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Vaccinating chickens - vaccine, mandatory vaccination and procedure

There are various epidemics that decimate the poultry population within a short period of time. On the one hand, this harbors a great economic risk for many commercial chicken farmers. On the other hand, valuable breeds of high ideal value are threatened. Fortunately, you can vaccinate your chickens. This is how you can prevent dangerous diseases from breaking out in chickens.


Is it compulsory to vaccinate the chickens?

In Germany, only one vaccination is required by law for poultry. Every chicken farmer must have his animals vaccinated against Newcastle Disease, or ND for short. It does not matter how many chickens live on a farm, whether it is a pure hobby or a trade. Vaccination against Newcastle Disease is compulsory from the very first chicken.

There are also a number of other voluntary vaccinations. Many animal keepers also have their chickens vaccinated against Marek and coccidiosis, for example.

Vaccinations on a voluntary basis:

  • Infectious bronchitis
  • Marek's disease
  • Infectious laryngotracheitis (contagious inflammation of the larynx and trachea)
  • Gumboro disease
  • Infectious bursitis
  • Avian rhinotracheitis
  • Mycoplasma infection
  • Contagious poultry runny nose
  • Salmonella infection
  • Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection
  • E. coli infection
  • Colisepticemia Coccidiosis

How to vaccinate chickens against Newcastle Disease?

There are two different types of Newcastle disease vaccine:

  1. Dead vaccine
  2. Live vaccine

Dead vaccine against Newcastle Disease

A dead vaccine can be used to vaccinate chickens. This is injected into each animal individually. The dead vaccine offers much longer protection. An injection once a year is sufficient here.

Advantages of the dead vaccine:

  • only once a year
  • guaranteed uptake by syringe

Disadvantages of the dead vaccine:

  • more effort by visiting the vet
  • higher cost

Live vaccine against Newcastle Disease

The live vaccine for vaccinating chickens comes with the Drinking water administered. So that the chickens develop a sufficient thirst, the water is removed the evening before. The vaccine, diluted in the drinking water, is then usually offered to the chickens the next morning.

The Oral vaccination retains its effect for about two hours after mixing. By then, the chickens should have consumed the liquid. It is usually sufficient for the chickens to ingest only a few sips at a time, as the dose is usually more than sufficient.

Benefits of the live vaccine:

  • quick and easy administration
  • simultaneous vaccination of the entire herd
  • no syringe required
  • lower costs

Disadvantages of the live vaccine:

  • lack of overview of the success of the recording
  • several vaccinations per year necessary

Whether you choose a dead vaccine or a live vaccine. Because of the vaccination, the body of the chickens has to perform particularly well. Often the laying activity of the chickens is reduced for a few days after vaccination. High-quality and varied feed and additional vitamins help the chickens during this time.


Where do you get the vaccine from?

Some hobby keepers and enthusiasts with small herds have their chickens syringed once a year at the vet vaccinate.

However, most chicken farmers resort to the more practical oral vaccination. Since the live vaccine is only available from the vet in very large doses for at least 1,000 chickens, the vaccine is mostly distributed via the local poultry breeding association. He obtains the vaccine from the veterinarian, who duly certifies the process. As a rule, the membership fees are low. Depending on the club, the vaccination either costs nothing or a few euros.

Our tip: If there is not yet a poultry breeding club in the area, it is worth looking for other chicken farmers in the area. You can then share the cost.

How often do you have to vaccinate chickens?

The disadvantage of oral vaccination is the more frequent vaccination intervals. The vaccination protection only lasts about 6 to 12 weeks. When the vaccination should take place has been a matter of dispute so far. For many years it was common practice to vaccinate chickens every three months. Suddenly the demand arose to vaccinate the chickens every 6 weeks. However, many small animal breeding associations continued not to adhere to the due to the high level of effort 6 week rule and vaccinated mostly every 8 or 12 weeks. A study by the Justus Liebig University in Giessen has now confirmed that an im 12-week interval carried out Newcastle vaccination for pedigree poultry is sufficient.


Should you also vaccinate chicks?

Chickens of all ages are vaccinated. Ideally, the first vaccination already takes place shortly after hatching through a live vaccine. The second live vaccination follows after six weeks. From then on, the interval is three months for oral vaccination and one year if the chicken farmer opts for direct injection with the syringe.

Can I eat the eggs after vaccination?

After vaccination, the eggs may be used for human consumption without restriction. The waiting time for the eggs is zero daysno matter which approved chicken vaccine it is. Depending on the vaccine, however, a waiting period of up to two days is set for the meat to be consumed.


Why should you vaccinate Newcastle chickens?

The compulsory vaccination against Newcastle Disease is directed against the so-called atypical avian influenza. This is highly contagious and is caused by a paramyxovirus. There are mild, medium, and virulent strains. The transmission takes place over Nasal secretions and feces, but also via infected objects and dust. The incubation period is around 3 to 6 days. Within 3 to 5 days a large part dies of the infected animals, which is why it is particularly important to vaccinate the chickens. Typical symptoms are shortness of breath and nervous disorders. The breathing sounds are often gurgling and snorkeling. In many cases the chickens are twisted and paralyzed. The laying performance declines and there is an increased number of shell-less or thin-shelled eggs.


Another sensible measure: the Marek vaccination

Marek's palsy can be traced back to a herpes virus. This is highly contagious and especially weakens young animals up to about five months of age. That remains in the excrement, in the litter and on hatching eggs Virus active for a long time, sometimes several months or even years. The virus persists for a very long time, especially in feather follicle dust.

Newly hatched chicks are particularly susceptible. Once the disease has broken out, the animals lose weight quickly and show signs of paralysis. Without vaccination die up to 50 percent the chickens. Most cases of the disease can be observed between 10 and 20 weeks of age. Another form is associated with tumor formation in various organs, which in some cases changes the eyes and skin.


When does it make sense to vaccinate the chickens?

If you want to vaccinate chickens and thus protect them from Marek, you have to do this with the day-old chicks. The vaccination only helps against the onset of clinical symptoms; infection is still possible. Adhering to the hygiene measures is therefore just as important as vaccinating the chickens in order to prevent early infection.


What are the consequences of not vaccinating chickens?

The consequences of not vaccinating chickens:

  • Illness and death of one's own animals in an outbreak
  • A fine of up to 25,000 euros for an inspection by the veterinary office
  • high infection and transmission potential for foreign stocks
  • high claims for damages in the event of an outbreak
  • Unvaccinated chickens are excluded from the exhibition

Does the compulsory vaccination also apply in other countries?

While in Germany and in other EU countries the law prescribes the vaccination against ND, it is in the Switzerland bannedto vaccinate the chickens. Affected animals are notifiable there and are rigorously killed. The Swiss justify their approach by stating that the vaccine only prevents the outbreak of the disease, but does not kill the pathogens. In addition, it promises better monitoring, because it is immediately apparent when and where the disease occurs. This was last the case in Switzerland in 2011.


Is Newcastle transferable to humans?

Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects chickens, but also some wild bird species with the exception of waterfowl. Even when eating infected eggs, there is no risk of infection for humans. Only those who are in close contact with the affected chickens can in rare cases develop conjunctivitis.