No Merek's Vacc?


12 Years
Mar 23, 2010
Rhode Island
I am possibly picking up 2 BOs and a Polish chick today ( all are about 4 weeks old).
I have 5 other 3.5 month old chicks who are Merek's vaccinated. These new chick aren't vaccinated and I wonder if this is something I should worry about. I really want my BOs and have really wanted a golden laced Polish for about a month (even since I saw one!) How prevalent is Merek's disease in the New England area? I know many of you don't vaccinate and many do. So both views are valid here.

Willow's Meadow

9 Years
Apr 16, 2010
I'm not sure about that area. But I know I called a million phone numbers to see if it was a problem and couldn't find an answer. So I got them vaccinated anyway.


Mar 11, 2010
Im in new england too and it doesn't seem to be a big problem. i don't vaccinate my chickens because i have one silkie hen and she is not vaccinated and she is raising some chicks so just to be sure i don't want them to spread it to her. i did a lot of research though to see if i should vaccinate my chicks or not and it seems that if the they are over about a week or two then the chickens can not catch the virus so i would not worry. i also had a silkie roo who was not vaccinated and i had to get rid of him because he was too loud so he is living in a near by flock of vaccinated hens and he seems fine.
i called up a lot of animal hospitals who treat chickens and they say that they rarely get chickens with viruses but manly only see chickens who have been injured. so i would say that im almost sure that you can have vaccinated chickens and unvaccinated chickens together but i don't think vaccinating is that necessary in small flocks around here

although i think mareks is the only live virus vaccine that will not spread to other chickens because its the only virus that they become immune to after a few weeks


10 Years
Feb 6, 2009
Marek's vaccine is usually done at 1 day of age and it is recommended for vaccinated chicks to be isolated from other birds to give the vaccine a chance to kick in. Marek's vaccine does NOT spread to Marek's to non-vaccinated chicks or chickens--the isolation is for the protection of the vaccinated chicks, not the non-vaccinated ones.

The virus is ubiquitous so it's basically a race to see if the vaccine or the wild-type virus gets to the chicks first. That's also why vaccinating older chicks is pretty much useless--they've already been exposed.

If you aren't losing lots of birds to Marek's, decide if you want the vaccine. If you have birds under 18 months or so dying, then see if your local Ag department or animal health department or veterinarian can do a necropsy to determine the cause. Marek's has many different presentations and if you aren't testing for it, you may just be missing it. Most vets don't see virus infected chickens because people will bring in a dog attack or HBC chicken, but a chicken with an upper respiratory infection gets well on it's own, gets dosed with every antibiotic at the feed store and gets better or dies. You can see a bit of the phenomena on the boards here. Stitches are more likely to mean a visit to the vet than sneezing. I'm not saying it's wrong or bad, I'm just saying vets see a patient profile that isn't necessarily representative of what's out there.


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 20, 2008
I don't know about Marek's in the New England area because I'm in Georgia but I make sure all of my birds are vaccinated now.. I had to learn the hard way to get them vaccinated because I had heard that it's unnecessary for a small flock to be vaccinated for Marek's so I didn't and then they all died from it

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom