Quick Question before I order my chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Juniper148, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Juniper148

    Juniper148 Out Of The Brooder

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    I was just getting ready to order my first ever batch of chicks and at checkout it asks me if I want marek's or coccidiosis vaccine. I've pretty much ruled out cocci, but what about marek's? Is this something my chicks are at risk for? I live in Iowa, if that matters.
     
  2. Twistedfeather

    Twistedfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Marek's is fairly common so if it's not too inconvenient or too expensive than go ahead and do it, knowing that sometimes it doesn't always work. Marek's is so common in fact that many people safely assume that your flock has it. But the virus is dormant (like shingles in people) and stress, and things of natural causes can cause it. If the hen has high antibody level it could pass it on to her offspring for a few days but for the first three weeks of life it's important to not raise chicks with or near adult birds because we know as a principal idea that a lot of adult chickens carry the dormant virus.

    Hope you have good luck with your chicks, what breed(s) are you looking at? Welcome to BYC by the way
     
  3. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi & [​IMG] I lost birds to Mareks in the past and it's terrible. It's a cheap vaccine and I think totally worth it. I vaccinate all my 4 day old chicks with Cocci Vac and have been really impressed with the vaccine.
     
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  4. Juniper148

    Juniper148 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm going for a colorful basket, so I got a mix of things. 3 crested polish of varying colors, 3 silver wyandottes, 2 buff orpingtons, 4 welsummers (st run, so some will be roo's), 3 easter eggers, and 1 free surprise rare herritage something or other. Debating on whether I want the "free surprise". I have takers for the welsummer roos, but my luck will be the surprise is a roo that no one wants. I've also found two breeders for cream legbars and black copper marans I'm considering.
     
  5. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hope you get more pullets than Roos.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Vaccinations are a personal decision. When it hits, Marek’s is horrible. Before I ordered my first chicks here to get a start, I spoke with an expert that is on the team that investigates chicken diseases in this area. I found him through my county extension agent. He said that there had been one reported case of Marek’s in my county during the previous two years and that was many miles away. Not all cases are reported, of course, but that did not sound as if the risk was overwhelming. In some areas of the country it is. It would have cost me a minimum lump sum $10 to get my chicks vaccinated so I used that money to get five more chicks, 28 instead of 23.

    They use the Turkey Marek’s virus to vaccinate chickens. It does not prevent Marek’s but it prevents the tumors that cause the problems. The tumors may grow where they cripple the bird so badly it can’t get to food or water so it dies of starvation or thirst. They may grow on an internal organ and eventually kill the bird directly. When it hits it really is horrible. Normally Marek’s does not wipe out the entire flock, often many birds survive, but the number of birds per flock it affects can vary widely.

    Since the vaccine does not prevent Marek’s it is still possible for the bird to have Marek’s and be a carrier, infecting other birds, while showing no symptoms. Once Marek’s is in your flock, it is always in your flock. It is spread very easily, just dander flying on the wind can spread it.

    Vaccinating the chicks does not make them carriers since the turkey virus is not for chickens. If they are vaccinated you need to keep them away from other chickens for a couple of weeks so the vaccine takes effect before they are potentially exposed to chicken Marek’s. That’s something else that factored into my thinking. I let broody hens hatch and raise chicks with the flock. Even if I vaccinated those chicks myself it would be too late.

    There are several different strains of protozoa that can cause Coccidiosis. The vaccine only protects against a few of those. Once the chicks are exposed to one of those strains they develop immunity to that strain within two to three weeks, but that does not give them immunity to other strains. If you get them vaccinate for Cocci, don’t feed them medicated feed or give them antibiotics for about three weeks or you could negate the vaccine.

    The protozoa that causes Cocci lives in the ground. It thrives in warm moist areas like the Gulf Coast but can be found about anywhere. Having a few of those protozoa in the chick’s system is not a bad thing, it will give them immunity, but if the numbers of that protozoa get out of hand it can be fatal. Since it thrives in warm moist soil, most Cocci outbreaks are connected to wet brooders, wet coops, or possibly wet runs, but some strains ae stronger than others and don’t need a lot of moisture to be a problem.

    Some people use medicated feed to reduce the risk of Cocci. If the medicine in medicated feed is Amprolium, and it almost always is, it is not an antibiotic. It is a thiamine blocker that reduces the reproduction of the Cocci bug in their system. That gives them a better chance of developing that immunity instead of being overwhelmed with the bug. That does not mean you can have a wet brooder or coop though. In a wet brooder they can still be overwhelmed. It is also important that you change the water regularly. Dirty water is very dangerous.

    I do not vaccinate mine for Cocci. I give them dirt from the run to introduce that bug (and give them any probiotics the adults may offer as well as introduce grit) and keep the brooder dry. By the time they hit the ground, they already have any immunity they need to my strain of Cocci.

    Whether or not you vaccinate is a personal decision. Part of that may be how you manage your chickens and part is how precious they are to you. Hopefully this will give you some information so you can make an informed decision.

    Good luck and welcome to the adventure.
     
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