Confused about vaccinations

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Andi, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a small flock of 4 pullets and have planned for the addition of 2 more (toying with 1 more on top of that) in a month. The flock is 14 weeks right now, as is the 2 that are coming in a month.

    I purchased them as day or so old chicks from a farm store near us. I have no idea if they had any vaccinations when we got them. Because they were so little and they made no mention of quarantining them, I'm guessing not. The 2 coming in a month have been recently vaccinated, but with what I don't know. I haven't done any vaccinating.

    When I got the chicks I decided to not feed them medicated feed, partially because I don't want to eat the medications I'm feeding them, and also because I wanted to be a source for my mom to get eggs. A couple years ago she went through chemo and has had to change her diet. Store bought eggs make her sick, and organic eggs are ridiculously priced in her area.

    Would vaccinating my pullets defeat the purpose of keeping my eggs free from all the crap that commercial places pump into their birds and affect the eggs? I don't want my mom getting sick.

    My girls aren't allowed to free range because I have close neighbors, but there are at least 4 different turkey farms (all indoor birds) within about 4 miles. The closest is about a mile away. There is also some people that live about 2 city blocks from us that have penned chickens also. Would that increases my girls' risk factor.

    I did a search for vaccinations on BYC, the internet, and my states university extension service but didn't find what I was looking for.

    Does anyone have a list of vaccination guidelines for chickens? You know, like the ones that are out there for our kids. Do this vaccine for this at such and such age to combat whatever and the pros and cons of administering them.

    One of the concerns I have is with the new birds that I'm planning to introduce. Am I going to have to be worrying about those infecting mine or vise verse?

    If I decide to vaccinate, where do I get the vaccinations?

  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    In my opinion, you really have no need to vaccinate. In a small, well-kept backyard flock, the chances of your birds getting sick is very slim, if (and that's a big IF) you practice good biosecurity. That means no one else that owns chickens goes into your coop or run. If you're really particular, no one else at all goes into the coop or run. You have a special pair of shoes that you wear only into the coop and run. If you bring in new birds, they are kept quarantined far away from the rest of your flock for at least 30 days. Some people won't even bring in new birds, they hatch their own eggs or buy hatching eggs from others on BYC.

    I have no clue if you can vaccinate older birds, it's usually done when they are a day old, before they are shipped from the hatchery.

    Hope this was helpful!
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:The actual amount of vaccine going into the chick, even if 100% of the stuff stays in the chicken's body til adulthood which it doesn't necessary, is SO TINY that it is inconceivable to me that there would be any detectible in eggs even by the most powerful of instruments.

    If your mom cannot eat storebought eggs, it is possible that she is allergic/sensitive to eggs *period*, in which case you are stuck; but it is possible that if you feed the hens a different diet she might be ok with them (it may be soy or fishmeal, for instance, in the hens' feed that's passing through to the eggs that's bothering your mom). You would probalby have to experiment.

    there are at least 4 different turkey farms (all indoor birds) within about 4 miles. The closest is about a mile away. There is also some people that live about 2 city blocks from us that have penned chickens also. Would that increases my girls' risk factor.

    For various diseases, you mean? Yes, but since there is nothing whatsoever you can do about it, I wouldn't worry about it [​IMG]

    As far as vaccinations, people do not normally vaccinate for anything except maybe Mareks' (and there are good arguments both pro and con, on that one, except that if you have already had a severe strain of Mareks on your property you might indeed be best off vaccinating for it). These days hatcheries also offer coccidia vaccination but I am personally unconvinced it is worthwhile for most people in most situations.

    There are a lot of other things you *can* vaccinate for, but most hatcheries don't even offer those vaccinations (you would have to buy 1000-dose vials and do it yourself) and frankly it is not worthwhile IMO for most backyarders, unless you KNOW that you have a strong local/regional problem with a particular disease being rampant.

    Personally, I would suggest focussing on giving your chickens the best living conditions possible, lotsa space, low stress, good diet, etc... and not stress on the vaccination thing so much. It'll most likely be fine, and if they DO get something, it will probably not be something that prudent vaccination could have prevented *anyhow* [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    I have no clue if you can vaccinate older birds, it's usually done when they are a day old, before they are shipped from the hatchery.

    If you are refering to Marek's, you can vaccinate older birds. If you do, you should vaccinate all at the same time. You can mail order vaccine, or order through a vet.

    I don't know if Marek's vaccination residual can pass to eggs, but I know the resistance from a vaccinated parent does not pass on to the chick. I would suspect, therefore, that the attenuated MDV does not pass to the egg, but I do not know. Ask a vet if this is a concern.

    I would suspect that, as Pat pointed out, your mom is more likely reacting to something in the diet of commercial layers, if you know that she can eat "organic" eggs and not "regular commercial" eggs. Diet can make a big difference in the resulting eggs. If there are organic eggs your mom *can* eat, fid out who supplies them, and ask if they vaccinate against Marek's. If they do, and she's fine, you have your answer.

    Btw- if you do vaccinate, your birds carry an attenuated virus that does not adversely affect the bird. On the other hand, if you don't vaccinate, it's possible for an adult bird to be carrying "real" Marek's and you might not even know it.

    If you do feed medicated feed, you do would generally only do this for the early weeks of a chick's life. It will be months before those chicks are laying. We generally feed our birds an organic diet, but medicated chick starter feed is one concession we make.​
  5. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    She's eaten organic eggs and eggs from people that have just a few egg layers without problems. She also has to eat organic chicken meat also.

    The reason I suspected medications is with all the turkey farms around here, I do know some people that work on the turkey farms, and they have mentioned that the turkeys get a lot of medications, and at high rates. I imagine that's so they don't loose any of their birds.

    I suppose diet fits into the equation. I haven't thought to discuss it with any of the turkey farmers. The medications just seemed to stand out. I'll have to ask. I would think commercial turkey practices are similar to commercial chicken ones.

  6. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Large scale operations who work as a business vacinate because one sick bird means every bird in that building is risked.

    They're kept in such close living quarters that they all have to be protected.

    There may even be FDA regulations for commercially raised fowl, but it's atleast standard procedure in any large commercial fowl operation.

    Small home flocks on the other hand, your best bet is the quarentine of new birds, and keeping all with clean, fresh water, sanitary housing... ect.
  7. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't have space to quarantine the 2 birds I'm getting in a month. How worried should I be?

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