newbie needs help with vaccinations please

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by flossyandprissy, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. flossyandprissy

    flossyandprissy In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2014
    Utah, but from Georgia
    There are no hatcheries in my state. Not one. My neighborhood is zoned for less chickens than most minimum orders from out-of-state hatcheries. I can get chicks at one of two local country stores. Neither order vaccinates chicks (Marek's). They both say that if I feed the chicks medicated feed they will have no problems. (Also planning on keeping a clean, dry brooder of course.) I know there are other vaccinations available, but I have yet to find a vet that does them.

    My question is, are chicks and chickens that have never been vaccinated for anything safe to keep?

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Medicated feed helps them build an immunity to coccidiosis, which lives in the soil. Sometimes chicks get sick from it even on medicated feed; I've never had a probelm with it. It is treatable, by the way. This has nothing to do with Marek's, which I believe is a virus.

    My flock is feed store, unvaccinated chicks. Actually, I;ve never owned a vaccinated chicken to my knowledge, though I've had several different flocks over the years. Many people have kept unvaccinated flocks for years without their picking up a disease. It's not safe in the sense that there is any guarantee they won't get sick -- but the chances are they won't. There are a number of other diseases that chicken can get. I don't even know which there are vaccinations for. You will want to read up on biosecurity measures to protect your flock.

    If you are concerned about whether they mught get you sick, that is highly unlikely, but a different conversation. There is some danger of exposure to salmonella. For this, it is wise to wash hands walso, yll, and cook eggs and meat well. You are no more likely to be exposed from backyard eggs or meat than from store bought. You might want to read up on histoplasmosis. We really shoud wear masks, especially if you are stirring up a lot of chicken dust or handling poop.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’m not sure what you mean by “safe”. Are you talking about you and your family or the chickens?

    The medicated feed is specifically for Coccidiosis. It is not an anti-biotic. It will not affect anything other than Coccidiosis.

    People were keeping chickens for thousands of years before there were any vaccinations. Like any other animal, domesticated or wild, they can get sick. They can pick up parasites. If you know of a specific disease in your area, a vaccination for that specific disease is probably a good idea, but I have never vaccinated my chickens for anything and I have never had any problems. I realize that could change tomorrow.

    Most diseases are pretty species specific. Chicken Marek’s won’t bother turkeys, let alone you. But any animal can possibly transmit a disease to you, not just chickens. Your pet dog can give you salmonella, even a house dog if you let it outside to do its business. How many people worry about that? Not a lot because it doesn’t happen all that often but it can possibly happen.

    With any outside animal (goats, outside dogs, or chickens) it is a good idea to wash your hands after handling them. They are going to be more exposed to certain things than house pets. But I don’t keep my chickens in a sterile environment. I did not raise my kids in a sterile environment. I think their immune system is stronger if it has to work a little. But I did teach my kids to wash their hands. I do try to give my chickens a fairly dry well ventilated environment. I also keep a closed flock, which means I don’t expose the chickens to other chickens so they have a much less chance of getting a disease. To me those are reasonable precautions in line with my risk tolerance.

    There is a risk to anything you do. Even if you stay in bed all day to avoid other risks, you have a risk of getting bedsores. How you manage those risks is up to you.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Songster

    May 23, 2013
    Do you know if poultry has ever been kept on your property before you? Do you have any neighbors with poultry? These are ways that poultry disease could spread to your flock. Heck, you can even bring something home from the feed store, on your shoes or on a feed bag. You can never be too careful.

    Medicated feed is for coccidiosis as the other posters stated.

    There are vaccines for a lot of poultry diseases. The only one that I vaccinate for is Marek's disease. I know that poultry has lived on my property before, and I have watched some BYC posters tragically lose their entire flock to Marek's. I am unwilling to take that risk personally.... after having invested so much. Here is the story of one new poultry owner who went through losing all his birds, he now vaccinates.

    SO it is a very personal choice that no one can make for you. I recommend reading up on it and you can make your own decision.

    What is Marek's disease?

    How-To Vaccinate

    $25 / 1000 doses
    (you need to order syringes separately) - it seems silly to mix a 1000 dose vial, but I figure $25 is a pretty cheap insurance policy (even if I waste 99% of the vaccine bottle)
    1 person likes this.

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