Merecks Disease in adults chickens.

Jan 13, 2020
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Hello, to everybody in this magnificent website, my question is, if anybody here has experience vaccinating adult chickens against Merecks disease? What are the consequences? the chicken doesn't get any protection at all against the disease as adults? Can they develop the illness from the vaccine? I lost already a 6-month-old an 8-month-old and a 2-month-old chicken I don't one to lose no more of them, please any advice will be appreciated?
 
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sloanbychoice

Songster
Dec 29, 2019
93
313
113
Wichita, Kansas
I wish I had more info on it. I just recently started researching Mareks. From what I understand, there are different strains, and the vaccine supposedly makes things easier when they do get it.
I don’t know much else.
But there are some knowledgeable people on here. Hopefully they know more.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
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Colorado Rockies
One of the reasons why Marek's vaccine isn't useful for older birds is because it can make things worse if the chickens have already been exposed to Marek's and are carrying the virus. It can trigger symptoms and aggravate the spread of the disease.

The purpose of the vaccine is to help chicks develop resistance to the disease so they need to be vaccinated weeks before being exposed to the disease.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium member
Apr 3, 2011
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southern Ohio
From what I have read about Mareks and vaccines, is if you have Mareks already in your flock and birds with it, chicks who get vaccinated, must remain away from the dust and dander for at least 2 weeks, to develop immunity. But they will still be exposed and will become carriers of the disease. They can still have chances of developing the disease, but thoughts are, it will be milder if they do. In order for any protection, the chicks should be vaccinated as day old chicks.

Many people with Mareks in the flock do vaccinate all chicks who are bought or hatched. Some flock owners choose to not ever vaccinate, thinking they can breed for resistance. But from what I have read, I don’t think that it is possible to breed for resistance. Some breeds seem to be naturally immune to the disease. But any chickens in your flock who do not go on to develop the disease will always be carriers, meaning the flock should remain closed to birds going out of the flock or being sold. There is a lot of misinformation online from chicken woners, so I would recommend reading as much as you can from sites, such as Merck Vet Manual, The Poultry Site, poultry college publications, but also the information in this link seems pretty accurate even though it is written by a BYC member:
 

Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
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Northwest New Jersey
I have no experience with Mareks but I have a question. Are you saying you have lost birds to Mareks? I think I read somewhere on this site that once Mareks is present in a flock it is also in the land. All birds will either contract it or carry it. No birds from this flock should ever be sold or given away as they will always be contagious. New birds can join but not leave. (Seriously am I the only one who is hearing music? #...Welcome to the Hotel Calif...# I swear I hear that.)
As for vaccinating chicks I am following so I too can see answers to your question. :idunno
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
17,814
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Colorado Rockies
Marek's is a very contagious disease. Marek's lives in the soil for months and even years. It's accepted that if you have a diagnosis of Marek's in your flock, you will have Marek's in your soil and outbuildings from that point on and any and all chickens brought in will be exposed and become carriers of the disease.

Once a chicken has been exposed to the disease, either directly by mingling with your flock, or indirectly by you shedding dust and dander from your clothes after you have come from tending your flock, they cannot be vaccinated. Any new chicks have to be kept under strict biosecurity for a few weeks after being vaccinated in order to have time to build up resistance to the disease, but once they mingle with the flock, they, too, become carriers of the disease, though they have a good chance of never becoming symptomatic.

I hope that helps make this complex issue a little clearer, even though my friends have said the same things.
 

CatWhisperer

Crowing
Jun 16, 2013
811
2,298
281
northwest Arkansas
I had Mareks diagnosed in one of my Onagadori pullets a short time ago. The veterinarian at the University of Arkansas poultry diagnostic lab advised vaccinating my flock. I have chicks indoors and a separate bachelor flock in my backyard. It’s been 3 weeks since 2 pullets died a few days apart from each other. I also had coccidia which I treated aggressively. I vaccinated a few days ago. Vaccination can’t hurt but may help in my case. It remains to be seen. It is sad to end up with a closed flock, especially after raising the Onagadori last year.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,104
15,038
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California's Redwood Coast
I lost already a 6-month-old an 8-month-old and a 2-month-old chicken I don't one to lose no more of them,
Hi there, welcome to BYC! :frow

Very sorry for your losses. :hugs

Sorry to ask... but did you have a necropsy done and confirmed it was Marek's causing your losses? Adding your general location to your profile can help folks make the best suggestions possible at a glance.

I am ONE of those who refuses to vaccinate for Marek's and Marek's vaccinated birds not welcome here, allowing it to HIDE in my flock.

I also DO breed for resistance as there was ONE gene identified that does give resistance to Marek's. Though I have NO way of knowing if I have THAT gene in my flock or not... I did get a report fro a customer a couple years later who got hatchery birds that started Marek's symptoms and the SILKIES who are allegedly PRONE to Marek's were the only ones left standing! :confused:

It is sad to end up with a closed flock, especially after raising the Onagadori last year.
Marek's does not pass through hatching eggs.

It’s been 3 weeks since 2 pullets died a few days apart from each other. I also had coccidia which I treated aggressively.
Very sorry for your losses. :(

Coccidia are in every chicken poo and coccidiosis can be deadly fast or even cause future nutrient absorption issues if it caused any intestinal necrosis. Hopefully ya got it treated in time.

I value the effort made by RESPONSIBLE people in the know to NOT spread disease. But FWIW... even NPIP tested flocks MAY have seen Marek's and not have to tell you about it, as it is not a reportable disease. NEVER bring bird from another pasture to yours even from... as Marek's isn't the only thing... and to me maybe even the least of concerns compared to some others. JMO though. :)
 

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