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Post Marek's Disease Questions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PsychoChicken, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. PsychoChicken

    PsychoChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi All,

    I recently lost two 8-month-old hens to what I am thinking might have been Marek's Disease. I have 3 hens remaining whom I bought seperately from these two and they are about 1.5 years old now. They seem happy and healthy.

    I am wondering how I can go about replacing the 2 that I lost. They free-ranged so the whole yard is contaminated and I read it can last for years, plus now my 3 remaining birds have been exposed so they could be carriers.

    Should I just avoid buying young birds and only buy 1+ year old birds that have been vaccinated?

    What are other people's experiences?

    In case you are wondering about the 2 birds who died and their symptoms, you can read about them here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...and-limp-pictures-please-help/30#post_8622801

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  2. PsychoChicken

    PsychoChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone know??
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    From this point forward you will need to only bring in vaccinated birds. You can still get chicks, but get them vaccinated prior to arrival on your property. The remaining hens are probably carriers and will likely eventually die from the Marek's tumors unless they are naturally resistant to it. Any chicks that are hatched on your property will also become infected unless they are vaccinated immediately after hatching. And I do mean immediately. A few days later is not soon enough and may not offer the protection needed. Once vaccinated, the birds should be fully protected against Marek's from 3-5 days after vaccine administration.

    There is work going on to find a Marek's resistant strain of birds, but I don't know how far along that process is. Hopefully in the not-so-distant-future Marek's will be bred out of poultry permanently.

    I hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  4. PsychoChicken

    PsychoChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My older hens may have been vaccinated. I am going to ask the guy I bought them from.

    Thanks for your reply.

    Such a nasty disease.
     
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Which is why it is in the process of being eradicated. We are still years away from that, but it is something to look forward to.

    Good luck with your older girls.
     
  6. ChickenJerk

    ChickenJerk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dr. Witter, as the foremost authority on MDV, has expressed his doubts about ever breeding a bird that is totally resistant to the constantly changing pathogen.

    Certainly some strains/breeds are more resistant to common MDV than others but the virus can change so fast that it is like hitting a bunch of jets at supersonic speed with a pea shooter, and only one pea.

    There is virtually no way that chickens can avoid becoming infected with MDV. And all chickens over a few days old should be considered carriers. The symptoms of the disease can only be delayed by vaccination. Even when vaccinated for the sub types the bird contracts it will, sooner or later kill them.
     
  7. PsychoChicken

    PsychoChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is what I don't understand about it. Are all of our chickens doomed then? How much do I need to worry about bringing in new birds?
     
  8. toddreed

    toddreed Out Of The Brooder

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    I too have lost a couple birds to what I think may have been Marek's, but I don't know for sure. I also lost one to bloated belly which could have been caused by a couple different things. I've replaced them with new birds. My flock is now 24 strong and doing well.

    Man, there are so many differing opinions about this sort of thing. All the research I've done on Mareks and other chicken illnesses doesn't really produce a definite set of rules or, just vague suggestions, and when you don't know for sure that Mareks was the culprit in the first place, it's hard to know what do do really.

    My two cents? Darwinism has served life on planet earth pretty well for the last 2.7 billion years. Humans trying to control life by breeding and managing it just stands in the way. A simple, probably quite affective, if not at least easy to implement solution to any disease is to let it take it's course and let the survivors board "noahs arc". If Mareks was the culprit with the two birds I mentioned, the rest of my flock are healthy and showing no signs, so maybe they are resistant to it. I could be wrong, but what else am i going to do?

    My suggestion? Get some new chickens, vaccinated ones would be a good idea. Relieve yourself of guilt about the death of your birds and move on and hope for the best. And ask yourself this - if you were a chicken would you rather be a foster farm chicken, living your entire short life in square-foot steel cage, only to be slaughtered in a factory, or would you like to be in a back yard like yours or mine, scratching and pecking, but living with the potential risk of contracting an illness like Mareks? I'd choose the latter any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    -todd
     
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I would suggest getting vaccinated day old hatchery chicks, or hatching your own in an incubator and vaccinating, or, find an older rooster who's probably resistant with age, and get fertile eggs from your chickens, and the chicks most likely will have resistance.

    Mine are all exposed. I have to vaccinate.
    And do not take a feed store's advice on if they are selling vaccinated chicks. They probably aren't
     
  10. PsychoChicken

    PsychoChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone. I am not looking to get chicks because I don't want to worry about my cats taking them out. I just want to get some young laying hens. I guess I will just try to find some that have been vaccinated and hope for the best!
     

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