do you vaccinate your chickens?

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by realsis, Jan 27, 2013.

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  1. realsis

    realsis New Member

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    If you do ,when do you vaccinate, at what age and for what? Please help. Thanks so much! I want to do what's best for them!
     
  2. rob

    rob New Member

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    i havent. and mine are fine
     

  3. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    No... So I'm no help. :D
     
  4. kaufranc

    kaufranc Junior Member

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    Mine are not either
     
  5. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    I'm having the new chicks vaccinated before they arrive.
     
  6. realsis

    realsis New Member

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    I'm wondering if I should vaccinate and if yes for which disease. I really need some help with this. I want to do what's best for my very small flock.? And at what age should it be done? I read it can be done at any age but I'm not too sure of that? Please help.
     
  7. Homegirl

    Homegirl New Member

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    Vaccination is such a huge topic! Most hatcheries offer vac's. For an already-established flock, you CAN vaccinate at any age is my understanding. Some of mine are vac'd for Marek;s and some are not. It's a complicated process. it comes as a dry wafer and separate suspension fluid. You combine them and you have a very short window, I believe half an hour? to inject. google Marek's for more info. i would not go out of my way to do it, I have issues with vac's in general...Just my opinion.
     
  8. realsis

    realsis New Member

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    Thank you much! My feed store only carries the foul pox vaccine as I found out anyway. I do want them protected I love them so much but everyone I've talked to locally and abroad seems to think it's not really a good idea. My husband even said do you really want to put a live virus in them. Putting it that way, no. No I don't. So likely they won't get vaccinated. I Hope I'm not making a mistake with this decision. People here locally said most backyard flocks are not vaccinated here, only the large mass producers of chickens here vaccinates. So I'm still a bit confused about it. And God knows I would do anything I could to ensure my girls a healthy life! I guess I'm leaning towards not doing it. I really hope I don't regret it later!! I just want my girls to be happy healthy hens! I Hope it will be ok if don't do it... I'd like more opinions please!!
     
  9. Homegirl

    Homegirl New Member

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    If you read up on both sides of the vac issue it may help you feel more educated about it....Do commercial raisers vac because they love their birds? nah. They want a profit. And able to come to a decision that you and your husband can feel good about...I have friends that absolutely would NOT take an unvaccinated bird and in the same breath are very organic types. I understand where your husband is coming from and agree.
     
  10. realsis

    realsis New Member

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    Thank you for you're reply. Yes, I will do some reading on the subjects. It's likely I will not be doing it. Yes I also understand what my husband was trying to say and I can agree with that point. On the other hand I don't think I can forgive myself if something could have been prevented. Your exactly right on the industry, it's certainly not done out of love! It's about profit. Also they are not exactly caring about the conditions that their chickens live in either. Very sad indeed. They don't see them as animals with feelings which is horrific to me because chickens infact do feel pain, fear, attachment, and more! That's a whole other sad subject... but I will do some more reading , thank you for the reply
     
  11. profwirick

    profwirick Yaya

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    you have some wise advisors here. I'll throw in a thought, since you are trying to put it all together, like I am. Farmers on our road raise their birds for eggs and pets. One was trying for meat but gave it up. Dairy farmer has a dozen or more handsome, big game roosters of various stripes. (they are the fathers to my chicks) and their lovely hens. These birds free range, have a tumbledown chicken barn for shelter which is filled to the rafters with straw by this time of year and gets cleaned out by tractor probably once a year. they are out pecking in every kind of weather. They establish their own pecking order without any interference and harmony reins most of the time (...not battle to the death. )
    I'll ask Larry if he medicated them at all, but I'll be surprised if he answers yes. exercise and fresh air, good basic farm food...just like us! keys to health.
     
  12. realsis

    realsis New Member

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    Thank you and that makes since. Keep good healthy conditions, fresh air, exercise, good food , clean coop, all will equal healthy birds. I understand and yes that makes good since. If the birds are kept dirty, bad conditions, pined up, they will be more likely to be sickly. Thank you for pointing that out! So basically healthy living is the key. Clean coop, fresh feed and water, fresh air, exercise and things should go well! :)
     
  13. eqstrnathlete

    eqstrnathlete Member

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    I don't vaccinate. I have never had an issue. Besides, they eventually end up as coyote food.
     
  14. shawna

    shawna New Member

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    I don't but if you are buying chicks you can order them to be.
     
  15. showmesilkies

    showmesilkies Junior Member

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    No, I do not vaccinate for anything. So far so good.
     
  16. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    I don't vaccinate.

    For those who do vaccinate, what vaccinations do you give?
     
