BIO SECURITY Do I worry too much? Or should we all do more?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by 202roosterlane, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    Well to start off, I have been raising chickens for almost one year. Bought my first chickens from ATWOODS and TSC. Then I got a few from a local Market and a BYC friend and now I have hatched over 50 eggs myself. Many for the local 4H, my sisters, friends. But a lot I raise myself. I have had a few come down with Black fowl pox, which of course disappeared. I had a few with coryza (IMO) that were put down and I know a friend that one of hers had cocci.

    With that said, as I read about all the diseases out there and how they are spread, i.e. some can travel a mile in the breeze, or you can bring it home from the state fair, I worry do my chicken really stand a chance? Here are a few things I do:

    I do put new birds at the other side of the property for up to 2 weeks.
    I do clean out the coops from poop and wood shavings twice a month.
    Then I spray down 100% of everything inside the coop with a bleach/water solution and re-wipe and scrub.
    Then I spray down with oxine.
    After that airs out and dries I spray poultry protector
    then I lay fresh wood chips and respray poultry protector.
    Then I air out the coop for hours before I let them come back in. (Chip/fumes)
    In between changing the shavings monthly I add DE to the chips to remove smell or moisture and some pests (I hope) and YES sometimes when the chickens are locked outside in the runs, I sneak in and spray LYSOL everywhere..... I mean everywhere. I close the doors and windows for 30 minutes and then I open it all up to air out.

    Once a week I rake inside the coop to get take "stuff" out that gathers in the coop and try to scrap the top of the dirt out too.
    Once or twice a month, when the chicken are locked inside the coop and cannot come into the run, I take the food and water dispenses out and then I spray the entire run, doors, wire roosts and DIRT down with 1/2 bleach/1/2 water solution. To include outside the run, where I walk and can transfer poop from walking in and out. I let that sit all night.


    Since my dispensers are 3, 5, and 10 gals I only water every other day in the winter and once or twice a day in the summer. My largest food dispenser is 7 pounds but I only put in 1/2 that. I also like to throw a small amount on the ground (which I worry about, but my Grandmother always did.)
    The food dispensers are plastic and I like to hose them off once a week and spray with a bleach/water solution, then rinse really well once a week.
    I have both plastic and metal type water dispensers. I do the same for them as the food dispensers. But they ALWAYS need SCRUBBED.
    In the water dispenser I like to put the appropriate amount of Apple Cider Vinegar in the to help the chickens as well as keep the slime off the inside of the containers. I know they say it is not good for the metal cans but so far I cannot tell a real difference. They look fine.
    Every once in a while after scrubbing them out I will run then through the dishwasher.


    I do in the summer use the poultry protector and luke warm water and give them a dip for 1 minute ( they love it once they are in it LOL)
    I also put down a little poultry powder in the bedding and lightly dust the chickens with it to prevent mites etc.
    Once a month or more I go in at night and lightly mist the air with the appropriate mixed oxine for they chickens to inhale.

    BUT THIS is the hard part. I am sure the chicks I bought at TSC and ATWOODS were not vaccinated as well as my new chicks for Maraks, Fowl Pox, New Castle, or anything else out there that we can vaccinate them for. I know there is a lot of meds out there to treat some of the diseases chickens can catch but I would like to try and PREVENT them from getting them.

    Now On they same line as prevention. How do you go to a County or State Fair and not worry you are bring something home to your chickens. And goodness forbid you put your prize chicken into the show and have to leave it the 3-4 days. I know those chicken have to prove the have been tested but that's only for a few diseases. So, what do you use to boost your chickens' immune system during show? Is it possible?


    At home I have 2 pair of chicken work shoes.....plastic crocks and plastic rubber boots.
    After each wear I rinse outside the chicken run, walk up to the house and (THAT's RIGHT you guessed it LOL) I spray 1/4 bleach to 3/4 water bottle on the shoes or boots. Let dry in the garage.
    If I go to someone else's house, I went out and bought another pair of crocks (Dollar General kind) for his house only. When I return They get hosed/sprayed and dried and put away. My cloths go into the laundry. I do not wear the same cloths from his house and then walk to my coops. Hands get washed.
    When I babysat his chickens I did the same. It was crazy for a week changing clothes three times a day. But I have a pile of JUST work clothes.

    I am sure I have forgotten something. Now I know there are A LOT of you guys that don't worry or do any of this stuff and your chickens are fine but I have hear around here as well as read on BYC, there is a problem. I have a lot of chickens and I cannot afford to let one sick chicken wipe out all of them.

    So I ask, What do you do as far as BIO SECURITY? What do I do that will not work/ What am I doing right? What should I be doing? Please let keep this nice, everyone has an opinion and I will truly appreciate all of them.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  2. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    Feel free to post pics and ideas or articles.
  3. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    I take minimum precautions. Like I don't bring in birds from the outside. I make sure they have plenty of space, good feed, clean water, and a dry coop. Beyond that I expect their immune systems to do their job. I have never had to deal with sick chickens. If I did, I would cure the problem with an axe. Personally, I am not willing to deal with sick chickens or sick rabbits. If they don't have a healthy immune system, I don't want them. But that is just me.
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I think you're doing what you can to prevent diseases from infecting your flock. Introducing birds from different places, going to state fair poultry shows etc...forces you to take the steps that you have to do....that being said, some birds were still infected with what you suspected was coryza. Even if you maintained a closed flock; none in, none out...a wild bird could easily introduce something. I maintain basic biosecurity and good common sense... nothing out of the ordinary.
    I forgot to add a couple of links regarding vaccinating, here you go:
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  5. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    Thank you Cassi and Dawg53. I have a few friends that think I am over board but I have almost 5 grand invested between chickens houses, runs, food/water dispensers, constant wood chips, feed, medicines for the first aid kit and buying eggs and chickens. Not to mention the 5 dog carriers for transporting chickens. It's not a business and just started out a wanting chickens like the good ole days. I am retired so I can spend all day tending to them. But it's painful to loose one you have raised for a year. Ugh the food, money and love. Not to mention the electricity bill when they hatched LOL How do you feel about the vaccinations. I think we should do this. It's like the last thing I can think of to insure (possibly) that they may not come down with something.

    What can be done to ensure good health for a chicken while in a show for a few days? Thanks Pauletta Oh and thank you I am going to read those articles right now [​IMG]

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  6. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    OKAY, I am posting this from DAWG53 for those of you who hate to click on links. VERY good information.
    Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks 1


    Vaccination is an effective means to prevent and/or reduce the adverse effects of specific diseases in poultry. Poultry refers to birds that people keep for their use, and generally includes chicken, turkey, duck, goose, quail, pheasant, pigeon, guinea fowl, pea fowl, ostrich, emu and rhea.

    Disease-causing organisms can be classified, smallest to largest, as viruses, mycoplasma, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and parasites. All these organisms are susceptible to chemotherapy, except viruses. Control of viral diseases is dependent upon prevention through sanitation and biosecurity, and by vaccination.

    Strict sanitation and biosecurity are essential for successful poultry production. Vaccination is no substitute for effective management. It must be understood that vaccines may be effective in reducing clinical disease, but exposed birds, in most cases, still become infected and shed disease organisms.


    Commercial poultry are usually vaccinated to protect them against a variety of diseases. Vaccination, however, is seldom practiced by small flock owners. There may be several reasons for this, including:
    •Rarely have disease problems
    •Unaware that disease is present
    •Do not get the disease properly diagnosed
    •Do not know where to purchase vaccines
    •Too expensive because poultry vaccines usually come in 500 to 10,000 dose vials.

    Unfortunately, small poultry flocks do suffer from many diseases which could be controlled through appropriate vaccination. These diseases may result in loss of income from the sale of eggs, meat or stock. Other losses may include death of valuable breeding stock, or the inability to participate at poultry shows. This can be especially devastating for youth with 4-H or FFA projects.

    Deciding whether or not to vaccinate against a disease depends on the likelihood that the birds in a flock may be exposed to that specific disease. If a flock is closed, such that new birds are never introduced and the birds that leave the farm are not permitted to return, the likelihood of many diseases is greatly reduced. In these cases, since the risk is small, the owner may decide not to vaccinate.

    Vaccination should be considered if the flock owner has experienced one or more of the following:
    •Takes birds to poultry shows
    •Buys birds from hatcheries, bird auctions, or other sources and adds them to an existing flock
    •Has had disease problems in the past


    Viruses stimulate the development of immunity better than do other types of microorganisms, so most successful poultry vaccines are against viral diseases.

    Vaccines contain either live or killed micro-organisms. Live-virus vaccines reproduce in the host to increase their numbers. A killed-virus product is dependent upon the number of antigenic units (e.g., virus particles) present in the vaccine dose to stimulate antibody production. Most poultry vaccines are the live-virus type. Bacterial vaccines are live or inactivated preparations of bacteria and are termed bacterins.

    Marek's disease
    Marek's disease vaccine is usually administered to chickens at the hatchery on the day of hatch. It is given subcutaneously (under the skin) at the back of the neck. It is best to order chicks already vaccinated at the hatchery.
    It has been demonstrated that the vaccine only prevents the appearance of Marek's disease tumors and paralysis. It does not prevent the birds from becoming infected with and shedding the Marek's virus.
    Chickens 2 to 16 weeks of age (prior to sexual maturity) are susceptible to Marek's disease. While Marek's disease can occasionally occur in pheasants, quail, game fowl, and turkeys, these poultry species do not normally receive Marek's vaccinations.

