|Marek’s disease is very prevalent everywhere there is poultry, and if your chickens catch it there is no cure.If you order your chicks from a hatchery, Marek’s disease vaccine is usually administered to chickens at the hatchery. Of course, it is easiest to order chicks already vaccinated, but if you are hatching your own birds, or didn’t order pre-vaccinated chicks, vaccinating chicks is not hard once you get the hang of it, and worth doing to prevent losses in your flocks.
When you order the vaccine, it comes in two parts, the small vial with the wafer of vaccine itself, and the large vial of dilutant. You only need to refrigerate the vaccine itself, not the dilutant.
Take the vaccinated chick and put it into the second box, which is for the ones who have been done.
When you’re finished with them all, put them back into the brooder right away so they won’t get chilled. Watch them over the next few days for pasted vent or other reactions.
The “chicks” in these images are actually guinea keets, and don’t generally get Marek’s disease, but were the only “chick” examples I had available at the time of this writing.
Vaccinate healthy one day-old chicks only.
Store wafer in fridge, not over 45 degrees.
Do not save the vaccine, it is only good for two hours after mixing.
Laura Haggarty has been working with poultry since 2000, and her family has had poultry and other livestock since the early 1900s. She and her family live on a farm in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, where they have horses, goats, and chickens. She is a certified 4-H leader, co-founder and Secretary/Treasurer of the American Buckeye Poultry Club, and a Life Member of the ABA and the APA.
To learn more about the American Bantam Association, visit: www.bantamclub.com.
February 7, 2013