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Poultry production: Handling and administering live vaccines

Question: What are the guidelines for handling live vaccines and administering them orally (by mouth)?

  • NEVER expose vaccines to sunlight. Store them in the fridge, not in the freezer.
  • Always transport vaccines in a cooler box, with an ice pack to keep them cool.
  • Starve birds of water for half an hour to an hour before vaccinating to ensure they all drink. Wash drinkers.
  • If automatic drinkers can be switched off, use a plastic watering can to pour vaccine into the “bell”. If you can’t do this, use chick fonts and raise the automatic drinkers.
  • To calculate how much water is needed to dilute the vaccine: Divide the amount of birds that needs to be vaccinated by 1 000 and multiply this with the age of the birds in days and 1.5 (a constant). So, to vaccinate 3 000 ten-day old birds: 3 000 divided by 1 000 multiplied by 10 (for ten-day old birds) and 1.5 gives you 30 litres.
  • The water’s maximum quantity should not exceed 40 litres.
  • For fewer than 1 000 birds, use more water and discard what’s not consumed.
  • Mix in 2 g skimmed milk powder per litre of water half an hour before adding vaccine, or use boiled water which has been left to cool to room temperature.
  • Open the vaccine vial under water and slowly dissolve the tablet.
  • Reconstituted vaccine should be consumed within an hour (for Newcastle disease) or two hours (for Gumboro) vaccines. The quantity of water used must be adjusted accordingly.
  • Don’t use disinfectants to clean vaccinating equipment. Wash it in water and allow to dry in the sun.
  • Don’t use the equipment for any other purpose than vaccination.

Also read:
The difference between live and inactivated vaccines
Your library to poultry production

  • This article was written by dr. Mick Versfeld and first appeared in Farming SA.

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