I have had to treat an outbreak of fowl pox in one of my flocks. It has been a nightmare, although I am happy to report that there have been no fatalities (yet). I did take one hen into an avian vet because her eyes were swollen closed and she began spitting the food out that I had been forcing into her. I am now tube feeding her.
None of my chickens had any vaccines but I have since purchased the fowl pox vaccine to administer to the other two flocks that I have. The vet said that fowl pox is common in my area.
If you can find out what the typical ailments are in your area, you might want to vaccinate for those things.
When I read up on fowl pox, it said that it was typically not deadly. But, upon further reading, I found out that chickens often die from secondary complications due to the pox. If I had not been at home full time to feed and treat my birds, there is no question that I would have lost some. I may still loose the hen that I'm treating now. She has wet and dry pox and is in very bad shape, regardless of the attention she is getting.
I am trying to gather the nerve to give the vaccine. I've never give any before, but I know now that the vaccine will hurt us a whole lot less than what we've been going through for a month now.
Here is info regarding vaccinating chickens: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps030
Here is info regarding vaccine failure in poultry: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vm062
I've never had my birds vaccinated for anything. Contact your local extension office and find out what poultry diseases are prevelent in your area, then you can decide whether or not to vaccinate your birds.
If you are getting chicks from a hatchery, I would get a Mareks vaccine, and a coccidiosis vaccine if they are available. If you are buying from a feed store or a breeder, it may be too late to give them once they are in your home. Other vaccinations are probably not necessary for most people, unless you live in humid warm climate where mosquitoes carrying fowl pox are prevalent. Newcastles is not a problem in the US. Some farms that have had positive MG in their birds may choose to vaccinate for that. Infectious bronchitis is a common disease, but there are different strains to worry about in order to get the right vaccine. You might check with your state Dept. of Agriculture to find out what diseases are prevalent in your area.
Dawg53, thanks for the recommendation of contacting my local Ag Dept. I was getting myself freaked out over chicken diseases and vaccines, etc. I have 2 parrots to think about as well.
I contacted my local Ag Dept. and all they recommended for my area (Washington) was Mareks (which they got at the hatchery.) I also found out that there is an outbreak of some new disease here but he said that it's been isolated and at this time, there is no need to worry about it. They are emailing me lots of chicken info too. I'm very glad I called!