Mareks, showing poultry and safety precautions

sumi

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I read an interesting debate elsewhere yesterday about a poultry breeder who is battling Mareks in his flock, but announced his intention to continue showing his birds in the foreseeable future, regardless of the situation. I have not experienced Mareks and pray I never will, but I have read enough about it to know that is a serious condition and can easily be spread around via the infected birds' dander. Apparently this breeder had been told that "Mareks is everywhere" and it's o.k. for him to take his birds from his farm to a show and it will not risk exposing the other exhibitors' birds.

Now, the debate is: if someone currently, or recently dealed with Mareks on their farm, is it o.k. for them to take birds to a poultry show, where judges will handle their and other exhibitors' birds? Where the birds will be in close proximity to other exhibitors' birds?

I've heard completely contrasting answers to the above questions and I'm curious to hear what you all think.
 
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speckledhen

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This is what I call "throwing caution to the wind", or in this case, Marek's to the wind. He is completely unethical. His actions are unconscionable. Since Marek's is spread through feather dander and on the air, he is risking EVERYONE's Marek's-negative birds. He has birds "dropping like flies", as someone mentioned on FB, and is going to take birds from those flocks to shows??????? ACK! Let's ask the other exhibitors what they think about that, then. Let's put a scarlet "M" on his cages for a warning, then, and see what happens. He won't be advertising it at the show, now will he? I'm betting the other exhibitors won't be so relaxed and "whatev..." about it will they?

The virus may be ubiquitous, but not every flock has Marek's. He's being selfish and immature. This is not what an ethical person does.

This is what I am always afraid of when someone spouts off that 90% of all flocks in this country have Mycoplasmosis. I do not believe it and even if it was true, it is not an excuse to just open the flood gates and forget reasonable biosecurity. No bird of mine who has ever been tested has ever tested positive for it and if he went on the same premise with that as he is with Marek's and brought an MG positive bird to a show and infected mine, he is to my way of thinking, criminal.

You asked for it, you have it. I feel strongly about it and I feel strongly about treating others the way YOU want to be treated.
This is what he gets from me:
smack.gif
How about contacting the show judges to alert them to this since there is not an on-the-spot test for Marek's Disease? Maybe a little bird should spread that.
 
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BantamLover21

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I understand your opinion completely, Speckledhen. It would be best if Marek's flocks are kept separate from non-resistant birds in the effort to prevent the spread of Marek's. However, in some cases, that isn't practical or beneficial.

Since Marek's is basically everywhere, being carried on the wind, contained in the ground, etc., many flocks have been exposed to the virus. Some people never know they have the disease, while people with weaker breeds/strains of birds see their flocks get severely affected. In my opinion, if everyone with Marek's in their flock did not attend poultry shows, there would be none (or at least very few) poultry shows for others to attend. Poultry shows require plenty of interested, dedicated people to keep going. If most people were banned from showing, or chose not to show, I'm afraid that many shows would lose the support they need.

Breeds of chicken might also lose necessary support, too. That is especially true with people who have rarer, albeit somewhat less hardy breeds that they are working with. I'm one of those people: I raise Dutch bantams, and am one of very few breeders in the United States who does so. Unfortunately for me (and Dutch breeders everywhere), Dutch bantams are one of the least resistant breeds to Marek's. I vaccinate my flock, and still occasionally lose birds. I try my best to sell people the hardiest looking, vaccinated birds that I can. But I also attend shows, partly for fun, and also to showcase the Dutch bantam breed.

Shows provide an opportunity for me to educate people about the Dutch bantam, and hopefully encourage them to try raising the breed themselves. There are so few breeders in the U.S. of Dutch that without new interest, the breed may die out. I do not want that to happen, so I show (even though my flock has Marek's) and try to gain support for the Dutch breed. Breeders elsewhere do the same thing, even though they, too, have had Marek's in their flock.

Still, those are just my thoughts on the Marek's showing problem. I do not want to start an argument; I'm just giving my opinion on the topic. Marek's is a terrible disease, that I hope many people can remain free of.
 

speckledhen

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Exposure doesn't necessarily mean infection, but continued exposure could change that. Just because it is everywhere, throwing caution to the wind is a surefire way to promote the disease. Taking positive birds to shows is promoting, IMO. I do not believe that promoting a breed takes priority over the health of everyone's birds.

