So you have decided to get chickens, and started researching more about what will be best for your family and your flock. One big decision you need to make before starting your flock is whether or not to vaccinate your new chicks.
Marek's disease is a serious, viral illness that debilitates chickens. Birds with this disease can develop paralysis of one or both legs, they become very thin, and their wings may drop. There can also be a possibility of developing tumors in their internal organs. This is a painful and devastating disease, but you may not have to worry about it too much if you have a small flock. It is much more prevalent with larger, more commercial-scale operations.
"So should I vaccinate my flock?"
There are a few questions you'll need to ask yourself if you are considering whether or not to vaccinate a new clutch of chicks with the Marek's Vaccination.
Do you have an existing flock?
If you already have chicks that were vaccinated for Marek's Disease, it is crucial that you vaccinate any other chicks that you plan to introduce to the flock.
Have you heard of Marek's being a problem in your region?
If you have heard of farms or areas nearby that have had issues with Marek's, you should go ahead and vaccinate the chicks. Go ahead and contact your local Department of Natural Resources to find out about any outbreaks.
Side note: Always report chicken illness or disease to the Department of Natural Resources. It could save the rest of your flock and other flocks in your area, and it is the responsible thing to do as a chicken keeper.
Are you raising poultry on a large scale for egg or meat production, and would a Marek's outbreak hurt significantly damage your business?
If you are starting large farming operation of more than 100 chicks, and do you plan on your poultry flock providing a substantial income for you and your family? If so, it's not a bad idea to go ahead and vaccinate.
Was there poultry on your property recently?
If the property has had poultry on it previously, and you don't know the history of the flock, it could be prudent to go ahead and vaccinate your birds. If any of those birds in the previous flock did in fact fact contract Marek's, there could be traces of the virus in the ground.
What makes you more comfortable?
If you just feel more comfortable knowing that your new flock is vaccinated, go ahead. However, with smaller poultry operation or in backyard flocks, it's almost always unnecessary.
Here is an article from the University of Georgia that offers more insight on this disease and whether or not you should vaccinate your chicks.
How to add Marek's to an eFowl Chick Order
Decided to order the vaccine? It is easy to add to any chicken order. When on one of the pages of the breeds you would like to order, first scroll down until you see our accessory product for the vaccine. Click the check box, scroll back up, and add the desired number of chicks to your cart. The vaccine will show up a the bottom of your shopping cart. This only needs to be added one time. We will vaccinate your chicks for you before shipping them out.
Ordering one of our small chick order specials? Simply make sure to check off the box for the vaccine before adding it to your cart. You can make sure it was successfully added by reviewing the text in your shopping cart. See below: