To vaccinate or not????


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 30, 2010
I currently have hens from 8 months- over a year..... I do not know if they have been vaccinated for Marek's.... I have chicks as well in the same building that have NOT been vaccinated... I'm worried that it might sweep through my flock (have a sick chick in quarentine now-not sure what is wrong) and would like any of my chicks that hatch out from now on to be vaccinated but im afraid it is too late... how does this work....

If i vaccinate any day olds that hatch from now on, can they infect my flock that i currently have with the disease? Remember no one is currently vaccinated that i know of..... (my chicks for sure) im afraid i have made a big mistake here, I don't want to start my flock over as I have a lot invested and i don't want my older hens and a rooster to get sick... as i said it may be too late but I need to know soon because I have chicks hatching in a week and i need to locate some vaccine if that is the plan for them!

Your help is appreciated, i wish I had known about this before I ordered of bought anything but I didn't an no one I know vaccinates so i really had no clue. I just want to be a good mother hen!


9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
San Juan Islands, WA state
If you have ANY bird in your flock with Marek's, you must assume that the entire flock has been infected. Some will have symptoms, some may or may not die. Some may never show any symptoms, but will be carriers of the disease. You can vaccinate all of these older birds now, but if they already have Marek's, the only possible benefit from vaccination is that it may lessen the effects of the disease.

Going forward, any chicks that you hatch or purchase should be vaccinated. Just as importantly, you need to prevent integration of these chicks with the older birds until they are at least 5 months old, and take some other bio-security precautions so that you don't become a carrier of the disease. For example, while working with the MD infected birds, you can be picking up the shed virus on your hands, clothes, and shoes and transport that disease to your other birds. There's some good information at the USDA website on bio-security here: that you may find helpful.


10 Years
Jan 12, 2010
Anderson, CA
When my first chicken died I thouht the necropsy was wrong. 3 months later when the second one died and the necropsy said the same thing I went OH OH. I had 24 chicks just hatched, 5 I had bought that were about 4 months old, and a few from my remaining flock. I vaccinated all of them at that time, yound and old. I lost another since then, and I have one with the grey eye. Also one hen that just quit laying, I am thinking it may be from Marek's as well.

I would vaccinate them all, young and old and maybe you can stop it. And maybe you don't have it and that is even better.

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