This is exactly the reason I do not go to shows, folks whose priorities are, to my way of thinking, upside down. Keep sick chickens at home. Keep disease positive chickens at home.

Quote: Hoping won't do it. Everyone taking their disease-positive birds to shows where judges handle them then go on to the next bird won't do it, either.
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And, with that, I'm done before I say something I will be wrist-slapped for. I've been participating on a thread now to do with this horrific disease so this is fresh in my mind and heart, so y'all have at it. I've said my peace.
 

BantamLover21

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Well, I will never show a chicken that has any sign of Marek's (slight limp, strange shaped eye, etc.). And I do not intend to ever show or sell a chicken that has ever shown signs of Marek's, even if it recovers. Also, if Marek's begins killing more birds in my flock (right now it has only been isolated incidences), I will probably stop showing.

I don't want to stop showing--I really enjoy it--, but nor do I want to expose innocent peoples' birds to a heavy concentration of the virus.
hmm.png
 
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chooks4life

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I read an interesting debate elsewhere yesterday about a poultry breeder who is battling Mareks in his flock, but announced his intention to continue showing his birds in the foreseeable future, regardless of the situation. I have not experienced Mareks and pray I never will, but I have read enough about it to know that is a serious condition and can easily be spread around via the infected birds' dander. Apparently this breeder had been told that "Mareks is everywhere" and it's o.k. for him to take his birds from his farm to a show and it will not risk exposing the other exhibitors' birds.

I'd like to hear the rationale behind that one. If it's spread via dander how is he NOT risking exposing the other birds? A low risk is still a risk.

Now, the debate is: if someone currently, or recently dealed with Mareks on their farm, is it o.k. for them to take birds to a poultry show, where judges will handle their and other exhibitors' birds? Where the birds will be in close proximity to other exhibitors' birds?

I wouldn't do it. I've got MDV in my flock. It doesn't give me grief, but I'm very cautious about not bringing it to other people's flocks.

Same as I am with goats, sheep, horses, cattle, cats, dogs, you name it --- if you have animals of the same species as someone, both parties need to be conscious of how they interact for the safety of the animals.

I had MDV brought to my flock via a lady who visited my family; she bred show-quality Silkies for over a decade with no problems, but then bought MD infected chicks from a breeder; subsequently she lost almost all her birds to it, all of her breeders, and ended up with a bunch of my mongrels instead, since they didn't die from it. I've lost the odd few over the years but nothing like the massacre that happened at her place.

X2 on what speckledhen said... It's unethical for people to deliberately expose other birds to their sick ones.

Best wishes.
 

dawg53

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I agree with Speckledhen and Chooks4Life. What has happened to one of the most important aspects of chicken keeping? It's called BIOSECURITY. Watch the news about the ebola cases....that simple.
 

Nambroth

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The virus may be ubiquitous, but not every flock has Marek's. He's being selfish and immature. This is not what an ethical person does.

I agree.
To knowingly have diseased birds and bring them to a show is irresponsible and selfish. Even with common diseases-- they may be common, but they are not everywhere. To knowingly take part in spreading it (especially a disease that spreads so easily on dust particles too small to see) is not acceptable. If his birds are dying in any number, as is mentioned above, it is active in his flock, and further it may be of a strain of higher virulence than what any given bird may have been exposed to previously in life.

His birds are a risk to any that are not exposed, or to any that have been exposed but have not built immunity to the specific strain his flock has. That is scientific fact.
 

Nambroth

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Since Marek's is basically everywhere, being carried on the wind, contained in the ground, etc., many flocks have been exposed to the virus. Some people never know they have the disease, while people with weaker breeds/strains of birds see their flocks get severely affected. In my opinion, if everyone with Marek's in their flock did not attend poultry shows, there would be none (or at least very few) poultry shows for others to attend. Poultry shows require plenty of interested, dedicated people to keep going. If most people were banned from showing, or chose not to show, I'm afraid that many shows would lose the support they need.

On the other hand, I think you'd find even more people quitting poultry shows if attitudes like the fellow being discussed were not dealt with seriously. How many people would want to show their valuable birds (some of them may even be loved pets) at a venue if they KNOW for sure that Marek's virus will be floating around a show because a person showing there intentionally brings positive birds? Yes, there is always some disease risk in going to a show, but being blasé about disease control seems like a step in the wrong direction when it comes to encouraging the participation of both serious and hobbyist chicken enthusiasts alike.
 

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