ugh! What to do?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by yomama, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. yomama

    yomama Overrun With Chickens

    So I have a problem that I can't quite decide on, and I am just curious as to peoples thoughts. One of my original 4 hens that I got in 2009 had to be euthanized due to Marek's disease. It was confirmed through a necropsy at the Avian Vet. These original 4 hens that I got in 2009 were purchased as adults, and me being a newbie, didn't think about Marek's disease. The other 3 passed due to illness and predators, but not Marek's. In my quest for answers about Marek's disease, I contacted the Dep of Ag here and he said that where I live has a very high rate of the disease. Anyway, since then, and on the reccomondation of my vet, I have only bought chicks from hatcheries that have been vaccinated, with the exception of my Silkies. Due to the Silkies being so small, the hatchery would not vaccinate them. So I took my chances. I ordered the vaccine and vaccinated them myself as soon as I picked them up from the post office. So far, they are ok, and that was a year ago. My dilema is, I would really love to be able to hatch/raise my own chicks. I guess I could collect fertile eggs, and hatch them myself. I would have to purchase an incubator. But I was wondering, does anyone hatch out chicks of their own, knowing that Marek's is a possibility on their property? Part of me keeps thinking that it almost seems irresponsible, like letting a dog have pups on a property that has Parvo or Distemper. Unfortunately, I know way more about dogs, than I do chickens. If one were to hatch out chicks on a Marek's positive property, is it pretty much a death sentence for the chicks? I can't seem to find any info that gives me, for example, percentage of chicks that would or could get the disease, and or show symptoms.

    I know that many chickens can carry the virus and not show signs. I also know that the vaccine does not keep them from getting the disease, it just keeps them from coming down with the symptoms. Please, I don't intend this to be a discussion of whether to vaccinate or not, just to get an idea of how big of a risk it would be to hatch out chicks on a Marek's positive property. Again, this is in no way meant to offend people that do not or don't believe in vaccinating. Guess I just need a sounding board, or a voice of reason. [​IMG] Hope this all makes sense, lol.
    Thanks
     
  2. Americana

    Americana Chillin' With My Peeps

    286
    4
    123
    Mar 19, 2010
    Dunnellon, Florida
    According to the Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow, Mareks virus kills more chickens than any other disease.

    It is so common, you can safely assume your flock is infected, even if no symptoms are shown!

    Stress due to crowding, moving, or even the natural process of maturing can weaken a flock's immunity, causing an outbreak of the dormant virus!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  3. Americana

    Americana Chillin' With My Peeps

    286
    4
    123
    Mar 19, 2010
    Dunnellon, Florida
    The virus is not transmitted by means of hatching eggs. In fact, a newly hatched chick is briefly proctected if its dam transmits a high antibody level through her eggs.

    Chicks that are isolated until the age of 5 months develop a natural immunity that helps them overcome exposure to Marek's virus as adults.

    Some chicken strains are genetically more resistant than others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  4. Americana

    Americana Chillin' With My Peeps

    286
    4
    123
    Mar 19, 2010
    Dunnellon, Florida
    So hatch away! This stupid Marek's virus is everywhere!

    I have hatched too many to count, but I can count how many I have lost to Marek's on one hand, so go for it! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  5. yomama

    yomama Overrun With Chickens

    Thank you so much for the reply. So how do I let a hen hatch eggs, but keep the chicks isolated till 5 months? Or are you saying to hatch them per incubator, or remove chicks from mama hen once hatched? Sorry if I sound dumb, just not wrapping my brain around it. I'm really excited at the idea of being able to hatch my own [​IMG].
     
  6. Americana

    Americana Chillin' With My Peeps

    286
    4
    123
    Mar 19, 2010
    Dunnellon, Florida
    Quote:I don't have an incubator, I just use my broodies. Sometimes I take them away as they hatch and brood them myself, sometimes I let mama raise them.

    You can let mama hatch and take care of the chicks and just keep her and her babies away from the rest of the flock for the 5 months.

    It is very exciting! I've got some hens being broody now and have saved 15 eggs to hatch! [​IMG]

    Good luck!
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    16,271
    778
    406
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    I agree, If you have a broody go for it and if not incubate the eggs. Good luck and have fun... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by