Purchasing chicks from different sources

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
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I'm not sure what's meant by 'leaky'. I have both vaccinated and unvaccinated birds in my flock, and have both hatchery chicks who are vaccinated, and home bred chicks who aren't, every year. So far I don't have Marek's disease in my flock, but if it arrives, my vaccinated birds should be able to live better, and the unvaccinated individuals are more likely to develop tumors.
Vaccinated birds don't spread disease from the vaccine!!!
Any bird who does have the disease will spread it, vaccinated or not. The goal, and best thing, is to avoid having the disease infect your flock. That's about biosecurity, buying carefully, and good luck.
Mary
 

igorsMistress

Crossing the road barefoot.
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Where have you heard that it can be leaky? Any links?

 

igorsMistress

Crossing the road barefoot.
Premium member
6 Years
Apr 9, 2013
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I'm not sure what's meant by 'leaky'. I have both vaccinated and unvaccinated birds in my flock, and have both hatchery chicks who are vaccinated, and home bred chicks who aren't, every year. So far I don't have Marek's disease in my flock, but if it arrives, my vaccinated birds should be able to live better, and the unvaccinated individuals are more likely to develop tumors.
Vaccinated birds don't spread disease from the vaccine!!!
Any bird who does have the disease will spread it, vaccinated or not. The goal, and best thing, is to avoid having the disease infect your flock. That's about biosecurity, buying carefully, and good luck.
Mary
Marek's can be spread by birds, rodents, the wind...your vaccinated birds can still get sick, they just won't show symptoms but can shed the disease and you'd never know it...or they might. As long as a bird with the disease is alive it sheds virus in dander. So the cute little sparrows and doves that visit every feeding hole around you can bring it if another person has an infected flock. It's not necessarily that you don't have good biosecurity measures, but what about the people around you?
 

Nksg75

Songster
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Aug 18, 2014
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I would ask if the chicks are vaccinated, specifically for Marek's. If one batch is and the other isn't, I wouldn't mix them. If they all are or are not then it won't matter.
I agree with what igorsmistress says.
After sending off a hen to Texas A&M nercropsy I spoke with the dr in charge there and he did tell me that vaccine can be leaky.
I will have to find the articles I have read that mention this.
Regardless of this, most TSC don’t pay the extra $ to have them vaccinated. (I say most, always make sure!)
 

Ridgerunner

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Feb 2, 2009
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The best I can tell "leaky" is talking about if a chicken is vaccinated it can still get the disease and spread it, but will not die. The way I read that first linked article it implies that all chickens that get Marek's will die and stop spreading the disease. That's not true, Marek's rarely kills or cripples a majority of a flock. Many birds in a infected flock will live and do well, yet they also have it and can spread it. If a flock has Marek's they are all leaky, whether they are vaccinated or not.

Thanks for the links @igorsMistress I thought they may be talking about a new vaccine. I don't think so. It looks like it is still the Turkey Marek's. They vaccinate the chicks with turkey Marek's when they are babies and before they come into contact with any chickens that may be infected with Marek's. It takes a few weeks for the turkey Marek's to take effect so the chicks need to stay isolated from other chickens for a while. Getting chick's vaccinated would not work for me because my brooder is in the coop and the chicks immediately come into contact with my adults. That doesn't even consider the broody-raised chicks.

Since they use Turkey Marek's the vaccine does not give them Marek's and does not make them carriers. They cannot infect any other chicken because of the vaccine. The only way they can get Marek's is from a different source.

Whether or not a chicken is vaccinated, if they come into contact with a chicken Marek's virus, they can become infected and become carriers. If they have been vaccinated they will not develop the lesions that cause the harm. If they have not been vaccinated some will develop lesions, some will not. That's a point that many people miss. Many chickens that contract Marek's never show any symptoms and continue to thrive. Some flocks have a high tolerance for Marek's. Some people with Marek's in their flock breed the survivors in an attempt to develop a flock highly resistant to the effects of Marek's.

I personally never vaccinate for Marek's. Knowing what is involved and with the way I raise them it would do no good. I practice a closed flock and have never had any cases of Marek's. If I ever get Marek's in my flock I'll have some decisions to make. Do I stop using broody hens, use an incubator or mail order chicks and vaccinate them, and brood them in strict isolation from the flock to give the vaccine time to take effect. Or do I live with it, cull the ones that develop symptoms, and try to breed a more Marek's resistant flock. In my opinion there are cases where vaccinating makes sense.

@Organic Gal I hope all this has not scared you off from trying chickens. Any time you deal with living animals you run the risk of disease, parasites, or predators whether that is chickens, horses, cats, or goldfish. To me that does not mean you should avoid them but the more you can learn about what the risks are and how to manage them the better.

Hoover is an established hatchery. I'd consider their chicks as safe as any you can get. I don't know if Hoover automatically vaccinates their chicks for Marek's. Most hatcheries don't. It costs money to vaccinate the chicks and hatcheries generally charge extra for that.

Good luck and enjoy the experience.
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
18,007
24,018
906
southern Michigan
Well said, as usual. I said the same thing, in many fewer words, and apparently wasn't clear enough. If Marek's disease ever hits my flock, I WANT the vaccinated birds to do better! Depending on how severe the strain is, some or more than a few of my unvaccinated birds will develop tumors, not a good thing.
People with infected flocks should keep closed flocks, and not share their birds with anyone else.
When and if a better vaccine comes along, that will be wonderful. Until then, it's the best we have.
Mary
 
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