  17. SheilaRW

    SheilaRW Junior Member

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    I have had this same debate. I am a small animal vet and believe strongly in vaccinating. I understand both sides. I did not vaccinate my chickens. I am taking a risk. Both ways are risky really.
    Before acquiring chickens I consulted with a poultry vet. Even about becoming a backyard poultry vet. The problem is.... With vaccines, you will lose birds to vaccine reactions. The birds are weak, and we stimulate an immune response to this vaccine, and they succumb to an illness they were trying to keep in check, but we changed their immune systems focus....
    I also was informed, sometimes when we order a mareks vaccinated hatchery chick, they still succumb to the disease... Maybe they really didn't get that dose. Who knows. My poultry consultant didn't think it really got the vax.
    I looked into getting the vax- mareks done on day 1.
    If you show, it would be especially be recommended to vaccinate for bronchitis (new castles) at 2 weeks and 2 mos.
    Birds may get "vaccinated" from passive immunity on the farm as wild birds carry disease. The problem comes when the disease overwhelms the population and wipes out a flock. Look at new castles disease. Entire commercial flocks as well as backyard flocks were destroyed when this disease went thru. When we show, we share our farms diseases in a stressful situation and then bring disease home to introduce to our flock. It's a risk. But so is the vaccine. It really comes down to recognizing both sides and feeling comfortable. Vaccines are a big investment with the potential for loss. Not vaccinating runs the risk of losing your whole flock. What's the life span of your flock... The older they get, the more disease they will carry, but not necessarily exhibit. After your land is contaminated by your birds, it may be wise to vaccinate the newbies...
    After considering poultry medicine, I realize there is no money to be made in back yard flocks. The one sick pet will see a regular vet, but will not support a specialty. They are just too few and far between. Maybe keeping that sick bird alive, is not in the best interest in the health of your flick anyway.
    Food for thought....
    Sheila
     
  18. toybarons

    toybarons I luv Polish & Houdans

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    I would say if you plan to keep chickens for yourself for your own purpose, then you don't need to vaccinate your flock. I feel the majority don't and they will tell you they have happy healthy birds.

    This is my opinion based on my own experience when I looked into vaccinating my own flock.
    Even though I am in Canada, most of this can be applied to the USA.
    Ask either a provincial or state vet if you should vaccinate and they will likely suggest you should. In Canada usually for Avian Influenza [AI] and Infectious Laryngotrachheitis [ILT] and in the USA both AI, ILT and Pullorum Typhiod.
    Both the CFIA and the USDA suggest vaccination but as of today neither have made it mandatory that a backyard owner has to.

    Buying the vaccine. In my case, I wanted to vaccinate against ILT. I learned as others did, that most vaccines available for poultry are geared towards large producers. Most veterinary practices can get you the vaccines but only in flats. A flat contains several vials with each vial having enough serum to vaccinate 1000 birds. This works out if you can go in with a group, buy a flat and then split the cost. If you just want to purchase for yourself, buying the vaccine is not cost efficient as vials have a 2 year expiration date. Also while some diseases like Merecks you only treat for once, some like ILT your flock has to be vaccinated several times initially in order to be protected and then vaccinate again each year to keep up being protected. When I called my vet, I was told they could get me my vaccine at a cost of a few hundred dollars for a flat. Heard from another flock owner that they were getting a flat with some others, so I went in with the group and got 2 vials at a cost of $25 each.

    Vaccines are live viruses. They come in two separate vials: one contains the virus in a suspended state and one vial with a serum. When mixed together they form a live vaccine. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you take the time to READ the instructions. All manufactures have websites where you can look up the vaccine's monogram so if you loose the paperwork, just go to the website and look it up. If handled incorrectly, you can possibly make yourself sick or you can unknowingly spread the virus. Once mixed you have a window in which the vaccine must be used. With ILT it was 2 hours. Again, reading instructions helps you prepare in advance so once you start you keep going till you are done. Also be aware that any unused vaccine has to be properly disposed of and that means you don't just toss it in the garbage. Unused vaccines should be immediately burned after use.

    A word here about vaccines themselves. They are not all alike. Some vaccines come either as 'Shedding' or 'Non Shedding' and it is important to understand what that means. Shedding means the virus can be easily spread to unprotected stock. A non shedding vaccine means that if done correctly, the virus should not jump to unprotected stock.
    This mean no birds or their products off your property for 30 days. You should not allow anyone with birds themselves near your quarantine area either. In theory, after 30 days using a non shedding vaccine your birds should be safe around unprotected birds. I say 'in theory' because it is possible for a bird in times of stress to "shed" the virus even when vaccinated with a 'non shedding' vaccine. This is the main reason many chose not to vaccinate their flocks against any disease.

