What to do with the floor litter after Marek's Disease hen died here?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Carolyn252, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    Hi, I just lost two hens to what I think was probably Marek's Disease.

    The white splash Araucana died about four months ago. First one leg got weak, then unusable; then the wing on that side drooped and never got back to normal position. Then she stopped eating and drinking. I gave her food and water by teensy handfeeding and by eyedropperfuls. Carried her from nest to outdoor sunshine every day. Fed her antibiotic solutions and vitamins, but she finally just went to sleep and never woke up.

    The rust patterned EasterEgger started going blind about eight months ago, and then about three weeks ago rapidly lost the use of one leg, then the other, stopped eating and drinking. She was such a sweet and friendly girl. I nursed her and carried her into the sunshine and back, but she died this morning. Caring for her the past month was a daily labor of love as she had to be isolated to be protected from the two big meany Delaware hens. My black Marans was very caring and protective; tried to get between her and the Delawares whenever they started coming over to the EE.

    Well, I spent four hours this morning shoveling out all of the deep litter method's pine shavings from the little henhouse where she's been living in relative isolation for the past month. Filled up four HUGE contractor's plastic bags.

    I mixed up a strong solution of Oxine, added about two tablespoons of white vinegar, and sprayed the entire henhouse, and remaining part of the ChickArena's ground litter and the playhouse coop where the Delawares and Marans live (and where the EE lived until she started to show signs of being sick). (Did all that disinfectant spraying while the three hens were far away free ranging the big backyard.)

    I got the Delawares and the Marans, as adolescent point of lay pullets from different sources; backyard chickenkeepers, not hatcheries. I'm so hoping that they were vaccinated against Mareks when they were young chicks. I know that's not 100% effective, but still...

    Once a year, in early Spring, I start a new compost pile to sit and "cook" for twelve months, and then I put the fully "cooked" compost into the vegetable garden in late March/early April.

    Question is: Is it safe to compost these four bags of shavings that are loaded with poo from the sick hen, or should I burn it up in the outdoor fireplace?

    I'm thinking I better not put that stuff anywhere near where veggies will be grown, even though Marek's is not transferable to humans. Should I put it out at the curb for sanitation pickup? DH wants to use it as mulch under the bushes and shrubs around the property. (Not where chickens roam, but wild birds go there sometimes, and the wind could certainly blow lots of it to where the chickens free range.)

    Any advice?
  2. ericnash

    ericnash Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 13, 2011
    Do NOT use as compost. I would guess that the heat created from composting would kill the Mereks disease, but I would not take the risk. Burn the litter or throw it to the curb for garbage day.

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