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New flock - vaccinate or not?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mom2mnem, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. mom2mnem

    mom2mnem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am in the process of ordering our first 28 chicks from Murray McMurray and it is asking me if I want them vaccinated. Please help me decide... Marek's Disease and Coccidiosis are both offered.

    We want to be completely organic - does having vaccinations affect this?

    How does this being a new flock (never having had chickens on this property before, ever) affect the decision?

    There are many wild turkeys that do roam the property. Does that affect the decision?

    If we do or don't vaccinate, how does that affect what we should do with any chicks that we hatch out later?



    They are also offering the following - is any of this good to do? Does any of it negate the organic status?


    We recommend the following for every Baby Chicks order
    QCC Quik Chik 4 oz - Get your chicks off to a good start with this combination of vitamins A, D, E, B-12 and electrolytes. One 4 oz. package takes care of about 200 chicks for 2 weeks.
    $3.95​

    GEL Gro-Gel Plus - Immediate nutrition and hydration for all baby poultry in a very concentrated and digestible form. One packet will be enough for 100 baby chickens.
    $3.90​



    Many thanks as we try to build our flock! The kids are crazy excited! :)
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I'm a firm believer in Mareks disease vaccines, and if coccidiosis vaccines were available for my chicks, I would get it. Those are 2 very devastating chicken diseases. Once Mareks gets on your grounds (and it may already be there) you will lose a high percentage of chickens from now on. Coccidiosis is treatable with amprollium or Corid, but it is a very common and deadly disease. Go for the vaccines. I have used the GroGel, and it is fine, but if you don't buy those, get some Save-A-Chick vitamins/electrolytes from the feed store to have on hand. When chicks come in the mail, they can sometimes be stressed and start dying--this will help to revive them. Turkeys shouldn't be a problem to the chickens, but turkeys can get blackhead from chickens.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. juststruttin

    juststruttin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GEL Gro-Gel Plus - Immediate nutrition and hydration for all baby poultry in a very concentrated and digestible form. One packet will be enough for 100 baby chickens.
    $3.90​



    Many thanks as we try to build our flock! The kids are crazy excited! :)
    Yes, I vaccinate all my birds. If mareks does take hold, you could loose up to 20% of your flock. It is simply not worth the risk.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. chickwhispers

    chickwhispers A French Hen

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    Welcome To BYC!!! [​IMG]

    I agree with @Eggcessive . I get mine vaccinated for Mareks and if I could have the vaccinated for coccidosis I would. This year I will be vaccinating my chicks myself for coccidosis. They are both preventable and can be devastating as @Eggcessive said.

    Vaccines are allowed. Medicated feed is not allowed for organic. Here is a link to a USDA organics brochure that may help you:
    http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5102526
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. TheChickInn

    TheChickInn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since you are just starting out, it would be best to start with the healthiest chicks possible. I think EVERY chicken should be vaccinated for Marek's. If you want to go the organic route- I would also vaccinate for coccidosis, as this can affect many chicks for the first few months of life. If they were to get coccidosis- I'm not sure how you would treat it without antibiotics. I also vaccinate my chicks for Newcastle/Bronchitis and LT ( but we show our chickens, so I am very cautious, because I don't want to bring any diseases back from the shows). Good for you for going organic!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    This is my opinion. Obviously others will disagree with all or part of it. That's the nature of this forum. We all have our own opinion, based on our different conditions, goals, and experiences.

    We want to be completely organic - does having vaccinations affect this?

    To me, organic is more of a lifestyle rather than rigidly fooling rules, but you have some agency that certifies operations being organic in your area. Those rules can vary from one place to another. You can probably locate the one in your area by contacting your county extension agent, in the phone book under county government or online and see what the rules are or better yet, talk to them. To me, since they are live vaccines, it would not bother me. It’s something they could see in nature.

    How does this being a new flock (never having had chickens on this property before, ever) affect the decision?

    Before I got my first chicks here, I contacted my county extension agent to ask about diseases prevalent in this area. He hooked me up with an expert, a person on the team that investigates poultry diseases in this region, who was also a professor teaching poultry science at the state land grant university. After learning that there had been one reported case of Marek’s in the county in the previous two years, I decided it wasn’t worth getting them vaccinated. With Cackle that was a $10 minimum if any were vaccinated so I got 5 more pullets instead.

    Coccidiosis is either in your soil or it is not. It thrives in warm wet areas like the gulf coast. In dried cooler areas it is less likely to be there, but still possible. There are several different possible strains of Coccidiosis, the vaccine only covers some of them so it gives some protection but is not universal.

    The problem with Coccidiosis is not that it is present, it’s when the numbers get out of hand. Remember it thrives in warm wet soil like you might get in a brooder. The normal cycle that causes harm is that the chicks are exposed to Coccidiosis, they poop in the brooder or coop and run, they eat the organism in the poop (which is normal, natural) and the numbers build up to a dangerous level. Some strains are more dangerous than others.

