Wow! Thank you for such a comprehensive answer! We are planning on getting our first chickens through a breeder from the Barnevelder club so hopefully is a good and trustworthy source. We will definitely ask if the chicks were vaccinated but it sounds like with good management practices the risks can be lowered significantly.@Gerritses ,
In the Netherlands you are not obliged to vaccinate as long as you don’t have more than 250 chickens.
I can’t answer you’re question to vaccinate or not. Because it all depends on how you want to maintain you're flock.
Most people who start with chickens choose a breed they like from another hobbyists, a ‘exhibition shop, marktplaats or start just random with a chicken that was lost.
Getting sick chickens comes later or if you where well prepared before you get a nasty disease.
I don’t vaccinate. I have a healthy flock and I don’t want to start with vaccinations because they are very expensive if you have only a few chickens and have to go to a vet where everything cost at least 25 euro to start with.
To prevent sicknesses as much as possible I do not introduce new chicks or chickens. I buy fertilised eggs in spring if I have a broody.
Do you know if you're chickens are vaccinated? Some breeders vaccinate standard all the chickens and don't even bother to tell the buyer. In that case you might have a latent Marek. The chickens don’t get sick but ... If you ever want to hatch eggs and the chicks are not vaccinated the chickens with latent Marek can infect the new chicks.
If you have chickens for exhibitions and you want to show you’re finest chickens , you can’t prevent contact with other chickens (and diseases). In that case it is wise but expensive to vaccinate. If you often introduce new chickens in an existing flock its wise to vaccinate too. But if you introduce only from a reliable source and not so often you don't need to vaccinate imo. But better quarantine new chickens a few weeks before you mingle them. And don’t mix chickens with chicks.
There is never a guarantee, but this way it should be quite safe. There are always possibilities something can happen with you’re flock. Bird mites and foxes are often a bigger problem than diseases. So be prepared for them too!
Longer term we are also hoping to eat some of our own chickens as well so this may also be our tactic.@Gerritses
PS 1 My mother always bought laying hybrids. After 3 years my father/brother culled them all. Good for a chicken soup. And again she bought new chickens. So there was never a problem with introducing new chickens.
PS 2 if you like to read things in Dutch about chickens, I recommend reading levendehave.nl . This is a reliable and not commercial site for hobbyists. I find the info quit good.
Great website, I have saved it in my livestock bookmarks folder