500

    honfor500 Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Healdsburg, CA
    When I first started getting chickens about 3 years ago i bought two sexlink pullets from a feed store and then i found a lady that called her self the chicken queen and i purchased two americaunas from her. She must have had a thousand chickens wich she raised alot of them from eggs and I would say alot of them had no Mereks vaccine anyway i brought home my two americaunas and put them in my coop. About a week later I went out to my coop and found one of the americaunas dead with its leg stuck out to the side. The next day the other started acting weird and wouldnt eat or drink by that night it also died . i figured they either died from Mereks or coccidiosis because I also found bloody stools so I culled the other two birds and waited a year and built a new coop on the other side of the property. Now I have 20 chickens aquired over two years with no problems what so ever i got feed store chicks with all vaccinations and let them brood their eggs and thats how I established my flock

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