reply I got from small hatchery - this isn't universally true, is it?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by red-hen, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. red-hen

    red-hen Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Hi all,

    I am not going to name the names of the seller who gave me this reply, but I want to know the truth.

    First - About HATCHERY #1
    - I am going to buy a bunch of bantams later this summer from a fairly large hatchery where they DO vaccinate their bantams for Marek's. Part of my requirement for any chicks I buy is that they have to be vaccinated. Since this hatchery has been in business for many decades /generations and I have not been able to dig up anything remotely negative about their operation online, I feel safe believing that their vaccination will be as effective for my bantams as it would for the larger chicks.

    Second - About HATCHERY #2
    I saw a couple chicks offered at hatchery 2 that I couldn't get at hatchery 1, but didn't know the second hatcheries policy on vaccinating. So I emailed hatchery 2 ... and this is what they claim:

    Because bantams are so small, the vaccinations are extremely difficult to give properly, so many of them would be unprotected, even though they would have technically been vaccinated. Can you imagine how upset--and rightly so--people would be if they thought their chicks were vaccinated and lost them, anyway? It certainly wouldn't have anything to do with the factor of money.

    If I believed that, I would assume bantams were unvaccinate-able. This is not correct is it? Would you assume it is only that the second hatchery is not as skilled at vaccination procedures? Hatchery 2 is a very tiny operation compared to hatchery 1. They have very small hatches.

    This answer just ruffled my feathers I guess. I'd like your thoughts.​
  2. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Hi Red-Hen:

    I'm guessing you have a much larger chicken operation than I, so my response is more of a question than anything else.

    I buy my baby chicks from a "reseller." What that means is that I don't buy 25 at a time. I don't have room for hundred's of chickens. I'm a "backyard" person with about 10 to 12 at a time.

    So far, I have never vaccinated a chicken. It could be because I don't have that many.

    Also, my chicken's free range and have a lot of room to run around in trees, and bushes. They are not in a location where a disease could spread from one to the next quickly.

    Up to now, in about eight years, I have lost some chickens, yes, but not to a communicable disease.

    Am I risking something here?
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I have no idea how hard or not it is to vaccinate bantams, but I daresay it is not impossible.
    Jajika, I have never vaccinated my birds for anything in the entire time I've had chickens and I dont plan to ever do so. I've never had any communicable illness in my flock, either.
  4. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    I know very little about the subject but have seen on tv where the vaccine was given through the egg shell BEFORE hatching, and I've also seen them vaccinate the chicks after hatching.
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I do know that it is hard to vaccinate the just hatched standards and that there are accidents with them...some die. I imagine bantams being so much smaller would be even more difficult. Imposible? No. Nothing is impossible.

    Vaccination for Mareks for small backyard flocks is not really necessary. Mareks is a problem for huge flocks and rarely invades a backyard flock.

    Here is some information on Mareks from MPC:

    Marek's disease is a deadly, highly contagious "lymphoproliferative" disease affecting chickens. It is the #1 disease-related killer of chickens. It can cause paralysis, blindness and death in up to 80% of an infected flock. There is no cure for a flock once it has been infected; the only way to prevent the disease is to vaccinate. In our experience, small, isolated backyard flocks are less prone to infection than larger flocks (though to our knowledge there's no evidence to back this up!).

  6. I live in middle tennessee where I think most everyone has either game chickens or bantys,since they all run wild i would think that none of them had ever been vaccinated.Asfar as i know the only thing that kills them here is critters, hawks or cars.
  7. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    vaccines can be done different ways. most common is injected in to the birs neck or sprayed on them like a mist. one other way is the vaccine is injected in to the egg before it hatches.

    no the spray shouldnt be a problem. the injection types could be hard to do on the small birds.

    if memory serves correct, merks is an injectible and cocci is a spray.

    go to youtube and search for hatchery, they have vids that show the three methods i mentioned.
  8. red-hen

    red-hen Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Thanks for getting back to me everyone.

    I don't want to go into the merits of vaccinating vs not vaccinating - but I will vaccinate all of my chicks. And no, my operation is quite small.

    Futurechickenman - thanks for that info. I'm going to do some more searching. I'll find out as much as possible one way or another. I also have questions in to the USDA and FDA regarding which vaccinations are permitted etc. I'm not seeking certification, but I want to follow their standards where I can.
  9. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    All of this advice/information is extremely useful and valid.

    In terms of disease and chicken flock, I'm sure there are no absolutes. Although I have a "backyard" flock, I'd be foolish to think "it can't happen here."

    The backyard chicken craze is growing like crazy. I buy from a place that sells less than 25, I think I mentioned this.

    I went to get some new chick's on Sunday from my reseller. I have never had a problem picking from a large selection.

    This past Sunday, they were out! The owner said he has never sold so many chickens ever than he has this year. Look how many more "backyard" Web sites, magazines, and information.

    All this translates to the opportunity of disease spreading through neighborhoods, from one backyard to another. [​IMG]
  10. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    Hello! I have been doing a bit of research for you and have had a terrible time trying to find out if Bantams are vaccination compatible, so to speak. [​IMG] The best I can come up with for you is that I have found a Bantam website. The site address is I could not find any info. on vaccinations on their site, BUT they do have an e-mail link and a phone number. Maybe you could visit their site and then e-mail or call them to see if they could give you any information regarding this matter.

    I have been told that you cannot vaccinate Bantams safely due to their small size. This is here say, so I hate to tell you that you can't. Merek's is very real and very devastating. I have even read threads here on BYC from small backyard flock owners that have had to deal with Merek's and how horrible it has been for them. You are doing the right thing in vaccinating your babies. When the cost of this vaccination is only 10 or 15 cents, it is so worth it! Much cheaper than a soda pop! I hope the website that I have found can help you out with this. Sorry I could not help more myself. Good luck! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008

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