What you should know about poultry vaccines

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Vaccination is the introduction of an inactivated disease-causing agent (vaccine) into an animal to stimulate the production of antibodies within it and create immunity. Poultry farmers who do not vaccinate their birds risk incurring losses due to disease outbreaks. Common diseases vaccinated against in poultry include Mareks, Newcastle disease, Infectious bronchitis, Gumboro disease, Fowl pox, and Fowl typhoid.

Every vaccine has an appropriate method of administration to ensure that adequate protection is developed in the birds. The type and schedule of vaccinations are also different for broilers, layers and all-purpose (kienyeji) chicken.

Vaccine administration

 Eye drops

 This method is effective with small-sized flock. It targets diseases that manifest in the respiratory tract such as Newcastle and Infectious bronchitis.

Drinking Water

This is the easiest method of giving vaccines to chickens. It is commonly used against Gumboro disease, which infects the digestive tract of the birds, and Newcastle disease. Boiled or distilled water that is free from impurities should be left to cool in a covered non-metallic container for mixing with the vaccine. In case you are using clean tap water, leave it to stand uncovered overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Add a buffer such as skimmed milk at a ratio of two grammes of milk per litre of water to neutralize impurities.

Do not use disinfectants to clean water receptacles; they will inactivate the vaccine virus. Remove drinking water from the chickens for one to two hours or even the whole night, before administering the vaccine. Mix the vaccine with the amount of water that the chickens can drink in one or two hours (about 5 to 7ml per bird). The mixed vaccine can be used for only two days. Avoid applying the wrong dosage that is, vaccine to water ratio

Wing stab

A special needle is used to inject the vaccines through the wing web. The administrator should be careful not to injure blood vessels. This method is used with Fowl pox vaccines.

Intramuscular Injection

Method Newcastle, Fowl typhoid, and Fowl pox vaccines can be administered in several locations, including the breast, thigh, and wings of the birds by injection.

Source: The Organic Farmer Magazine

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