    The chicks will develop an immunity to specific strains of Coccidiosis. What needs to happen is that they need to be exposed to the organism for about three weeks while the numbers are kept in check. I don’t vaccinate. I feed the chicks in the brooder dirt from the run where the adults are starting on day 2 or 3 in the brooder, and give them some more every 4 to 5 days. This gives them grit, gives them any probiotics the adults have, and lets them start building flock immunities. I keep the brooder pretty dry.

    I’ll mention a warning. You can get medicated feed, which is fine and won’t hurt them, but it may wipe out any benefits from vaccination. If you get them vaccinated, don’t feed medicated feed.

    Something else on medicated feed. It is not an antibiotic (probably organic but I’m not sure. Another question for your local agency). It inhibits but does not stop the reproduction of the coccidiosis. They can still get Coccidiosis in a brooder, especially if it is wet, even if you feed medicated feed. Something I’ve seen on this forum is when people feed medicated feed in the brooder before they have been exposed to the Coccidiosis so it does no good, but stop feeding it when they go outside and are first exposed to Coccidiosis. If the run is a bit wet, they can come s=down with a dangerous case of Coccidiosis.


    There are many wild turkeys that do roam the property. Does that affect the decision?

    Interesting question. The vaccine they use for Marek’s is actually turkey Marek’s not chicken Marek’s. It does not stop the chickens from getting chicken Marek’s, it prevents the lesions that cause the damage from forming. The chickens can still catch Marek’s and be carriers, but they won’t show any symptoms. But they need to be exposed to the turkey Marek’s virus a week or more before they are exposed to chicken Marek’s before the benefit develops. That’s not going to happen unless they are kept totally isolated from any chance of exposure. Marek’s is spread by the wind. If there is any flock within a mile or maybe more, your flock may be exposed.

    Wild turkeys does not affect the decision for me. For Marek’s it makes no difference. Other wild birds can spread Coccidiosis. I don’t feel that turkey sad to the risk or Coccidiosis any more than robins or sparrows.

    If we do or don't vaccinate, how does that affect what we should do with any chicks that we hatch out later?

    I don’t see that it makes any difference. Coccidiosis is either there or it is not. The turkey Marek’s is not passed down from one generation to another. I don’t see that these vaccinations affect the chicks at all.

    They are also offering the following - is any of this good to do? Does any of it negate the organic status?

    I have no idea if it is organic or not. I don’t do any of that, though you’ll see a lot of people on here really strongly believe in it. I give mine clean water and Chick Starter, then every few days feed them dirt from the run. Mine do fine. When you first get them, you can dissolve a small amount of sugar in the water, or give them some of that hummingbird syrup, diluted some. The sugar gives them a boost of energy. Just be sure to take that away within 12 hours or so before it goes sour and clean the waterer well. Or, in my opinion, you can use that stuff if you like spending money.
     
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  7. mom2mnem

    mom2mnem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies thus far. I've searched the forums on the topic and see that most people do recommend the vaccines. I am really hoping to find a USDA certification document that will answer my specific questions about organic chickens. I've seen answers go both ways on whether they can be vaccinated or not and still be organic, so I'd like to see the "official" answer if you will...

    chickwhispers - that link is probably something I'm looking for, but it won't load for me. ?

    I'm going to assume that Gro-Gel is not allowed to be given to organic birds. I'd love to know if anyone has come up with their own concoction to provide the same benefit and still be organic.
     
  8. mom2mnem

    mom2mnem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner, I hadn't seen your reply when I posted my previous reply. Excellent information - thank you for your time!! I will definitely call my extension office and see what information I can glean from there. Thanks!
     
  9. chickwhispers

    chickwhispers A French Hen

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    I think the site is having a few issues right now. I went to USDA.gov then clicked on Programs and clicked on National organic Program from the drop down box. There you will find all of the USDA regulations and requirements for organic standards. They are very specific. Even the bedding and litter used must be organic certified. I hope this helps! [​IMG]
     
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  10. TheChickInn

    TheChickInn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner- You have some great info in your post- thanks for that! One thing I would like to mention though, is that many people treat their chickens as livestock, instead of pets like many of us on BYC do- therefore, I think when people lose a chicken to disease, they often will just dispose of it- not finding out what the cause of death actually was. Years ago, I started out with some chicks that were NOT vaccinated for Marek's, and we lost half of them at around 4-5 months old. My children were devastated, as these were pets and all had names. I did take 2 chickens that had perished in for testing, they had Marek's! We decided to start over, and while it may be a little overkill with all of the vaccines that I give to our small flock, I have had a very healthy flock, and have never regretted giving the vaccines. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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