You have the option at checkout to add Marek's vaccination to any of your newly hatched chickies. When you select to add Marek's vaccination, the chickies are vaccinated on the day of hatch. Ducks, Geese, Turkeys, and Guineas are not susceptible to the Marek's virus and do not get vaccinated. The decision is whether or not to vaccinate your baby chickies only.
Once vaccinated, baby chickies should be kept separated from the rest of your flock or areas with wild birds for at least 7-14 days, so that they can develop increased immunity to Marek's. If you care for both older chickens and baby chicks, you should wear different clothing, shoes and shower between visiting both sets of birds. Try to take care of the little chickies first, then the older ones.
Even though the chickies are vaccinated, if they encounter the Marek's virus in their environment, they may still contract the disease. Vaccination does not mean that they will not get Marek's, just that they will probably not die from Marek's, and their symptoms are typically less severe than without the vaccination.
There are many different strains of the Marek's virus, and the vaccine we use is the one most commonly given to chickens, Turkey HVT. Chickens cannot contract the Marek's disease from the vaccine, only from their environment.
If they do encounter the Marek's virus in their environment, the vaccine will help them to fight it off, but it will not stop them from contracting the disease. It may help to lessen the severity of the disease, and prevent death and tumors, depending upon the strain of the Marek's virus encountered. It is important to know that even though the birds are vaccinated, if they contract Marek's disease, you may still have flock losses of 10-50% or greater...depending upon the strain of the virus. The vaccine is only effective against about 80% of the viral strains in the environment. If the chickies encounter a more virulent strain of Mareks, the losses can be more significant.
The Marek's virus is an airborne virus spread by wild birds and infected dander / dust, and can travel almost 2-3 miles, it is believed to be in almost all environments and every outdoor poultry flock. Most poultry experts and most veterinarians recommend that chickies receive the vaccine either in ovo or at hatch. You can decide what is best for you and your flock.
Remember: Vaccination for Marek’s is not a guarantee that the chicken will not get Marek’s disease, but it has been a very effective vaccination.
We strive to do everything here at the farm to make sure the chickies you receive are happy and healthy.
At the farm, we choose to vaccinate all of our chickies for Marek's. Any bird that you receive from us that is running around the farm is already vaccinated. The choice is only for baby chickies that we ship to you through the mail.
Before we care for babies on the farm, we shower, wear separate brooder room shoes and clothes. The brooder room has a high tech Novatek HEPA Air Scrubber filtration system installed. Between hatches we completely sanitize all brooders and the room with Activated Oxine, VirkonS and UV lights. For our older chickies, we regularly leave the coops empty for 30 days between hatches so we can adequately clean and sanitize them with VirkonS and Activated Oxine. We also start testing the birds onsite for Marek's at 6-8 weeks of age monthly.
If you decide to add older coop ready or starter pullets from our farm, remember that they are outdoor birds. We love to have them outside in large coops and runs to enjoy the sunshine, bugs, dirt, plants. But once chickies are outside and not in a sterile environment, they can encounter viruses, including the Marek's virus. If you have other chickens at home that are not vaccinated, you may not want to bring vaccinated birds into your flock. Birds that are vaccinated for Marek's can appear healthy, but still carry the disease.
This is a good article on Marek's from the American Poultry Association that I like to refer people to.