Vaccinating my hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CarpCharacin, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2016
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I am entering all of my hens into the state fair. I want to vaccinate them for marek's. This vaccine https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail...PrX0CShoGDefftVFNuslOWgERxoC0hTw_wcB#tab-info says only to vaccinate 1 day old chicks only and I got my birsa this spring. Can I still vaccinate them? My flock is 7 hens only. What syringes should I use? How long does teh vaccine last after being opened because I might offer to vaccinate my neighbors chickens.
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Marek's is only effective on day old chicks. You can vaccinate them if you want - it's not going to hurt them - but it really isn't going to have any effect on them.
     
  3. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So you are saying that they can only get sick from marek's if they are 1 day old? I don't want them to get sick at the fair. Will the vaccine immunize them for when they are at the fair, or could they still get sick and die?
     
  4. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2016
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I read that the age of the hen doesn't matter as long as it hasn't been exposed to marek's before. So are you saying that the vaccine only works on 1 day old chicks (wrong) or that marek's only affects 1 day old chicks (also wrong)?
     
  5. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    The typical time for Marek's to strike is anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months, though 8-12 weeks is most common. If you got them in spring then they should be nearing six months which means they are unlikely to show symptoms even if they did contract it.

    The main issue here is that the birds are simply too old. The vaccine will not take in their bodies. Their systems aren't likely to even notice it. Antibodies are something built as young chicks; their bodies are no longer in that critical phase of building.

    Beyond that, the Marek's vaccine is very hit and miss. The vaccine itself is simply the turkey version of the Marek's virus. While it can't make chickens sick, it's close enough that their body recognized it and attempts to fight it by making antibodies. Note that 5% of birds, even when vaccinated, will not be protected, as their natural immune system simply isn't strong enough to fight off the disease. Also note that the vaccine does NOT prevent birds from contracting Marek's, only from showing symptoms. They can still carry and transmit it.
     
  6. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2016
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    They are my pets. Marek's isn't even in my state, but there are some birds from out of state at the fair. The birds are probably around 6 months old. It only stops them from showing symptoms? How does it do that?
     
  7. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2016
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Also, the smallpox vaccine for humans was developed from the cowpox virus and that makes humans immune to smallpox. It is the same with the turkey virus. Humans vaccinated for smallpox don't transmit the disease, even if they are exposed to it.
     
  8. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Like I said, the vaccine simply causes them to make antibodies in response to the turkey strain virus (which is similar enough to the chicken strain that the antibodies fight it off the same). The antibodies won't be strong enough to prevent the birds from contracting and even shedding the virus, but it offers enough protection that they are unlikely to actually show symptoms.


    Well last I checked chickens aren't humans. It's well known scientific fact that chickens vaccinated for Marek's can still spread it even though they show no symptoms. There's significant (but unfortunately infrequently discussed) concern regarding this fact, as its resulting in "hot strains" of Marek's - strains so deadly they'd usually kill an entire flock and die off before they can spread, now being propagated by vaccinated birds and having a much further reach than they normally would.
     
  9. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2016
    Salt Lake City, UT
    But do the birds always contract and or shed the virus?
     
  10. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Not 100% of the time. But they're very likely to. In many more cases they will become carriers than cases they won't.
     

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