Best Vaccination Schedule for Broiler and Layer Chickens
Have you been looking for that perfect guide to follow that will show you the correct vaccination schedule for your broiler and layer chickens?
If yes, then consider yourself lucky.
This article right here contains all you need to know about the vaccination schedule for your broiler and layer chickens.
You will get to know what vaccines are, why they are important for your poultry birds, and exactly when to vaccinate your chickens.
Also, you will find the type of vaccine to give your chickens with the correct schedule you are to follow.
So, make sure you stick with this article to the end.
Let’s get started, as things are about to get more interesting.
What is vaccination?
Vaccination is the introduction of antigenic substances or vaccines into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.
In other words, you give vaccines to poultry birds to protect them from certain types of chicken diseases.
Different vaccines work for different purposes and for usually a type of disease only.
Also, it is an effective means to prevent and reduce the side effects of various diseases that can be a problem in your poultry farm.
Vaccination is used to control the spread and outbreak of disease within the flock.
Thus, a proper hygiene and sanitation practice in your poultry farm with correct timing vaccination will help you get the best out of your flock.
Your birds become more productive that way, healthier, and much safer for human consumption.
Poultry bird diseases can come in various forms and are of different kinds.
They affect layers and broilers at every stage of their development and maturity.
A disease of either virus, fungi, bacteria, or protozoa quickly spreads on the farm with effects ranging from a mild to a wild one.
Therefore, you must vaccinate your chickens against common varieties of diseases with a good vaccination routine.
Are vaccines necessary for broiler and layer chickens?
Vaccines are very essential in any type of poultry production.
As a poultry farmer, it is important to vaccinate your entire flock to prevent losing them to diseases or reducing productivity on your farm.
When you correctly administer vaccines to your chickens, it provides them with solid protective antibodies against infections on the farm.
In other words, your birds build up immunity that makes them resistant to those types of diseases for which they got a vaccination
This vaccination will keep protecting them in their maturity age and throughout their productive years.
But remember, as important as vaccination is, it is also important to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation practices on the farm.
Also, do not forget to enforce strict biosecurity measures and management practices on the farm.
When all of these farm practices are carried out properly, the productivity of your chickens will greatly increase.
What type of vaccines do you give to layers and broilers?
You can create a vaccination program for any flock is based on two simple things.
The first is on the basis of the specific needs of the poultry farm.
Secondly, it may be on the basis of a disease that is prevalent in the region where your farm is located.
The type of poultry diseases common in a region with a farm history tells the perfect vaccination schedule that you need to follow.
Usually, companies that sell vaccines produce them in large doses for commercial uses.
Thus, it’s way easier to vaccinate a very large number of birds at once.
Chicken vaccines can either be in liquid form, dry form, or frozen dry form.
Various virulent diseases that affect layers and broilers now have vaccines that help arrest them well with good management.
Though these vaccines are not a complete treatment for the diseases they improve the resistance of birds to it.
The most common ones include;
1. Marek’s Disease (MD):
Marek disease is a very common disease that is caused by a highly contagious herpes virus.
This disease is also known as fowl paralysis.
Chicks affected by this ravaging virus almost never recover from it.
This disease is airborne and chicks infected by it carry this virus for life.
Thus, It spreads rapidly within the coop and causes cancer, tumor, and paralysis of the poultry birds.
Young birds are the most susceptible to Marek’s disease infection.
Hence, you must administer the Marek’s disease vaccine to the young chicks on the day they hatch in the hatchery.
To administer this vaccine, you need to inject the chicks on the back of the neck right under the skin.
The vaccine is not sold in small number doses making it unfavorable for small-scale flocks to acquire.
It is, therefore, best to buy already vaccinated chicks from reliable commercial sources instead.
Remember that the vaccine will only prevent the tumors and paralysis of Marek’s disease.
That is, the birds can still be infected and also transmit the disease by shedding around the farm.
The best control for Marek’s disease is the maintenance of good hygiene, biosecurity, and vaccination.
2. Newcastle disease:
Newcastle disease is an infection well known among domestic poultry.
The Newcastle disease virus (NDV) only affects birds and can lead to illness and death in large numbers in a flock very quickly.
This virus causes acute respiratory disease with other symptoms like gasping, coughing, loss of appetite, and bright green diarrhea.
Also, nervous signs include paralysis and convulsions, sometimes twisted necks.
The severity of infection depends on the exact form of virus, chicken age, and susceptibility of the host.
Unfortunately, infected birds can spread this malignant disease simply through respiratory discharges, breathing, and feces.
Making it easy to contact even from moving contaminated equipment, litter, and birds between different flocks.
Chicks at the hatchery can be given vaccination for Newcastle disease virus(NVD) straight off before being moved to the farm.
Vaccines for the Newcastle disease virus(NVD) are available not just to chickens but also to various other birds.
And they are given in routine to ensure its effectiveness.
The NVD vaccine which has the same purpose as the LaSota strain is a good recommendation for healthy layers and broilers.
Basically, this vaccine helps the birds trigger an antibody response to the virus.
It should be administered by aerosol spray or by drinking water when they are around 9-14 days old.
Revaccination must also be carried out at 4 weeks and 16 weeks of age.
3. Infectious bronchitis:
This is a highly contagious respiratory disease in poultry farming caused by an avian coronavirus.
Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) has other symptoms too like nephritis, reduced egg quality, poor performance, and soon.
There are two types of vaccination for this virus which are the weakened and far less virulent vaccine also called an attenuated live vaccine.
And then, the inactive vaccine is made from inactive infectious bronchitis virus.
In general, vaccination for infectious bronchitis can be given at two weeks intervals between live vaccines and 4-6 weeks intervals for inactive vaccines.
Vaccination programs are very specific to species, breed, and varieties.
Giving broilers the IBV vaccine will help reduce economic losses, weight loss, and poor performance caused by IBV in the flock.
Therefore, Chickens need this vaccine at an early age to keep them safe and healthy throughout their growing stage.
Layers also require the vaccine to protect them from changes in the internal and external quality of the egg and any drop in production.
This is because infectious bronchitis attacks the oviducts of layers and makes them lay false eggs and reduces their productivity.
IBV and NDV vaccines are usually combined together in a single vaccine.
Hence infectious bronchitis can be given to Chicks at the hatchery or within 9-14 days in their drinking water.
4. Infectious bursal disease:
This disease is also known as gumboro disease, infectious bursitis, and infectious avian nephrosis.
It is a highly contagious viral disease that causes severe mortality in young chickens.
Infectious bursal disease viruses (IBDV) are very hardy species that survive a wide range of environments.
Hence, they prove difficult to decontaminate on the farm once they spread.
Affected chickens show some symptoms like watery diarrhea, weight loss, depression, and dehydration.
Transmission of the virus is by ingestion through the oral or fecal route into the body.
Unfortunately, the disease has no treatment but IBD vaccines help birds produce immunity against the virus.
5. Vaccine against Fowlpox disease:
This is a common type of disease that causes a drop in egg production in layers and increased mortality for broiler chickens.
It is caused by a virus and it affects all poultry birds it comes in two forms which are;
The dry form and the diphtheric form attack the upper respiratory tract.
The general symptoms for this include blindness, loss of appetite, facial swelling, reduced egg production, and a high death rate.
Fowl pox is transmitted by vectors like mosquitoes, mites, and lice from one bird to another on the poultry farm.
Therefore, the best way to control this disease is through vaccination which is administered through the wing web.
Healthy chickens should be given the vaccine at their 8th week of age and above before they start laying.
6. Avian Encephalomyelitis (AE):
This disease is caused by a virus and it is characterized by neurologic signs.
The infection can be transmitted vertically or horizontally in the coop.
This means that infected birds can share it with others in the flock and also their eggs too.
Infected birds show signs like tremor, imbalanced coordination, paralysis, drop in egg production, and increased mortality rate.
Vaccination must be administered to broilers at 8 weeks or older and for broilers at least 4 weeks before they start laying.
The Vaccines usually come combined with the fowlpox vaccine so that they can both be applied at once.
When should chickens be vaccinated?
Basically, vaccines help prevent particular diseases by boosting the bird’s immune systems to produce antibodies
These antibodies are the ones in charge of fighting off foreign bodies and invading organisms causing disease.
Also, chickens need to be dewormed, given antibiotics and vitamins to maintain a good immune system.
Here is a good vaccination schedule for chickens that show when chickens should be vaccinated.
