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vaccinating chicks

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vaccinating chicks

Postby jaqueelee » 09 Oct 2010, 21:34

if you buy eggs for hatching or purchase day old chicks how do you go about ensuring that they have cover needed against disease - as when you purchase POL most breeders say hens have been vaccinated - presumably chics have not. I know people using this site hatch their own eggs - could you please advise procedure? Do you have to go to a vet? thanks for your advice!
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Re: vaccinating chicks

Postby tweedy » 09 Oct 2010, 22:03

Only breeders of large quantities vaccinate generally as vaccinations come in doses of a 1000 and are done as chicks. Small breeders rarely vaccinate as disease is rarely a major problem in small flocks.
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Re: vaccinating chicks

Postby birdman » 10 Oct 2010, 01:00

I have started vaccinating for mareks disease as close to day old as possible (the idea is to infect the chicks with a mild form of the virus before they come into contact with a more virulent strain)
the vaccine is live so needs to be stored correctly, it comes with a bag of dillutent
you have to mix the 2 together and use it within 2 hours before the virus dies
you hold the chick in one hand secured with your thumb and little finger whilst holding one of its legs outstretched between your fore and index finger (as if holding a cigarette) and inject 0.2 mls into the thigh.
some say into the skin at the back of the neck but in practice you can't secure the head properly and one sudden move on the chicks part could see the needle in the spinal column.
this happened once with a pigeon that snatched its head back suddenly whilst I was vaccinating for paramyxovirus - not a happy day!
even after vaccination for marek's birds will still occasionally contract the disease or should I say exhibit clinical symptoms, but it happens much less frequently than with unvaccinated birds
theoretically a mother hen could pass the the virus used in vaccination to her chicks just as she could pass a more virulent strain (I have read some literature that suggests that it takes 10 passes of a mild strain for the virus to become virulent)
vaccine strains are either attenuated meaning weakened or obtained from the turkey herpes virus which is the same principle as using cow pox(mild in humans)to protect against small pox
I also have some newcastle disease and infectious bronchitis vaccine in store
but as my birds are now in for the winter and are unlikely to come into contact with other birds and becouse these vaccines only give protection for 6 weeks (and giving them can trigger an attack of mycoplasma) I consider it not worth giving it at the moment. Obviously if some bird in the vicinity were to develope either of these diseases then it may be worth it.
Birdman
PS although the vaccines are in 1000 dose packs they are quite cheep -somewhere in the region of £18
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Re: vaccinating chicks

Postby jaqueelee » 10 Oct 2010, 20:34

Thank you both for your replies - will check with the breeder as if it can be done close to a day old then they may have done them.. If I decide to hatch eggs the product of which will remain with my back garden flock - all of which were vaccinated - although after reading your post I wonder what they have been vaccinated against - where can I get the vaccine if I need it? Presume Mareks is the biggie?
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Re: vaccinating chicks

Postby Henwife » 10 Oct 2010, 20:49

Interhatch would supply it, but I think for very small, back garden flocks it really isn't worth it. Even when I had over 150 birds, my vet & I decided that it wasn't worth vaccinating, but better to work towards a resistant flock.
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Re: vaccinating chicks

Postby sunnys » 10 Oct 2010, 20:52

also bear in mind you need to keep the chicks away from any sources of infection from hatch till about 10 days after the jab. so any feather dander that comes in on your clothes could potentially destroy any point in vaccinating, and means no broody hen useage.
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Re: vaccinating chicks

Postby birdman » 10 Oct 2010, 22:14

If you buy birds intended as layers they will have probably already been vaccinated
it is possible to vaccinate before the chicks hatch now machines are able to ingect hundreds of eggs a day
whether you vaccinate or not is entirely up to you, you need to consider several factors such as
do you visit shows or auctions, how valuable or rare your birds are, is a particular disease prevelent in your area and does someone else keep fowls within a mile or so? do wild birds have frequent access etc
and you need to bear in mind especially with Mareks the vaccinated birds will carry and shed the vaccine virus for life (they can also pick up another strain and carry that to) and will shed it to other birds to, just like an unvaccinated bird will pick up the virus and shed it to others but vaccinated birds are unlikelly to develope clinical disease.
personally I will always do it now as i can't stand the heart break when a really good bird starts to reach maturity and then develops Marek's
I have tried nursing them through it several times. even using antivirals but they have always died, Sometimes it takes 6 weeks but it is relentless and always wins

Breeding for resistance is all very well in theory but if there is no natural resistane to a disease in the gene pool you are working with then that particular disease can come along and wipe most of them out.
lets imagine you have 100 birds of a particular breed. Disease comes along and kills 95 of them you can be fairly sure the remaining 5 were able to fight the disease and so, in theory, be able to pass this ability to their offspring.this may be acceptable in utility breeds where the only nessecity is for them to lay large numbers of eggs or put on weight quickly but if they are a rare breed or of show stock do the remaining birds conform to the standard of the breed in colour shape size etc ? becouse all these factors need to be taken into account as well.
if you are lucky they might, but what a price to pay?
personally I have neither the time, depth of pocket or space to go down that road
The opposite is easy to acheive as is what happens with an outbreak of foot and mouth,
All cattle in the area of an outbreak are killed every time the disease appears
so for generations the animals never come into contact with foot and mouth therefore resistance is never challenged. so if in the future the disease does strike it will hit them like a 'bolt from the blue'
This is what happened when the europeans introduced small pox, syphilis and influenza to the native Americans and Hawian peoples. Neither had any natural resistance and the populations were devastated.
Europeans had some resistance to these diseases having been exposed to the virus since time began -exposure to 'mild' strains giving helping to give immunity to virulent strains
also bear in mind if it wasn't for vaccination we would still be at the mercy of such killers as smallpox,diptheria and polio amongst others
OK i'm stepping off the soap box now :lol:
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Re: vaccinating chicks

Postby Henwife » 11 Oct 2010, 07:39

Not a soap box at all, as my point was only applicable to back-yard flocks. The birds I was working with were Cream Legbars and as you say, the first year is ghastly, but I can now say with some confidence that I have a resistant flock.
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