    I vaccinated my flock using a non shedding ILT vaccine. Burned my unused vaccine. Waited out my 30 days in quarantine. Some of my birds did show a reaction to the vaccine which is normal. They got better, which is what was supposed to happen. I was proud having made my flock safe. So I thought. Why? Because even by vaccinating there is no 100% guarantee that my flock would NOT become sick from the disease I was vaccinating them for. Vaccines may be dead, even when properly handled and mixed. As some of my birds did show a positive reaction by getting sick, I felt confident that the vaccine I used was good. Still was my flock protected?
    When I spoke to my provincial vet before I vaccinated, I was told that if a case of ILT were reported in my area, the record of vaccination against the disease would help them in determining the source of where the disease might have come from, whether it was a wild strain or not. Vaccinating from ILT does not, however, protect my flock if a cull for ILT is called for in my area if an outbreak is suspected. I was left scratching my head thinking I can put in a lot of money thinking I'm doing right to protect my flock and others but can wind up still loosing my flock because vaccination does not insure protection against an outbreak of the disease I'm protecting myself from? Still I vaccinated anyway.

    That was a couple of years ago. Since my initial vaccination for ILT, I have not vaccinated again against the disease. Why you may ask? I wanted to become involved with exhibition poultry. Organizations involved with showing, recommend vaccination against AI and ILT to prevent the spread of disease. Imagine then, my surprise that some well know breeders themselves choose not to vaccinate. Even one I knew who gave advice to many of us newbs on showing recommended vaccination. It was only after we got to know this breeder better that they admitted they themselves do not vaccinate as the vaccine may affect a bird's eye color and they would loose show points. Another I heard had a flock that was not resistant to Merecks because vaccinating for the disease caused their line to become prone to the disease itself. Instead I choose to practice bio security to the best of my ability, as I did before I chose to vaccinate.

    This doesn't mean I am against all vaccines for flocks. I have had my hatchery order vaccinated for Merecks in hopes of increasing my chicks survival rate. They are near breeding age but I have no intention of having the chicks they produce vaccinated against Merecks. If manufactures did produce vaccines with the backyard fancier in mind, I may consider using them. Right now I am looking at using Linco Spectinomycin [in Canada] which is added to drinking water to help protect hatched chicks to day 10 against CRDs associated to Mycoplasma.
     
  19. toybarons

    toybarons I luv Polish & Houdans

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    Good post Shelia! You raise a very, very good point I feel validates my opinion about what is so confussing about vaccination. If the very people one thinks would be on the 'YES' side of vaccination can't support vaccination 100% then imagine how the rest of us feel?

    Canada is no different than the USA in that finding a vet who will see poultry is next to impossible. Many vets, even those who see livestock, do not treat poultry. Poultry has become a speciality. I am not a vet. I am lucky as I do have a poultry vet where I live and I have taken my birds in at times when they are sick.

    Many backyard flock owners cannot justify taking a bird costing $20 or less into see a vet that will cost them more than the animal is worth. I have. My vet charge me on a visit with a sick bird that had a CRD $85 to treat and medicate it. The bird did recover but was never truely the same health wise and did die over a year later, IMO from the disease that originally made it sick. I felt it was worth seeing the vet because I am working with a rare breed and finding the breed here in Canada is next to impossible. So even a lose of a single bird was too valueable. Yet, one can argue that did I do right because treating the bird still left the bird a possible carrier of what it had and it still perished anyway a year later.

    Many also choose not to see a vet for their flocks out of fear of what might be found. Many owners who feel their flocks are free of disease might be surprised if their birds were tested. Birds easily mask their health and they can be carriers of many diseases. While these diseases may never manifest themselves these birds are still carriers. If a bird becomes stressed for any reason or ill, they may potentially shed that carrier disease. The fear itself is not amongst backyard owners. The commerical poultry industry has long stated that their industry follows disease protocal by keeping poultry in a controlled enviroment free of disease, unlike the backyard keeper. Fear is the transmission of disease from a backyard source into a commercial flock and that is why bodies like the CFIA in Canada and the USDA stress bio security and vaccination.
     
  20. WeeLittleChicken

    WeeLittleChicken Active Member

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    Fascinating conversation but I think a few aspects have been left out. Personally I only vaccinated my flock for coccidia but this was because I had a few cats come down with it so I know its lurking on the property somewhere. So far I'm doing OK there.

    Anyway, besides that there is a few important things to consider. One person mentioned getting your birds from small clean farms rather than hatcheries that have a large number of birds from all over. I agree with one thing to add... no matter where you get your birds from you should always use quarantine. I keep new birds in the house away from all other chickens for at least two weeks. I always wash my hands after dealing with the new birds and when I go outside to deal with my flock I wear different clothing and shoes to eliminate contamination. Is it a bit extreme? Maybe but I have dealt with a lot of animals in my life and I have learned the value of quarantine in a big way. Nothing new coming in here gets away from this. The whole time you have to watch them for signs of sickness and any hint whatsoever and you'll have to take it all into consideration.

    Secondly if you do decide to go the vaccination route some may die but if you look at that from another point of view that may not be a bad thing. The ones that die will be the ones whose immune systems are weaker... and do you really want a weaker animal breeding in your flock? If your intent is not to breed more I guess this wouldn't matter but it is something to think about.