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Author Topic: Mareks  (Read 1731 times)

Husker2055

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Mareks
« on: February 26, 2016, 11:31:45 AM »
Hello to everyone!

I'd like to get folks thoughts on Mareks disease. I'd like to know if anyone has experienced it or maybe know someone that has and what steps they taken or took to rid themselves of this problem. All input will be appreciated . If you don't want to post please feel free to contact me at 918-577-8803 or my email -bcs74450@yahoo.com .  Thank you
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 11:42:19 AM by Brad Stonebarger »

HarryS

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2016, 02:59:56 PM »
Brad,  I personally do not vaccinate.  I would prefer to breed genetically to eliminate any susceptibility to any condition or disease.
Harry Shaffer

Husker2055

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2016, 03:52:06 PM »
Thank you very much for your input .

Birdcrazy

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 04:38:43 PM »
Brad, If you have Mareks you will know. Symptoms are either dragging a leg or droopy dragging wings. Birds usually only live 1-3 days after signs of the disease and nothing you can do will save the bird. There is another form of Mareks which effect the eyes. Mareks disease is highly contagious with losses in the 35-75% range. The best thing you can do if it is in part of your flock, quarantine them and get them away from the rest of your flock. Let it run it's course, cremate or dispose of dead birds and hope for survivors. As Harry said there is thought on the subject that some birds are natural immune to Mareks. This could account for why some survive and other birds in the flock never show symptoms or die. In my case I bought 40 chicks one spring, after 3-4 months I started seeing symptoms and dead birds. I had no clue what was going on until I did some investigating and research. Unfortunately my case resulted in the 75% range of losses. I did have sense enough to quarantine the bought chicks from my other birds which helped immensely cutting losses in my flock of breeders and show birds. I did see a pattern on deaths from Mareks. Hardest hit were the Ameraucana bantams followed by Old English Bantams, LF Ameraucana, then my Wyandotte bantams being the least effected. Perhaps this was due to natural immunity.

I did not vaccinate any birds that year, just let it run it's course and quarantine heavily and dispose of dead birds. The next 3 years I vaccinated all my day old chicks (no adult birds) and had close to 100% no losses. I got brave 2 years ago and did not vaccinate my last hatching for a test. Results were no birds showing signs of Mareks. Last year I did not vaccinate any at all and did not have any birds getting Mareks. In doing research on Mareks I did come across one article where the person experiencing Mareks thought going over a winter kill cycle would stop the issue. The expert writing the article said Mareks can stay in the soil and rebound no matter the weather conditions for over a year and a half. That was one reason I started vaccinating chicks and hope those that did not die had natural immunity(adult birds). That has been my experience with Mareks and I would not wish it on anyone. It is horrible watching 100% of birds die that show symptoms and nothing you can do to save those birds. Living on the edge hoping it doesn't spread to your breeding and show birds.
Gordon Gilliam

Husker2055

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 06:06:57 PM »
Thank you Birdcrazy .  I appreciate your input . We think we possibly could have it . Not 100% sure . Sounds to me like if someone did have it  vaccinating  chicks would  definitely pay off . Also I would think if a person wanted to that they could cull the breeder birds , as heart breaking as it is , and start over after a few years time . Again I appreciate your thoughts on the matter .

Don

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2016, 08:07:15 PM »
Brad,   In the opinion of many folks the various forms of this infection make it very difficult to confirm without a lab analysis.  The symptoms are numerous from eyes to limbs like Gordon mentioned, and from acute to very small numbers of birds infected or showing symptoms.  Also the virus seems to have mutated such that some of the original vaccines aren't always effective against all forms.  We even had one state vet tell a breeder that the vaccine was for the strains usually contacted by commercial flocks and that small hobby flocks contacted another form.  I can't confirm this rumor.  I guess there is so much unknown out there that it makes it difficult to know for sure if its worth the cost and effort to vaccinate.  Most small breeders hatch in relatively small numbers over a long period of time.  So you have to purchase and keep the vaccine over a long period of time.   Wiki says there is a vaccine that you can treat eggs as you move them from the incubator to hatcher.  This would reduce the work of handling individuals and injections of each chick.     

Many folks vaccinate for it religiously for Marek's and several other infections.  Paul has a very intensive vaccination program.  Others feel that it's best to breed birds that have some resistance to these infections.  You have to weigh the info with your experience and decide how you want to handle your flock. Years ago we used to vaccinate for Pox.  Last year was the first year I had heard of anyone having an issue with that in decades.  Sorry this does not give you a better answer but it is what I have gathered over many years of raising and listening to others about handling the vaccines.       
Don Cash
" No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."  Mark Twain

Husker2055

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2016, 11:14:57 AM »
Thank you Don for your take on the matter .

Paul

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2016, 09:21:53 AM »
  Paul Smith has been going to write about their vaccination program for the thread over two decades of raising poultry, and hasn’t taken the time to, so this is an excellent opportunity to share it!

  We specialize in day old chicks and send out over 1,000 a year.  After all chicks to be sent out of a hatch are mailed and the ones to be picked-up are gone, we vaccinate the remaining chicks for Mareks Disease as they are removed from the incubators for the last time.  Then they are taken to a brooder house and never placed inside an incubator after the vaccination.  We do not vaccinate the chicks that we send out, but let everyone vaccinate their own after they arrive.  Two reasons why!  # 1  The unvaccinated chicks shouldn’t be near the vaccinated chicks.  # 2  It is a big rush on hatch days to get all the chicks (especially when there is a couple hundred) toe punched, sorted into correct box, all required paperwork completed, and delivered to the PO by 3:00 PM so there will be at least 30 minutes to wait turn in line, and get the express mailed boxes checked in by 3:30 PM; so the delivery paperwork will be closer to correct.  It’s always a relief when the boxes of chicks are delivered to our PO.  Then comes the wait and concern until each new owner lets us know that their chicks arrive.