    Newcastle disease
    Chickens and turkeys can be immunized against Newcastle disease. Low-virulence live-virus vaccines are administered by a variety of routes such as drinking water, intraocular (eye drops), intranasal (nose drops), spray). Killed-virus oil emulsion vaccines are administered to pullets intramuscularly or subcutaneously as a final vaccine prior to the onset of egg production.
    Chicks are often vaccinated at the hatchery against Newcastle disease and infectious bronchitis with a combination vaccine. Day-old poultry vaccinated for Newcastle disease can not be shipped through the mail.
    The combination Newcastle-Infectious Bronchitis vaccine can also be given at 10-35 days. The vaccine can be administered via the drinking water, intraocular route or intranasal route. For breeder and layer flocks the vaccine needs to be repeated at 3-month intervals to maintain protective immunity. Alternatively, an inactivated vaccine can be given at the time of housing (18-20 weeks). Further vaccinations should not be required with this procedure. In breeder flocks, the high antibody level obtained by repeated vaccinations will assure transmission of a uniform parental immunity to offspring.
    If you purchase pullets or mature chickens to add to your vaccinated flock, they can be vaccinated with Newcastle disease (B-1) vaccine via drinking water, intraocular or intranasal routes. The more reactive LaSota Newcastle disease vaccine is then given 4 weeks later.
    Turkeys are often vaccinated against Newcastle disease at 4 weeks of age, and again when the breeders are housed.

    Infectious bronchitis

    Infectious bronchitis is primarily a respiratory disease of chickens.Modified live-virus vaccines (usually containing the Massachusetts serotype) are administered in young chickens. Vaccines are effective only if they contain the right serotype of virus for a given area. Do not vaccinate during an outbreak.

    Infectious bronchitis is often combined with Newcastle vaccine in the same vial and given at the hatchery or at 10-35 days of age (see section on Newcastle disease).
    Killed-virus vaccines (oil emulsion base) are also available. They are administered by injection (subcutaneous or intramuscular) to breeders from 14-18 weeks of age.


    Laryngotracheitis (LT) affects both chickens and pheasants. Vaccination against LT is not as successful as for other diseases, but is an excellent preventive measure for use in outbreaks and in epidemic areas. State approval is required prior to vaccination. Do not vaccinate unless you have a problem on your farm or in your area. If an owner chooses to vaccinate, all chickens on the premises must be vaccinated, including any new birds that are added later. Yearly boosters are advised.
    The vaccine is administered by the eye- or nose-drop method. Birds should be at least 4 weeks old. Younger birds are less responsive to vaccines.
    Rapid diagnosis and vaccination can also stop an outbreak from spreading in an infected flock.

    Fowl pox

    There are six closely related strains of pox virus. These are fowl pox, pigeon pox, quail pox, canary pox, psittacine pox, and ratite pox. Pigeon pox infects pigeons, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. Canary pox infects canaries, chickens, sparrows, and probably other species. In some instances, but not always, exposure to one of the viruses stimulates development of immunity to that virus and one or more of the other viruses.
    Pox can be prevented in chickens, turkeys and pigeons by vaccination, but there is no effective commercial vaccine against canary pox.
    Chickens and pigeons are usually vaccinated by the wing web stick method. An applicator with two slotted needles is dipped in vaccine and thrust through the wing web. Turkeys are not generally vaccinated by the wing web route. Turkeys sleep with their head under the wing. Conjunctival (eye) pox can occur if the vaccine is administered to turkeys via the wing web. Instead, turkeys are vaccinated by a thigh-stick method.

    On farms with severe fowl pox problems, vaccination of all domestic poultry may be necessary. All domestic chicks and poults can be vaccinated at 1 day of age, pullets at 10 to 12 weeks, and turkeys at 8 to 14 weeks or when moved to range.
    In endemic areas, the prevailing virus type should be determined. Quail pox has been shown to affect chickens. There is no cross protection between quail pox and fowl pox. Vaccination for both may be necessary if both are endemic in the area. Flocks can be given fowl pox vaccination to reduce the severity of an outbreak.

    Do not vaccinate unless you have a problem on your farm or in your area. The virus is spread from bird to bird through the bites of blood-sucking insects (such as mosquitos) or through wounds and scratches by the birds when fighting. If there is a heavy mosquito infestation in an area, small flock owners may consider vaccinating with fowl pox vaccine.
    In problem areas requiring fowl-pox vaccination of baby chicks, the flock should be revaccinated after reaching 8 weeks of age or older to assure lasting immunity.

    Fowl cholera

    Fowl cholera affects most birds including domestic fowl (primarily chickens and turkeys), game birds (especially pheasants), ducks, cage birds, wild birds, and birds in zoological collections and aviaries.