Vaccination schedule for broiler chickens
|Age||Medication of vaccination||Method of administration|
|Day 0 At the hatchery||Marek’s disease (MD) vaccines||I/M (intramuscular) injected on the back of the neck.|
|Day 1||I/O vaccines+Vitamins+Glucose||Drinking water (DW)|
|Day 1||Infectious bronchitis vaccines||Beak dip.|
|Day 3||Antibiotics+Vitamins.||Drinking water|
|Day 7||Coccidiostat (acts on protozoan parasites in birds)||Drinking water|
|Day 9||1st infectious bursal disease (IBD) vaccine.||Intraocular (I/O) as eye drop|
|Day 12||Newcastle disease (ND) vaccines||Drinking water.|
|Day 14||Coccidiostat||Drinking water|
|Day 16||2nd IBD vaccine||Oral, Drinking water|
|Day 18||Fowlpox||Wing web stab|
|Day 28||Dewormer||Drinking water|
Vaccination schedule for layers
Just below you have the vaccination schedule for the layers Which is a bit more comprehensive.
|Age||Medication of vaccination||Method of administration|
|At the hatchery||Marek’s disease vaccine||On the neck|
|Day 1||Vitamins, glucose||Drinking water|
|Day 4||Antibiotics and vitamins||Dw|
|Day 9||Newcastle disease||Dw|
|Day 12||1st infectious bronchitis disease vaccine.||Eye drop/Drinking water|
|Day 14||Infectious bursal vaccine (Gumboro)||Drinking water|
|Day 17||Fowlpox vaccine||Wing web|
|Day 26||Vitamins||Drinking water/feed|
|Day 28||2nd Gumboro/ IBDV vaccine||Dw|
|Week 4||2nd Newcastle disease (NDV) vaccine.||Drinking water, I/O|
|Week 4||2nd infectious bronchitis vaccine.||Dw|
|Week 8||Avian Encephalomyelitis (AE) vaccine||Wing web stab|
|Week 9||1st Infectious coryza vaccine||Intramuscular|
|Week 10||3rd Newcastle disease vaccine. (Komarov strain)||Intramuscular|
|Week 12||Fowlpox vaccine||Wing web|
|Week 12||2nd infectious coryza||Intramuscular|
|Week 12||3rd infectious bronchitis vaccine||Drinking water|
|Week 16||Laryngotracheitis vaccine||I/O eye drop/spray|
|Week 17||The 3 in one vaccine for egg drop syndrome, IB, and ND.||Intramuscular|
Note the following.
- Always make sure you get your chicks from a good and reliable hatchery.
- Be sure to ask the type(s) of a vaccine that has been given to newly acquired chicks so that you’ll know which other vaccines to use.
- Know the disease history is your locality to make a good schedule plan for your farm.
- Usually, Marek’s Disease vaccines are given at the hatchery but farmers do repeat the drug just to be sure and prevent the outbreak.
- Ensure you provide your birds with multivitamins before vaccinating them anytime.
- Aside from vaccines, antibiotics and coccidiostat also need to be given regularly to chickens to maintain good health and immune system.
How often should chickens be vaccinated?
Just as expressed in the schedules above, revaccinating your birds at the appropriate timing is important.
That’s to ensure good protection for the Immune system of your chickens against the virus.
That is, vaccines work wonders but it’s the correct usage that shows off its beauty.
Can vaccinated broiler and layer chickens still catch a disease?
If wrongly used or mishandled vaccines could be the cause of a breakout on the farm.
Also, there are cases when the disease still shows up due to incomplete vaccination.
Therefore, always be sure to follow a good schedule and keep your farm hygiene and biosecurity well maintained.
Vaccination is an important aspect of poultry farming that helps to strengthen the immune system of your chickens.
With a good vaccination schedule for your broiler and layer chickens, your chickens will be safe from infectious diseases.
In this article, we have put together a week-by-week vaccination schedule for chickens from day 0 at the hatchery up to 17 weeks of age.
If you follow this schedule correctly, you can prevent infectious diseases that may lead to high chicken mortality on your farm.
Frequently Asked Questions about broiler and layer chicken vaccination schedule
- Do chickens need vaccines?
Vaccination is strongly recommended for all chickens. The reason is that it helps to improve the chicken immune system to fight against infectious diseases.
- When should I vaccinate my broiler and layer chickens?
Both broiler and layer chickens need vaccination beginning from day zero immediately after hatching. After that, there are several other vaccines that you need to administer and we have put together a vaccination schedule in this article up to from day 0 to 17 weeks.
- What is the first vaccine for chickens?
The first vaccine for chickens is the Marek's disease (MD) vaccine. This is the first vaccine that the chickens receive at the hatchery after hatching.
- When do you give Gumboro vaccine?
For broilers, administer the Gumboro vaccine 9 days after hatching. For layer chickens, that administer the Gumboro vaccine on day 12. The vaccine should be given in the early morning as well as during the cooler period of the day.
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