Vaccinating the unvaccinated

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Mar 3, 2018
I'll be getting three new girls in a few weeks to join my two old girls and the Silent Rooster. They are coming unvaccinated from a home farm. I intend to keep them quarantined for a month, but I am definitely pro-vax. Will it be too late to vax for Mareks? What about other diseases?


(Oh, and this isn't a pro-vax/anti-vax question. I am adamantly provax and you won't change my mind.)

Thank you!
It very much depends on whether they have already been exposed to the Marek's virus and if not (you will be unable to tell anyway unless the breeder confesses to it which is unlikely to happen) you can keep them from being exposed to the virus for 3 weeks after you vaccinate, to give the vaccine a chance to work ie practice good biosecurity. The Marek's virus is like the Herpes virus in humans in that it goes through dormant periods during which they can appear perfectly healthy. Outbreaks of the disease are usually triggered by stress. What stresses one bird may not stress another. Surge of hormones at adolescence, moulting, moving home etc are some of the potential triggers. It usually takes a minimum of 3 weeks after exposure to the virus before a bird can show symptoms, but the dormant period can be significantly longer. So birds could theoretically pass a 4 week quarantine period, look healthy and still be infected with Marek's..... it is a complicated disease to understand.
Basically, vaccinating them at that stage is a lottery. You may waste time and money vaccinating birds that have already been infected or maybe even have natural immunity. You are aware that the vaccine is sold in 1000 dose batches and needs to be kept chilled and goes off very quickly once you mix the components to activate it, so it is not exactly a cost effective process for a few birds.

I understand that there is a coccidiosis vaccine but with them being older birds they should be less at risk so you may be better to have some Corid on hand to treat them if necessary rather than vaccinate when they have most likely developed resistance to it.

I don't know about other vaccines.

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