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Tri-State  Blog

Marek's Disease, Part 2


Because Marek’s disease is widespread and there is no treatment for it, prevention is key. You can vaccinate chicks for Marek’s disease, but there are some important things to know about how the vaccine works. The vaccine is only effective if given in-ovo (in the egg), or in day-old chicks. Luckily, there are some reputable hatcheries that offer the vaccine, and at a pretty low cost! Once vaccinated, chicks must remain isolated for two weeks to build immunity before the vaccine yields full protection. If you are hatching at home, we do recommend planning ahead with your veterinarian. Not only does the vaccine have to be given within the first 24 hours of hatching, but the vaccine itself requires fairly specific technical handling.

chickenUnfortunately, although the Marek’s vaccine is highly effective if used we described, it is not effective in juvenile or adult birds. If your birds are too old to vaccinate, then the best way to prevent Marek’s Disease in your flock is to use good biosecurity. Keep age groups separated, avoid introducing new birds from different origins, and change clothes after visiting your neighbor’s chickens. We know it’s not the most fun answer, but keeping a strictly closed flock is the best thing you can do to prevent Marek’s Disease.

One common question we get is if the eggs and meat from infected chickens are safe for consumption, and the answer is, yes! What other questions do you have about Marek’s Disease and your flock?


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