  We started vaccinating for “LT” Larygotracheitis in 2004.  We attended a show in the fall of 2003 and picked up a case of LT.  Texas’s rules require euthanization of a backyard flock that has LT.  Jan. 2004 our flock was destroyed and we started again with eggs that were saved, under guidance by TAHC, during a 3 week period before D day, plus we purchased hatching eggs from Rhea Dean Carter who had purchased several top quality breeders from us before we caught LT.  We managed to save our genetics and all the varieties of Ameraucanas that we were raising at that time.  Later we quit the silver, buff and barred/cuckoo.  We butchered most of the entire flock, but couldn’t get them all done in time, so two workers for the TAHC gassed about 40 head.  Three national champions were destroyed along with the flock, a devastating experience, which could have been prevented if we had been vaccinating for LT.  Dickie Richardson, one of the TAHC workers told me, “It’s too late to vaccinate for LT now, after the fact.”

  The idea time to vaccinate for “LT” is at 4 weeks of age and again at 10 weeks old, which is what we did for several years.  Each batch of chicks were vaccinated at 4 weeks and 10 weeks of age.  We hatch every two weeks, so I was constantly vaccinating a batch.  When the last hatch of the season was 4 weeks old, we vaccinated all the breeders also.  Then in 6 weeks we did it again.  The past seven years we waited until the last hatch of the season is 4 weeks of age and we vaccinate the entire flock at one time.  Then six weeks later do it again.  This time we are going to need a change as we started hatching Sept. 1, 2015.  We are going to have to vaccinate the early hatched sooner than four weeks after the last hatch in June.

  There are two kinds of LT vaccine.  One is chick embryo origin (CEO) and the other one is LT-IVAX, a modified live Laryngotracheitis virus strain.  The CEO should not be used in a breeding show flock!  It is intended for large commercial flocks that are all in and all out at the same time.  Once a bird is vaccinated with CEO “LT” vaccine, they are a carrier of LF for life and can cause unvaccinated birds to get it.  CEO LT vaccine is prohibited in Texas and should be nation wide in breeding show flocks!

  The LT-IVAX is intended to be an eye drop but it can and will cause eye infections.  It is best used as a nose drop.  One drop is applied to the chicks nostril.  The four week old chicks will need to be held until it breaths, drawing in the blue drop.  Older/larger birds will have a large enough nostril that the drop will fall into the nostril on large fowl (bantams may need to be held until they breath drawing in the vaccine).  Once the vaccine is mixed, it is only good for about 2 hours, so I mix only one fourth at a time which will vaccinate 250 head.  Two mixtures will allow four hours time limit, which is more practical to get all our birds vaccinated.  Remember six weeks later it has to be done again.

  Three weeks after the first LT vaccination, the entire flock is vaccinated for Pox.  The entire bottle of Pox vaccine is mixed at one time even though it also only has a two hour time limit for 1,000 doses.  The method of administering this vaccine prohibits splitting of it.  Pox is a poultry disease that is carried by mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes will bring it unless the birds are correctly vaccinated.  We have vaccinated for Pox for about 20 years.  This was the first poultry disease that we started vaccinating for.  Mosquitoes brought us a case of it, long before we had Ameraucanas.  Pox will cause white sore spots on the birds red combs and wattles (if they have any-as Ameraucanas don’t or they are very small).  It will cause sores over the bird’s eyes and cause them to go blind.  Also it can get in their throat and kill them.  Properly vaccinated birds will possess good protection against this disease.

  John Roberts, from Florida, told me several years ago, that he wiped his birds down with diesel on a rag to keep the mosquitoes off them, and that he didn’t vaccinate for pox and that his birds (RIR) didn’t get pox.  I haven’t tried it as we have too many to keep diesel treated.  A test to see if mosquitoes are in your area: put about two inches of water in a 5 gallon bucket, put an empty gallon size jug floating on the water inside the 5 gallon bucket and set it out in the area to be checked.  Leave it overnight and check next morning for mosquitoes in the bucket.

  Once LT vaccinations start in early July, our place goes on lock down, and no birds leave until the last LT vaccination is completed (six weeks later).

  We hope this info is helpful to all who take the time to read it.  I use to think “Why vaccinate-you are just giving your birds a small case of what you are vaccinating for; and if you don’t have a problem-then you don’t need to vaccinate.”  Experiences and time has changed that attitude to “vaccinate your birds for their protection, especially if you are going to show them.”

  There are several other poultry diseases that vaccines have been produced for prevention, but we only vaccinate for Marek Disease, “LT” and Pox.
Check with your state’s animal health department to see what is allowed and recommended in your area.  Texas has a list of prohibited vaccines.
Paul Smith

Don

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2016, 09:48:13 PM »
Brad, How did your situation work out.  Did you get everything calmed down and back to normal?
Don Cash
" No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."  Mark Twain

Husker2055

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Re: Mareks
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 12:49:21 PM »
Sorry I ha end been on here in a while !
But it's starting to get back to normal .