Proper vaccination is imperative for good chick quality. Getting as much variation out of the equation administering vaccines, under ideal circumstances, is key. Allowing the chick supplier to do as much of the vaccination as possible will be to the customer’s advantage.
Probably the biggest advantage of inducing immunity in the hatchery over vaccination in the poultry house is that the hatchery vaccination room is regarded as an environment which is a 100% sterile and the vaccine administers and other personnel are skilled professionals. They will have gone through a shower system and be wearing sterilised clothing and headgear appropriate for this type of work. This is part of their daily routine and they are specialised in what they do, ensuring maximum efficacy.
Ideally, the hatchery vaccination areas should be fitted with separated air conditioning systems where the incoming air is filtered to remove dust particles which can harbour bacteria and any other harmful airborne organisms. This area should be a separate entity adjoining the hatchery and be self-contained regarding shower facilities, ablutions and restroom / eating area. The room has to be 100% clean and sterilised before each day’s operation commences. It should also be a no smoking zone.
Vaccination programmes vary tremendously, depending on many factors. Some of which will depend on the country, influenced by situations related to disease status, geographical and climatic conditions and whether it involves a large company or a small individual producer. Even the type of production and housing system employed can require variations in inoculation programmes. However, what programme and or vaccine is used, it should comply to the manufacturers guidelines as to when it is and how it should be administered. The hatchery must also not forget to check on the parent’s immunisation levels by taking blood samples every two months to ensure that their immunity levels are up to required standards. This information should be given to the poultry farm on a regular basis, at least every six to eight weeks.
In many areas of the world the in ovo vaccination method is being used. This involves the vaccination of yet to be hatched chicks, in the setters. In ovo vaccines should be administered at eighteen and a half days of age or at transfer to the hatchers. This needs to be carried out between 17.5 days and 19.2 days. Results have shown that 18.5 days is the figure to work with as it gives the optimal coverage and best results. In the above, the egg setting time is calculated as zero hour. One needs to calculate setting time to correspond with hatch day take off time allowing for deliveries that may be going a long distance by road. Many hatcheries start take off in the late afternoon or early evening for delivery early the following morning.
The in ovo technology has been in use in the US for some 20 years now. At present more than 90% of US broilers are in ovo vaccinated. In other parts of the world the technology is primarily used to vaccinate parent stock at this stage, basically due to the high cost of equipment. It is expected that this method will soon become the norm with day old commercial broiler chicks.
It is to the hatcheries’ advantage to use in ovo as the equipment used can include a mechanism which senses if the egg has a living or dead embryo inside or is infertile. It is programmed only to vaccinate a living embryo (egg). This saves vaccine, cutting costs and saving money, approximately 10% of the vaccine cost.
Research has shown that with the usage of a twin (dual needle) the system gives effective needle sanitation reducing the risk of contamination after each vaccination and this minimises the risk of transference from one egg to the next.
Currently there is a combined vaccine for IBD (infectious bursal disease) or Gumboro as it has been commonly known over the years, and ND ( newcastle disease). This application makes sense as it is administered as one dose, cutting out the need for two vaccinations, reducing stress as well as time and administration cost and the price should also be lower. For the chick in ovo vaccination, reduced stress and that’s what it’s all about in this 35 day growth cycle.
Combining an IBD and ND vaccination in ovo reduces the number of subcutaneous vaccinations required to zero. After hatch a primer for NCD (Newcastle), usually ( HB1-strain) can be given in a spray form, at day old and can be combined with a mild IB (infectious bronchitis- H120 strain).
If this is carried out by trained staff using the correct volume of sterile diluent prior to spraying through a spray cabinet calibrated to administer the correct amount per crate of 100 chicks, success is guaranteed.
Number one in in ovo vaccination, is to allow your chicks time to start building up immunity 2.5 to 3 days earlier than normal, with less stress as no subcutaneous vaccinations are given, surely the way forward, even at a price?
Some producers as well as a major vaccine producer suggest a second NCD (Newcastle) vaccination at day 10 in cases where there may be Newcastle in nearby areas. This can be done in a spray form or through the drinking water. Taking blood samples on day 9 or 10 and having them tested for titre levels for Newcastle can give the poultry producer guidance if a further spray is required on day 10. Have the vaccine suppliers technical representative to get you on the right track. If the service is available, use it, this can only be beneficial to ones management expertise.