Who gets their chicks vaccinated...
Why or why not
Answer poll then comment you opinions below
As a general rule we do not vaccinate any of our farm animals. We raise sheep, pigs and chickens and have not vaccinated, and have always had healthy animals.
However last year we lost about 10 young hens that were hatched on farm. None of my other hens were showing symptoms or dying, only the home hatched. After a lot of research we determined that it was Mareks. We also learned that most all chicks from the local farm store or hatchery are vaccinated for Mareks and Newcastle, some even treat chicks for coccidiosis before shipping. We had Mareks in our flock, but never knew it because 90% of our flock were hatchery chicks that had been vaccinated. There is an extremely high mortality rate with Mareks. Vaccinated chickens can still carry and spread Mareks, but do not develop symptoms or dye. We have about 100 chickens that free range 6 acres. I've been reading that once Mareks is in the soil it can sit there for many years and continue to infect chickens. So now we have a conundrum... to vaccinate or not to vaccinate ... hatch chicks at home, or only get them from hatcheries that vaccinate. Seems like vaccinating is our only option, but this feels like a treadmill that we will be stuck on forever.
In the meantime, we had a rouge hen that hatched 14 chicks in the bushes. They are now 7 months old and appear healthy and show no signs of Mareks. Maybe a few will survive and start to build an immunity to Mareks that they can pass on to future generations. Or maybe they just haven't gotten infected yet.
Anyone have any experience with Mareks?