Ok, now I'm worried...


11 Years
May 15, 2008
upstate NY

I have 25 chicks, 2 weeks old. I'm planning to take them out of the brooder, hopefully today, and let them have the run of the chicken house(the brooder is in one corner of the chicken house). I had meat chicks in there this summer, they were processed in July. I disinfected the chicken house with a bleach solution.

When I was at Tractor Supply this morning, getting more feed, I picked up a Storey's book on chickens, glanced at the raising chicks section, and read that chicks should never be housed where an older flock has been, because of the possiblity of them picking up Mareks. I'm not too worried about the chicken house because of the bleach, but the outside run shares a fence with my laying flock (2 1/2 years old). I don't plan to let the babies outside until they are around 6 weeks, depending on what the weather does here, but will I need to worry about diseases passing from my older flock to the babies??

I have no reason to think that my layers have active diseases, and the meat chicks were in the coop where the new babies are and had no problem with disease...will the current chicks be ok? We haven't had a frost here yet, but probably will before I let the babies outside...will the run be safe for them? Do I need to shovel up the shavings/dirt the layers kick through the fence? Bearing in mind that they will just kick more through, with their daily dust baths...

Can anyone advise?
You have 25 chicks? Sounds like a hatchery order. Does the hatchery vaccinate for mareks? Check and see...they might have the vaccination already!
Basically, Mareks is everywhere in the environment because it's airborne through the bird's dander. I tend not to worry about it TOO much, as I have never had Mareks in any of my birds (knock on wood). I quarantine after shows, etc. IF you had a bird that recovered from Mareks in the past, you should be VERY concerned. Since you haven't, well, the risk is much smaller (unless you have close neighbors with chickens, because who knows what they've got). I also vaccinate for it, which might be worth looking into for you...
They came from Sandhill Preservation, they're NPIP, but all the shipping sheet said was Pullorum/Typhoid Clean. No record of Mareks vaccination.
x2. I had a hen that we had to put down because of Marek's. I got her as an adult, and knew nothing of the disease, (she was one of my first chickens.) To make matters worse, my area is known for having a heavy concentration of Marek's,according to the Dep Of Ag in Oregon. I would say that if you haven't had any cases of Marek's around you, you might be ok, but is everywhere. My vet told me that from now on, to only buy vaccinated chicks. I just ordered some chicks, but the bantams don't come vaccinated, so I purchased the Marek's vaccine online, and will vaccinate them when I get them. I talked extensively (sp?) with our Avian vet and asked if it would be just as effective giving at 2 - 3 days old, and was told that there really isn't enough evidence to say not. I might be taking my chances, but it is better than doing nothing, in my case. Like stated above, you might look into giving the vaccine yourself. You won't be doing it at one day old, but if they haven't been exposed to the outside world, then it might protect them. If they have been exposed, the vaccine won't hurt them, it just won't be effective.Mine won't be exposed to the outside world, or my other chickens for a couple of months, so I am hoping it will be ok. I am going to take great caution to change clothes, washe hands etc, before handling them, if I have been outside. I also agree with not knowing what your neighbors chickens might have. I share a fenceline with my neighbors and they have 40+ chickens that freerange, sometimes, crossing over to my goat pasture. They don't worm or medicate and have never even heard of Marek's disease. And they have had chickens for many years! All of their chickens have scaley leg mites, ( I babysit them often and have seen this)and God know what else. Sorry if this sounds like I'm trying to make you worry more, I'm not. Just want you to be aware of what could be out there. I'm sure yours will be fine. My neighbors who didn't even know about the disease until I told them, haven't even had a problem with it, I don't think.
From what I've read, it's my understanding that the vaccine is really only effective when they're day-olds, but I absolutely think it's worth a try. I'd check on here for some other threads specifically about vaccinating older birds, and maybe do a separate online search. Marek's devastated a flock of my friends' pullets, who she bought when they were chicks from a local farm that does NOT vaccinate. One got sick one by one and they had to destroy the whole flock because of the airborne contaminant. Scary stuff.

Is it too late to switch to medicated feed? I had mine vaccinated as day-olds so I've not used medicated feed, but I think it might protect them? I think that's your best bet, since it sounds unrealistic to build a whole new coop/run situation for these 25.
Medicated chick starter only protects against coccidiosis. I researched vaccinating older birds on here, and everything I read said that you could definitely do it, just that the vaccine is MOST effective in their first day or two.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom