Why do Chickens Get Vaccinated?

Vaccination is key to maintaining a healthy poultry flock. It helps prevent poultry diseases, such as Newcastle disease, Marek’s disease, fowl cholera, and fowl pox.

Vaccination is suitable for adult chickens and baby chicks. Routine vaccination programs are ideal for all indoor and backyard chickens keepers.

Why do Chickens Get Vaccinated?

Vaccination is essential for keeping healthy chickens. Moreover, vaccination is suitable for both domestic and commercial chicken keepers. Nonetheless, countless chicken keepers overlook the importance of vaccinating their birds.

For such chicken keepers, vaccination is a waste of time and money. However, vaccination is highly imperative, and you should consider vaccinating your birds at some point. Below are solid reasons why chicken vaccination is essential.

– It can Help Enhance Your Chickens’ Immunity

Vaccination provides immunity to chickens, especially when chickens are subject to exposure to various chicken diseases. Vaccination will give your chickens immunity to help them withstand chicken diseases.

A vaccine for Marek’s disease, for instance, will provide your chickens with immunity to overcome lameness and wing paralysis, which are common symptoms of this deadly disease.

If you fail to vaccinate your birds against this chicken disease, they won’t have the immunity to counter the illness once an outbreak occurs.

– It Prevents Future Outbreaks of Diseases

If you vaccinate your chickens against certain chicken diseases, they won’t succumb to outbreaks of these diseases in the future. Since your chickens could contact other sick chickens, vaccinating your chickens will ensure the sick birds won’t infect the healthy birds with various chicken diseases.

After vaccinating your chickens, your job in keeping your flock healthy will be easier since you will save your birds from further outbreaks.

– Vaccinating Your Birds Will Save Your Flock

A highly contagious poultry disease can claim a large flock of chickens in a couple of days. Nothing is more frustrating to a chicken owner than losing their flock to chicken diseases. Vaccines are essential for at-risk chickens, such as baby chicks and older chickens.

Vaccines help keep chicken diseases at bay, stopping them from spreading among your healthy chickens and claiming their lives. Therefore, vaccination can help save your flock from infections, particularly if you start vaccinating your chickens from their early days.

Types of Chicken Vaccines

There are different types of chicken vaccines. Here are the common types of chicken vaccines.

  • Live vaccines-The active component of a live vaccine is a live organism that leads to a specific chicken disease. The live organism in the live vaccine induces the disease in chickens. Vaccinated chickens can affect their non-vaccinated counterparts if they are living together.
  • Killed vaccine-This vaccine utilizes a dead organism to kill pathogens that cause certain chicken diseases. The dead organism in this vaccine can’t cause diseases in unvaccinated chickens. However, the immunity this vaccine gives a chicken is weaker than the immunity that live vaccines give to chickens.
  • Attenuated vaccine- The vaccine uses a weak organism to kill bacteria, germs, and viruses that cause deadly chicken diseases. The manufacturing process for this vaccine entails using special procedures to weaken the disease-causing organism.

Pros and Cons of Vaccinating Chickens

Vaccinating chickens is a brilliant idea for small-scale and large-scale chicken owners who want healthy flocks. However, vaccinating chickens has its merits and demerits, as with everything else. It would help you consider both the merits and demerits of vaccinating your birds before carrying out a vaccination exercise. Check these outlines of the pros and cons of vaccinating chickens.

– Pros of Vaccinating Your Chickens

  • Vaccinating chickens is the ultimate way of protecting your birds from several chicken diseases, and therefore you will have a healthy flock over time.
  • Vaccinating your chickens is the surest way of protecting your birds from unexpected outbreaks. Vaccination will ensure your chickens won’t develop conditions they had in the past.
  • Vaccination will make your chickens’ immune systems strong, making the birds capable of fighting diseases.
  • Vaccination will ensure your chickens are safe, and they won’t get diseases from infected chickens if they leave your property.
  • Chicken vaccines help lower mortality rates that result from contagious chicken diseases, especially for people with large flocks. People with small chicken flocks can also lower mortality rates by vaccinating their birds.
  • Vaccination is a successful health intervention measure in lowering the spread of chicken diseases and reducing deaths from vaccine-preventable chicken diseases.
  • Vaccinating your chickens can be more cost-effective than treating your birds since treatment entails using costly medications. It might not save your birds from death, especially if the chickens are grappling with a severe disease like Avian Cholera or Fowl Pox.

– Cons of Vaccinating Your Chickens

While vaccinating chickens has many benefits, there are however some problems that result from vaccinating chickens. Below are a few cons of vaccinating chickens.

  • Some vaccines don’t work for different types of diseases. For instance, very few chicken vaccines can work in protecting your flock from viral infections. Simply put, chicken vaccines only work for preventable chicken diseases.
  • All chicken vaccines have risks that you must weigh carefully against all the benefits these vaccines offer to protect against chicken diseases.
  • No chicken vaccine offers total protection against a specific chicken disease. The efficacy of a chicken vaccine depends on how well the vaccine can prevent infections in vaccinated birds. Furthermore, how well a chicken vaccine works depends on a chicken’s health status. For instance, the bird flu vaccine doesn’t prevent baby chicks from catching bird flu better than it does for adult chickens.
  • Some chicken vaccines pose risks for severe reactions in chickens. Some injectable chicken vaccines, for instance, can cause soreness and redness at the injection point. Other vaccines can result in severe complications in chickens, such as seizures and walking difficulties.

Do You Vaccinate Backyard Chickens?

Yes, vaccination is vital for all chickens, including backyard chickens. Vaccination is necessary for backyard chickens, particularly if your chickens have had a severe chicken disease in the past.

Moreover, you need to vaccinate your backyard chickens if they are living together with infected birds or if they have previously come into contact with wild birds.

Wild birds carry diseases that spread rapidly and kill countless domestic birds. Chicken owners should consider vaccinating their backyard chickens if:

  • If their backyard chickens have been out of their premises without their knowledge. For example, your backyard chickens could be foraging with your neighbor’s birds, and you can’t tell whether the birds could be carrying any chicken disease.
  • If your backyard chickens mix with other birds from auctions, hatcheries, or outside sources.
  • Every backyard chicken owner should vaccinate their backyard chickens if they know of previous chicken disease outbreaks in or near their properties.
  • Vaccinate your backyard chickens if some of the chickens show signs of illnesses. Vaccination is vital in this case because it will prevent the affected chickens from spreading the disease to the rest of the flock members.
  • Consider vaccinating your backyard chickens if there is a disease outbreak in your area. Vaccination will boost your chickens’ immunity, preventing them from contracting diseases that come with anticipated outbreaks.

Where to Buy Chicken Vaccines?

If you intend to carry out a vaccination exercise to protect your chickens from myriads of chicken diseases, you could be wondering where to buy chicken vaccines. Poultry suppliers and hatcheries are the best starting points for sourcing chicken vaccines. They produce chicken vaccines in large doses, primarily for commercial use.

Moreover, they manufacture chicken vaccines for different types of chicken diseases. Regardless of the chicken disease you intend to vaccinate your birds against; you will find a suitable vaccine from a reputable hatchery or poultry supplier.

You can also get a quality chicken vaccine from a registered poultry veterinarian. The benefit of getting a vaccine from a vet is that the vet will guide you in selecting a vaccine that matches your chickens’ health status. Furthermore, the vet will help you administer the vaccine to your birds.

More importantly, the vet will recommend the proper dosage of the vaccine for your chickens, depending on their age and health status. Therefore, you won’t administer too many or few vaccines to your birds.

Other chicken keepers source for chicken vaccines online. There are credible online stores that sell different brands of chicken vaccines. These sites further sell chicken vaccines for various chicken diseases.

For instance, if you need a vaccine for a chicken disease such as Marek’s disease, you will only browse a credible store that sells chicken vaccines and then search for various vaccines for Marek’s disease on the site. Purchasing chicken vaccines online is pretty convenient.

However, it comes with a risk, though. Some online stores aren’t legit, and thus they don’t sell original poultry products, including chicken vaccines. Again, some of their vaccines are generic and won’t help protect your birds from diseases.

How to Store Chicken Vaccines?

Storing chicken vaccines can be challenging, particularly if you have large quantities of vaccines to store. Again, chicken vaccines are pretty sensitive, and they may go bad following improper storage. Knowing how to keep your chicken vaccines is thus essential. Here is how to store your chicken vaccines.

  • Store your vaccines in lightproof containers-inactivated chicken vaccines can remain in containers without losing their potency. Nevertheless, not every container is suitable for storing chicken vaccines. The best containers should be light-proof. UV light can damage your vaccines. Again, don’t store your vaccines in containers longer than the time duration that the vaccine manufacturer recommends in their package. Containers only offer temporary storage for chicken vaccines. Your vaccines will undoubtedly go bad if you keep them in containers for too long.
  • Store live vaccines in the refrigerator-most live chicken vaccines can withstand freezing temperatures without losing potency. However, avoid keeping your live chicken vaccines at below freezing temperatures. Even if you intend to keep the vaccines in a refrigerator, the best storage temperature should be between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
  • Store vaccines in syringes– injectable chicken vaccines are best when stored in syringes. Syringes will help keep your vaccines at a stable temperature while ensuring the vaccines don’t go bad. Syringes will, however, work well if you have tiny quantities of chicken vaccines to store. However, if you have vast amounts of vaccines to store, you will have to get multiple syringes to store all the vaccines. Furthermore, keep the syringes away from the light because light will make the vaccines lose their potency.
  • Store the vaccines in glass jars– glass jars are also a good option for storing large quantities of chicken vaccines, especially if the vaccines are in liquid form. However, the glass jars you use for storing the vaccines should be translucent to ensure they don’t expose the vaccines to sunlight. It would be prudent if you also kept the glass jars at room temperature since too much cold or heat can ruin the vaccines in the glass jars.

How Much Does Chicken Vaccination Cost?

The cost of vaccinating your chickens can vary depending on many factors. For instance, the cost of chicken vaccines will determine the overall cost of vaccinating your chickens. Live chicken vaccines cost more than inactivated vaccines.

Flock owners will pay more if they use live vaccines to vaccinate their birds. Ten thousand doses of Newcastle-bronchitis chicken vaccine cost around $30.

Besides the type of chicken vaccine you intend to use for vaccinating your chickens, you will have to consider the number of chickens you want to vaccinate. If you have more chickens to vaccinate, the cost of vaccination will be high.

The age of a chicken also influences vaccination costs. Baby chicks are pretty fragile, and they need special vaccines and vaccination procedures, unlike adult chickens. Therefore, it will cost you more to vaccinate your baby chicks than it would cost you to vaccinate adult chickens.

If you own a smaller flock and you would like to vaccinate every bird in the flock, you will undoubtedly pay less since you won’t need plenty of chicken vaccines to run your vaccination program. Small flock owners spend at least $200 to vaccinate every single bird in their flock.

Large flock owners, specifically poultry farms that keep chickens for commercial purposes, will spend over $2,000 to vaccinate their birds.

Chicken vaccination costs will also depend on the type of disease you vaccinate your chickens against. It will cost you more money to vaccinate your chickens against fowl cholera than it will cost you to vaccinate your birds against a contagious disease such as Newcastle disease.

The cost of vaccination also factors in labor cost. If you aren’t vaccinating your chickens yourself, you will undoubtedly need a vet to administer the vaccines to your birds. Depending on the number of birds you want to vaccinate, the vet will charge you.

Other vets usually charge depending on the time they will take to vaccinate. Therefore, please consult with the vet to know which model they use to charge their services.

The kind of vaccination you are administering to your chickens will further influence the overall cost of vaccinating your birds. For instance, an ovo vaccination, which entails vaccinating embryonic chicks, is quite expensive since it involves using specialized procedures and equipment.

Giving an ovo vaccination to a single embryonic chick can cost you around $25. Spray vaccination, which entails using spray vaccines, is perhaps the cheapest type of chicken vaccination. Furthermore, this method of vaccination is suitable for vaccinating a large number of chickens.

Vaccinating a large flock of birds through spray vaccination can cost a chicken owner as little as $20, depending on the spray vaccine they will use.

How Do You Vaccinate Chickens?

Check this guide on the best way to vaccinate your chickens to keep them healthy.

– Decide when to vaccinate your chickens

You have to vaccinate your chickens at the right time to ensure vaccination is effective. Ideally, start vaccinating your chicks as soon as they hatch. Talk to a certified vet if you aren’t sure when to vaccinate your chicks.

– Consider your chickens’ health before running a vaccination program

This will help you avoid vaccinating sick chickens since the disease might be too severe for the birds’ immune system to counter. Vaccination works well for healthy birds, and therefore consider your chickens’ health before carrying out a vaccination exercise.

– Get a suitable chicken vaccine

Decide on the vaccine you will be using in your vaccination exercise. Research the vaccine, its manufacturer, production date, expiration date, and which chickens best suit the vaccine.

– Gather your vaccination gear

Different chicken vaccines need various vaccination tools and vaccination procedures. Get all the vaccination equipment before embarking on the vaccination exercise.

– Administer the vaccine

Once you are ready for the vaccination process, it is time to administer the vaccine. Knowing the right spot to inject the birds if you are vaccinating your birds with an injectable vaccine. If you are using a spray vaccine, ensure the vaccine can reach all chickens.

For oral vaccines, ensure each bird swallows the vaccine. Ensure you use the vaccine in the proper dosage, lest you give too much or too little vaccine to your birds.

Conclusion

Vaccination isn’t a luxury but rather a compulsory exercise for every chicken keeper who wants to raise a healthy flock. Regardless of your experience in keeping chickens, it helps to vaccinate your chickens against deadly chicken diseases.

If done correctly, vaccination will keep your birds free of diseases and ensure you don’t lose a single chicken to any preventable chicken disease.

Chickens   Updated: April 13, 2022
avatar Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too.

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