New chicks vaxd, flock is not

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sweepy, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Sweepy

    Sweepy In the Brooder

    Sep 8, 2013
    I just placed my order for our next batch of meat birds and threw in an additional 4 layers to add to our established flock. Currently have 8 pullets and 1 cockerel that were NOT vaccinated for anything. This time around, I opted for the Marek's vaccine. (There seems to be a divide on the forums as to whether or not it's a necessity.) My question is, now that I've had these new birds vaccinated, do I need to vaccinate the birds we already have? I need a simple yes or no answer as I was getting overwhelmed and confused while reading about Marek's and how the disease works among vaccinated and unvaccinated flocks. Or should I just go ahead and vax the current flock just because? What would you do? Thanks in advance!

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO

    The vaccine loses effectiveness each day after hatch. By now it is way too late.
  3. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87 Chirping

    Nov 17, 2013
    Dallas, Tx
    No, (old flock)

    It be like vaccinating for chicken pox after the human kid had it.

    Yes, (new chicks)

    Vaccinating birds is the oz of prevention vs pound of cure. If your chicks got mareks, it be a bad day and your options would suck.

    It's considered a baby chick disease so the grown ones have already weathered the storm

    In general, I love vaccines. I rather lose a bird to a vaccine than a disease. It's more I rather try something then not be able to do anything. Plus it's unlikely to lose one to a vaccine.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  4. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Marek's is not simple so there is no catch-all simple answer.

    Would it HURT to vaccinate your older birds with the Marek's HVT Vaccine (the kind us hobbyists can get in the mail)? No, as long as they are all well and not suffering from ill heath.

    Would it HELP to vaccinate your older birds with said vaccine? Probably not. The vaccine loses much of its effectiveness after the chicks are 36 hours old. The vaccine is only able to be as effective as it is when administered within 36 hours of life, due to the way a chick's immune system works. These chicks should then be kept in quarantine from all other chickens for a minimum of 2-3 weeks for best chances of the vaccine helping to build an immune response.

    If you are concerned, ask what vaccine they use where you are buying your chicks from. If they use HVT, this is a different serotype (species) of the virus, and despite some misinformation out there, this vaccine can NOT cause your vaccinated birds to spread Marek's.

    Of course, be sure that your source for your new chicks is clean and reputable, and hatches/raises chicks in isolation from other chickens, otherwise you do run a risk of the virus coming in on the chicks if they are accidentally exposed before they are sent to you. Even vaccinated chicks can shed the virus, IF they are exposed to it previously.
  5. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87 Chirping

    Nov 17, 2013
    Dallas, Tx
    Yea it takes 2 weeks for it to work

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