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#14105 - 12/08/08 12:41 PM A question about Marek's Disease
Kerry Offline

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 54
Loc: California
I have adopted two 4 month old pullets. Went to a vet to clip wing's of one of the girls and she asked if they'd been vaccinated for Marek's and Pox. I had the neighbor who first owned the hens contact the hatchery he had bought them from and he was told that none of the chicks had been vaccinated because he hadn't asked that they be -- of course, he didn't have a clue about chickens in the first place and had been relying on the hatchery to tell him what was necessary.

So, I'm wondering, since my two are now at risk, if there's anything one can do but just wait and see if Marek's turns up? Is there a time limit on when it could appear, or could it simply pop up one day in the future? Since finding the girls hadn't been vaccinated, have been trying to get a hold of the vet but she's away this week and of course I'm anxious to know how much I should be worrying. frown

#14106 - 12/08/08 10:06 PM Re: A question about Marek's Disease
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
Too late to worry, so don't=-what will be, will be.
Chicks must be vaccinated at hatch, for Marek's i mmunity. It is assumed that most/many birds will be exposed as soon as they arrive at new homes--and later first vaccination is not a recommendation. It is a waste, if the bird has been exposed--(we don't know this, as symptoms may not show for two weeks at the earliest and years at the most). To purchase the vaccine (with needle and diluent) will cost$35-55, by mail, hardly cost effective for a pure chance vaccination. The vaccine is freeze dried on arrival and once mixed, keeps only an hour. Small doses are not available. The tablet, when reconsituted in diluent, would vaccinate 1000 to 1500 so use some, even for one chick, but seldom have more than a dozen or so to vaccinate at any time--and my birds selll for a lot more than hatchery chicks. I keep the freeze dried tablet in the fridge for 4 hatches over sometimes several months. Opened diluent does not always keep, even refrigerated, so I purchase extra bottles.And I keep extra needles on hand, also.

There is no time limit when it can occur. If they have been exposed (and certainly all bird are not--some people have never seen it), it could show symptoms any any age. Or sudden death is sometimes the only symptom one will see!

So, again, not to worry, we just keep learning. There is no book that tells all, and we could not remember everything it said anyway as our chicks grow into old birds and spend their lives with us. Experience is often the best, and bad ones send us to research and find solutions.

Do your own research ahead , if you can. But we can't anticipate a lot of things! Hatcheries sell chicks, feed stores sell feed. They do not always know other answers--even if asked. Feed store help often have never kept chickens, but are great strong backs to load feed in our trucks! And they have "salesmen" to help sell stuff! They are not vets and sometimes cannot tell you what meds they have or what they are for! You have to know what to ask for. They can tell you what is on the label of the feed you purchase, but not which is the best for YOUR birds. You must read the label and choose. Same with chicks. You choose and then will receive what you ask for (usually). No more. And while I truly appreciate all the info that is posted here and have learned a LOT--I do sift it and reject some that doesn't fit my experience or goals. Enjoy your poultry and observe them all you can--their voices, interaction, free activity, will teach you much.

I like chickens! CJR

#14107 - 12/09/08 08:43 AM Re: A question about Marek's Disease
Kerry Offline

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 54
Loc: California
Thanks so much CJR -- I'll stop worrying and just hope for the best. The two girls seem just fine and full of life and curiosity and are a real kick!

I thoroughly agree with you that people should do their research ahead as much as possible before taking on an animal of any sort, and actually was starting my research and planning with the intention of getting a few newborn chicks next spring....I had gotten to know and love the flock of chickens living next door this past year -- they all came to spend the days in my yard thru the missing slats in the fence between houses -- or I herded them into safety from the street sometimes. The owner next door just let them out into the world every day where there were cars, dogs, and many other dangers (left them open to raccoon and foxes often at night too). I encouraged the chickens (there were about 20 of them a few months ago) to hang out in my yard. So once most of the chickens were massacred and the neighbor decided he wasn't much good at having chickens (you don't say!!!!), I jumped in to take two pullets and the rooster (who has since gone to another home due to his loud voice at 4 am but also because roosters are illegal in my area).

I've been so glad to find this forum because as you might have noticed, I've had a lot of questions that I needed to get answered quickly once I took these two on. As you said, you get different info, sometimes good and sometimes not so good, from different places -- I have just gone around questioning everyone I run across from vet to feed store to the forum and books. Have to admit that the most weight goes to people like you who really have the experience. So I'm real glad you're there and don't mind answering questions!

You all have been so helpful -- everything has been working out fine with the good advice I've been getting, and I'm certainly learning a lot on the fly. Perhaps I'll be ready to expand my coop one day and add a few more hens! I like chickens, too! smile

#14108 - 12/20/08 01:17 PM Re: A question about Marek's Disease

In regards to Marek's Disease in Poultry,it is only administered at hatching and has no benefit given any later in thae bird's life? Do most responsible breeders of poultry,vaccinate for this disease at hatching? Should one asked the question before purchasing any stock? I suppose that question automatically is answered with a yes! Any comments appreciated. Thanks...

#14109 - 12/20/08 02:21 PM Re: A question about Marek's Disease
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
It is not a requirement and several people ask that the birds not be vaccinated for Marek's. I personally do not do it, however I know of others that vaccinate for it.


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