Vaccinations for Prevention & Management
Vaccinations are a crucial part of poultry health management. Many hatcheries will vaccinate their chicks or vaccinate upon request. Some diseases are most effectively prevented through vaccination during the first few weeks and months of your chicken’s life. Vaccinations work by triggering your bird’s immune system to produce antibodies that can fight infections.
Live – The live organism that causes the disease is introduced into the body. It can induce the disease and infect unvaccinated chickens in the same coop.
Attenuated – A specially manufactured and weakened organism triggers the immune system and can cause a mild form of the disease.
Killed – The dead organism triggers the immune system but won’t cause the disease.
Proper vaccination potency, storage, and handling is crucial to the effectiveness of your vaccination program. Always use the vaccine’s recommended application techniques. Vaccines are available in liquid, freeze-dried, or dust form.
Marek’s Disease – This vaccine is usually given on day one at the hatchery. Marek’s disease affects the nerves and organs and can result in paralysis and tumors.
Newcastle Disease – Three vaccines are administered at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 16 weeks. Newcastle Disease is known to pass through droppings and secretions.
Fowl Pox – This vaccine is given at 12 weeks. Fowl Pox can lead to blisters across the skin, comb, and wattles.
Over time, vaccines lose their effectiveness. Because of this, it’s important to give your birds their vaccines every year. Despite the best vaccination practices, vaccination is not a replacement for good biosecurity and sanitation practices. If possible, work with your local veterinarian to develop a proper vaccination program for your flock.
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