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Marek's disease disaster

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I'm new on here and ideally looking for some advice/reassurance please.

We've just started keeping our first little flock of back garden hens and just 3 months in we've been hit with Marek's 😭 We lost one little hen 3 weeks ago of suspected Marek's and I was hoping the other 2 had escaped it but another is now showing severe symptoms and will have to be euthanised as she has no quality of life. We're so upset, they're already like members of the family and we haven't even had any eggs yet as they're only just point of lay.

Now I'm at a loss for what to do. We will only have one left and I don't want her to be alone, but at the same time I can't introduce new hens in case they catch it. I am so, so upset, and I feel we've been so unlucky.

Is there any way back from this? I've heard you can never get rid of this disease in the garden. We've spent £600+ on all the Eglu kit and run and it all feels like such a waste. Is there anything I can do? Can I ethically get vaccinated older (maybe ex battery) chickens or will that just mean more heartache? Thanks in advance for any help or advice.


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Whatever it is, you have to assume the third has it and is contagious, even without symptoms, so she can't be re-homed and it would be cruel to move her on her own anyway. Bringing in two ex-batts is going to result in her being terribly bullied, because ex-batts are aggressive. I see two choices here. Leave her on her own and see if she copes, which will only work with lots of human contact. Or despatch her at the same time as the second. You should contact the supplier and tell them what has happened; they may know already?

Don't know when it will be safe to introduce new chickens to what is a contaminated site. Perhaps thorough disinfection and 12 months?


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