Which breeds are most and least susceptible to marek's

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rcstanley, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. rcstanley

    rcstanley Chillin' With My Peeps

    265
    37
    116
    Aug 2, 2013
    Utah County, Utah
    Had a necropsy done on a hen I had to put down recently, it came back that she died from cocci, but also had marek's. My other hens are acting fine, so I've accepted that I will have to have a closed flock now.

    When I go to replace my layers next year, the new chicks will be exposed to the Marek's. I'm hoping to find out which breeds are most susceptible and which are most resistant to Marek's so I can give the new chickens the best chance.

    Here's what I've seen so far

    Most Susceptible:
    Silkies
    Sebrights

    Less Susceptible / More Resistant:
    Egyptians Fayoumis
    White Leghorns* [edited on 11/6/15]


    Any advice on breeds or best practices (maybe buy vaccinated chicks)?

    *From a random internet comment "For working on susceptibility - some research states that the B21 gene may indicate some resistance. white leghorns are supposedly more resistant than RIRs and since most sexlinks contain RIR genetics, they are some of the ones that have vulnerability. "
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    19,602
    7,640
    546
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Turkeys carry a strain of Mareks that is less lethal to chickens. If I were in your shoes, I'd strongly consider getting a few turkey poults and raising them alongside the chicks. Or if you know anyone who has turkeys, see if you can get some used litter from them to put in your coop/run. From my understanding, the vaccine does not keep your birds from catching the disease, merely prevents the complications that accompany the disease (tumors and such) from killing the birds. So, in reality, the vaccine can mask the presence of the disease. Unless you plan to vaccinate every chick you buy, IMO the vaccine will not solve the problem. Any birds in your flock that are not vaccinated, and do not show active signs of disease, those are the ones you want to hatch chicks from to work on building your own flock of Marek resistant birds.
     
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,183
    258
    211
    Jul 18, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    My answer comes from reading only, but from what I have read certain lines within a breed are more resistant than others. Other than trial and error not sure how you would find out.
     
  4. rcstanley

    rcstanley Chillin' With My Peeps

    265
    37
    116
    Aug 2, 2013
    Utah County, Utah
    I can't have roosters though, so I can't raise my own resistant strain, so my goal is having laying hens that don't die :)

    I don't think I can have turkeys either. The idea with the turkey litter is interesting, I'll have to do research and see if I can find someone with turkeys
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    ALL BIRDS!!

    Wild or domestic catch Mereks.....Water fowl no.........Brought into our yards from Birds........No breed is safe...


    Cheers!
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,886
    2,537
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    When you can not close flock by breeding your own replacements, then I would get vaccinated replacements assuming vaccination covers Mareks strain your flock suffers from.

    My closed flock is not vaccinated. Most losses are of young birds with none infected more than 16 months old. A big chunk of my birds are older than that. I am probably averaging less than one in a hundred birds coming down with this each year. For me outbreaks / infections (usually singular) are seasonal occurring in fall.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,742
    2,277
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Your best bet is to buy vaccinated chicks and isolate them for the two weeks or so that they need to develop immunity. I would avoid Silkies, and stick with other breeds. Fayoumis are very cute! Raising your own birds won't be possible without roosters, and trying to 'breed for resistance' only works with large numbers of birds, because there will be losses, and of course many cockerels. Not very useful for your situation. Getting birds from another infected flock may just bring in another strain (maybe worse) of Marek's, not a good choice either. Mary
     
    alfy04 likes this.
  8. rcstanley

    rcstanley Chillin' With My Peeps

    265
    37
    116
    Aug 2, 2013
    Utah County, Utah
    I had wondered about hatching eggs in an incubator from a flock being bred for Marek's resistance since the virus doesn't spread to the eggs, but like you say, no guarantee they're being bred to fight the same strain of Marek's.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,886
    2,537
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    If hatching eggs from flock nearby, then that should increase odds same strain at play.
     
  10. thormanw

    thormanw Just Hatched

    10
    2
    14
    Jul 10, 2016
    Have you checked into Icelandic?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by