Please tell me this isn’t mareks....

microchick

Enabler
Dec 31, 2014
8,762
37,057
1,097
NE Missouri
I bought my birds from an NPIP breeder who bred for resistance, which is what I was looking for but I was willing to buy vaccinated birds.

Given the nature of Marek's disease, meaning there are many variable strains of the infection, my birds were probably resistant to whatever strain was in the area that the breeder lived in. But not to the strain in my area.

You have to remember that MD is so prevalent that one study I read said that if every flock in America was tested, they would find that they had all been exposed to Marek's Disease.

On a whim, I bought a dozen hatching eggs from an Amish farm in our neighborhood and hatched them in my incubator.

Every one of these birds thrived, bred, brooded and hatched the second generation of chicks. I wanted them to. I wanted a lot of chicks because I fully suspected that given my die off rate, I would lose a great deal of them and wanted enough surviving birds that I would still have enough to provide us with eggs.

One day my husband caught me standing outside the run watching the young birds running around, healthy, playing, generally just being chickens and asked me if I had another one that I was watching because it was on its way out.

I told him, no, they WEREN'T dying and why aren't they dying? My purebred beautiful Welsummer, Buff Orpington and Speckled Sussex birds were dropping like flies but these little Amish barnyard mix of English Game, Cochin and God only knows what else, were thriving and suddenly I was up to my eyeballs in chickens.

It dawned on me that what I was looking at was chickens who were resistant to the local strain of Marek's disease because they had been exposed to it and built up a natural immunity with each generation, which is what the Veterinary doctor at Mizzou had told me would happen.

He told me that the surviving birds would be worth their weight in gold because they would be resistant. The only problem I had with that is that the strain that my flock was infected with was so virulent that out of almost 20 birds hatched under broody hens from the original flock, only one survived.

It was a hard decision to make but at that realization, I decided to cull all the purebred birds from the original flock and concentrate on raising resistant birds from the local Amish farms and Egyptian Fayoumis. I'm hoping the genetic immunity that EFs have to not only Marek's but a lot of other chicken diseases will strengthen my barnyard mixes even more.

And no, I do not vaccinate but I do bring vaccinated chicks into my flock and so far so good there also. I have about 20 OEGB Silver duck wing and black breasted red bantams in my flock and they are thriving also.

When all is said and done, it's a crap shoot. I have no idea what the future will bring to my flock but I'm sure learning a lot about the ins and outs of MD along the way.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
Sep 26, 2015
1,991
2,373
337
Portland OR
I tried aspirin, it didn't seem to do much. I think it is in her upper leg if she is injured, like above her knee. I will look up some ideas for slings, thanks!
I'll definitely take an upper leg injury over dealing with MD any day of the week, frustrating as it is not to be able to help. I've had 2 with such injuries- the first was immobilized for weeks but healed up in such a way that she gets where she wants to go and is kept in a small friendly group - the other one had the same look as your video where the hock looks to kind of collapse downward. Both are clear injuries with no further deterioration beyond the initial symptoms, thankfully. She can get from place to place on her own but isn't nearly as mobile- about to see if I can rig her up a little wheelchair/walker type get up.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
Sep 26, 2015
1,991
2,373
337
Portland OR
I bought my birds from an NPIP breeder who bred for resistance, which is what I was looking for but I was willing to buy vaccinated birds.

Given the nature of Marek's disease, meaning there are many variable strains of the infection, my birds were probably resistant to whatever strain was in the area that the breeder lived in. But not to the strain in my area.

Every one of these birds thrived, bred, brooded and hatched the second generation of chicks. I wanted them to. I wanted a lot of chicks because I fully suspected that given my die off rate, I would lose a great deal of them and wanted enough surviving birds that I would still have enough to provide us with eggs.

One day my husband caught me standing outside the run watching the young birds running around, healthy, playing, generally just being chickens and asked me if I had another one that I was watching because it was on its way out.
...
When all is said and done, it's a crap shoot. I have no idea what the future will bring to my flock but I'm sure learning a lot about the ins and outs of MD along the way.
I'm so sorry you've had to go through all of that. I can't even begin to imagine how painful it must have been. So glad that you found a way forward with the local Amish mix breeds and EFs and continued with chickens who are doing so well!!
 

EmmaRainboe

Songster
Jul 30, 2020
213
383
126
Bainbridge Island Washington
I'll definitely take an upper leg injury over dealing with MD any day of the week, frustrating as it is not to be able to help. I've had 2 with such injuries- the first was immobilized for weeks but healed up in such a way that she gets where she wants to go and is kept in a small friendly group - the other one had the same look as your video where the hock looks to kind of collapse downward. Both are clear injuries with no further deterioration beyond the initial symptoms, thankfully. She can get from place to place on her own but isn't nearly as mobile- about to see if I can rig her up a little wheelchair/walker type get up.
How long ago did your second girl get injured?
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
Sep 26, 2015
1,991
2,373
337
Portland OR
I'm sure she'll figure out how to get through with whatever you figure out. I'm sure you're doing amazing!
She was never a lovey dovey hen, but has finally figured out that I'm her personal servant so at least the hard pecks have stopped... literally biting the hand that feeds you and what not. :D
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom