Mareks vaccine/all chicks vaccinated except bantams


In the Brooder
Jan 10, 2016
Getting chicks this spring from I opted for the Mareks vaccine, however some of the chicks are bantams and will not receive the vaccine (Mypetchicken says they're too small to vaccinate) . So what does that mean? Keep my fingers crossed that the bantams don't get Mareks and know that my other vaccinated chicks are safer?


6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
I'm not sure what the problem is with vaccinating bantam chicks for Marek's Disease. I routinely vaccinate my bantam chicks with no problem. Your vaccinated chicks will probably be safer, but still there is no guarantee that your bantams will contract the disease without the vaccine. A lot depends on the health of the chicks, exposure to Marek's, and natural resistance.
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Jan 10, 2016
As far as Mysteria or I are aware, there's no reason not to vaccinate any chicks against mareks.
Neither of us would order from a hatchery that refuses to do so.

Why take the risk, when there's an effective vaccine.


10 Years
Jul 6, 2009
If you saw a video of how Hatcheries vaccinate chicks, you would understand how bantam chicks would not fit their rapid handling. But most hatcheries DO vaccinate all chicks, if ordered vaccinated. I vaccinate every bantam chick (Dutch, and VERY small) at hatch. Instead of the subcutaneous --under the skin of the back of the neck--I vaccinate in the thigh, needle (smallest available) under the skin, facing from hock joint up toward the body. Takes 2, one to hold the chick's leg outward, and one to handle the needle. The chicks cheep at being held, but show no problem with the needle. With 2 boxes, one for chicks waiting and and one to place the vaccinated chicks, there is no pain expressed, and the lump of the vaccine under the skin is absorbed and gone by the time the next chick is vaccinated! Cost? About $16 for vaccine (freeze dried, keep in fridge) and the diluent. One table will vaccinate 1000 chicks, but only keeps an hour after mixing. So I use 1/4 tablet and 1/4 of the diluent for each session--the rest keeps (NOT MIXED) in the fridge. The vaccine is NOT made with the Marek's virus, but with a Turkey herpes virus, which causes and immunity to Marek's Disease in chickens. MUST be done at hatch, as it is supposed that there will be exposure to Marek's (it is worldwide). Takes at least 2 weeks for the chicks to develop immunity, so they must be kept isolated at least that long---AND take care of them BEFORE you care for your older birds, so that you do not carry the virus, that may be present, on your hand, clothing or equipment~it is worth the effort! LUCKY if you have never lost birds to Marek's. BUT, if you have, it is a long lived virus and you can expect it to reappear--and always your best bird or birds--at any age, if not protected. Vaccination is not 100%, but it is the best we can do and IS very reliable! GOOD LUCK. Breeding for immunity is another alternative. But how DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR BIRDS ARE IMMUNE? Carriers of the virus, not showing any symptoms --or deaths--may be in your flock for a LONG time--and new birds can be infected. It's our choice--and I choose vaccination for Marek's Disease.
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