    There are two types of fowl cholera vaccines -- live attenuated and inactivated bacterins. The oral vaccine is a live attenuated culture that is administered in the drinking water. Such vaccines are available for chickens and turkeys. Oil-emulsion bacterins require a series of two injections given at 4 week intervals.

    Do not vaccinate for fowl cholera unless you have had a problem on your farm or in your area.

    Avian encephalomyelitis

    Avian encephalomyelitis (AE) is a viral infection of poultry, primarily chickens, turkeys, pheasants, and coturnix quail. Lifetime immunity is acquired through vaccination or recovery from a natural outbreak. Breeder chickens are vaccinated at 10-16 weeks of age. The vaccine is administered in the drinking water. Pheasants are vaccinated at 5-10 weeks of age and bobwhite quail at 6-10 weeks of age.

    Avian encephalomyelitis should not be confused with St. Louis encephalitis. St. Louis encephalitis is transmitted by mosquitos and affects humans, with the severity of the disease influenced by the age and immune status of the person affected and the virulence of the virus. Domestic animals including the dog, cat, horse, chicken, etc., do not develop clinical signs of St. Louis encephalitis after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

    Vaccination of poultry younger than 10 days of age cannot be expected to produce uniform or lasting immunity, even in the absence of parental immunity. An exception is that vaccination for Marek's disease is ordinarily given on the day of hatch.

    • Rotate vaccine stock. An outdated product may have deteriorated.

    • Each vaccine is designed for a specific route of administration. Use only the recommended route.

    • Do not vaccinate sick birds (except in outbreaks of laryngotracheitis or fowl pox).

    • Protect vaccines from heat and direct sunlight.

    • Most vaccines are living, disease-producing agents. Handle them with care.

    • When using the drinking-water method of vaccination, be sure the water is free of sanitizers and chlorine. Live-virus vaccines are readily destroyed by these chemicals.

    • After vaccinating, burn or disinfect all opened containers to prevent accidental spread to other poultry.

    The quality of a vaccine cannot be guaranteed if the product is mishandled or improperly used after it leaves the manufacturing plant. All vaccines are labeled with instructions for use and dates of expiration.


    Hatcheries and poultry suppliers are usually the best sources for vaccines. Be sure to carefully follow label directions when vaccinating.

    Many effective vaccines are available for the small flock owner. Diseases such as Marek's disease or fowl pox need not cause devastating losses in any flock, regardless of its size.

    Unfortunately, poultry vaccines are produced in large dose vials intended for commercial use. This is for the convenience of vaccine manufacturers and of commercial producers who often have several thousand birds to vaccinate at one time. This, however, should not prevent the small producer from immunizing his birds. Plan to vaccinate the entire flock at one time, and possibly coordinate vaccination with neighboring poultry flock owners so the vaccine and expense can be shared.


    1.This document is PS36, one of a series of the Animal Science Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date April 1998. Reviewed April 2009. Visit the EDIS Web Site at

    2.J.P. Jacob, poultry extension coordinator, G.D. Butcher, extension poultry veterinarian, and F.B. Mather, poultry extension specialist, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


    The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension service.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Millie Ferrer-Chancy, Interim Dean.
  7. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    I am thinking after reading both those links I feel like it's better to vaccinate them and hope for the best than to do nothing and possibly regret it later. You could go 2 years with no disease and then they start dropping like flies. I mean think about what you spent on one chicken for an entire year. Why not vaccinate, it's like insurance. Not the best insurance but never the less.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  8. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    See your a good example of probably not having anything to worry about. But I am wanting to take this chicken raising to the next level and go to shows, meet-ups and if I get a notion (LOL) buy a pretty adult chicken. But honestly I am not sure now. I would really have to know the farm I buy from.

  9. potluck

    potluck Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2011
    I love bleach - I have always used it to clean - even before I had chickens, but I think 50/50 may be a little too strong. I use it to wash my deck and house siding and follow that recomended formula -1 cup bleach, 1/2 cup laundry detergent, to 1 gallon of warm water in sprayer - spray on let sit for a few minutes scrub with stiff brush and rinse with hose sprayer or pressure washer. Also I think immunity is something that has to be built thru exposure - I don't think you can boost immunity.
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:My province will vaccinate for ILT for free. It is required for you to show them. All of mine have been vaccinated. Only issue with that was three had eye cheese for two days following the drops. A couple had swollen sinuses.

    I worry a lot as well. I do not use bleach or lysol. I will do a thorough cleaning twice a year (with bleach and what not). I do wash their water containers weekly (if not more). ACV really helps keep the slime to a minimum so it's easier to clean [​IMG]

    ETA: They send a vet out to do the vaccinating. I did not do it myself.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011

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