Preventing incoming infections is essential to avoid diseases on a poultry farm. Proper biosecurity measures are the first line of defense, but are no guarantee for a healthy flock. Protection via an alerted immune system is the all-important second line of defence, hence the common practice of vaccination.
But when biosecurity is poor, vaccination alone is not enough. If birds are overwhelmed with disease organisms, even a flawless vaccination will eventually fail. Administering vaccines can be done in different ways, depending on the vaccine. On farm drinking water, vaccination is used in next to every flock, however getting this right is not as simple as just putting the vaccine in the water system.
Colouring of the vaccine presolution gives an indication if the medicines are actually reaching the birds. Photo: Marcel Berendsen
6 essential tips for proper drinking water vaccination
- Dose accurately, do not use half or quarter doses and remove chicks that are unable to drink enough water (extremely small and large birds).
- For 24 hours before vaccinating, do not introduce any more acids, antibiotics, peroxides or vitamins into the pipes. Just pure drinking water. If you are using a dosing pump, rinse it thoroughly with clean water.
- Make the chicks thirsty about 2 hours before vaccinating them. This is easy to do by winching up the drinker lines.
- Make up the vaccine presolution according to the instructions. Add the correct quantity of skimmed milk or vaccine protector. Mix well. Then add the vaccine presolution to the drinking water and mix well again.
- Open the drinking water pipes at the back of the house until the vaccine solution appears (dye), otherwise the chicks at the back of the house will take in little or no vaccine. Then lower the drinking lines at chick level.
- During vaccination, walk through the house regularly to encourage all the birds to drink. Pay particular attention to the sides of the house where birds lower down the pecking order and the weaker birds tend to sit.
For more practical poultry tips, check out these books!