Single chick and vaccine question
I should have let nature take its course, but nooo! A first-time mother hen had chicks hatching when she left the nest to eat and drink. I found one live chick, one dead one, a third close to hatching, and three eggs. I removed the dead chick, and after giving the hen another couple of minutes outside, took her back to her nest.
She got off the nest again the next day while I was out there. This time there were two dead chicks and three eggs so I figured it was time to empty the nest. As I was picking up the eggs, one chirped at me and I saw its beak poking through the shell. I turned on the incubator and put the eggs in it. Only the pipping chick hatched...
At the same time, another hen lost her 6 week old and only remaining chick to fowl pox. I bought vaccine, but the label says it must all be mixed at once and will treat 1,000 birds.
My questions - Will the vaccine keep its potency for a few months/years? I only have 15 chickens and a few have had the disease so are now immune. After vaccinating the lone chick should I return it to its mother? She has taken over another nest box with a single egg in it. Any chance the hen that lost her chicks to pox might adopt the chick? Last question - My geese share a fence in common with the chickens but have shown no symptoms of fowl pox. Do they also need to be vaccinated?
I hope this isn't too BYCish - I really don't want a pet chicken in the house!
Waterfowl don't get all the things landfowl do. The only thing you have to watch for in them is coccidiosis & that's preventable by feeding medicated starter. As for the chick, I wouldn't bother vaccinating. It's already exposed & will either make it or won't. You can try to foster it to another hen but I have my doubts if she'll be interested. They don't sound especially broody.
Thanks, Evy. The geese are 18 months old and have been very healthy all along. The chick is 3 days old now and is eating and drinking okay.
Vaccines that come in two parts generally must be used up within a couple of hours of mixing them together. I wouldn't vaccinate one chick, it is cost prohibitive. Essentially the vaccine companies don't want to work with small producers and most vaccines for poultry are packaged in 1000 dose vials.
Thanks, Rich. The labels on the tiny bottles referred to a "package insert" or some such terminology that was not given to me at the feed store. I will either go back or call them regarding your information. The vaccine "applicator" looks big enough to kill the tiny chick! It has two needle-like prongs to stab the little bird on its wing.
I have decided not to vaccinate the lone chick. As soon as it broke through the shell and took a breath of air it most likely inhaled the pox virus in the coop. I'll tend to its basic needs and hope for the best.
As a ex-vaccine maker allow me to explain that single dose vials of freeze dried (what you call two part) vaccine would also be cost prohibitive. Manufacturing costs are not linear with the number of doses that the vial contains since the exact same operations have to be performed per vial. In fact If I were to produce a single dose vial, I would charge MORE for the single dose vial than for a 1000 dose vial because it is a real bear to work with those tiny vials, and they must be tiny to contain a single dose. I made vaccines for the human market and they like to have single dose vials because usually they only have one child to vaccinate. The active (dry ingredient is too small to see with the naked eye so the docs often sent them back with a note (FDA copied of course) about empty vials and refunds. We were in the process of packaging single doses either in the needle or or in the suringe when I retired. JFYI most hatchery chicks are now vaccinated in the shell before they hatch.
Originally Posted by Rich
As for Package inserts (correct term) these tell you everything the FDA thinks you need to know. No way you could put that on a label as it usually covers both sides of a legal size sheet but there is only one packge insert per package.~gd
GD, why can't they make a (fowl pox) vaccine that when mixed and refrigerated will keep for more than a day? Am I correct in assuming the freeze dried part of the mix is killed virus? If so, it's already dead.
Goosedragon, I didn't want to get into a long discussion on vaccines, freeze dried wafers, modified lives etc because I was at work when I responded and needed to make it quick but I totally understand your post and why the companies work the way they do. I always wondered why they weren't willing to do a 50 or 100 dose vial for the smaller producers. Still a problem where many people would have to throw away a bunch of vaccine, but at least it wouldn't be so wasteful. 3dogs, the problem with many of these modified live vaccines is that the bird is vaccinated with a weakened virus. It is alive and in the case of fowl pox vaccine, it actually gives the bird the disease, just in a less critical part of the body (usually the wing web) where it doesn't cause as much of a problem. Additionally, since the virus is weakened, it doesn't cause as bad of a case of the disease as if the bird caught the disease with a hot strain. The vaccine has a very short shelf life. It is just a fact of life with these types of vaccines and it loses its effectiveness after a couple of hours. There are some diseases that have vaccines for them that have a longer shelf life but many of the two part vaccines that have to be reconstituted do not have a long shelf life.
Rich, thanks for the clarification.
I don't think it is dead. Most virus vaccines are attunated (passed through a couple of different species each one tends to weaken the virus for the target animal because it adjusts itself to each new host it is passed through). I did most of my work on bacterial vaccines but I know about the polio and flu virus vaccines. the old oral polio vaccine was a live virus the new injected polio vaccine is made of only certain parts of the killed virus. the flu vacccine is also made out of selected parts of killed virus while the flu mist applied to the nose is a special mutation of the virus that can thrive in the slightly cooler nasal space but is killed at normal body temperature so it does not spread through out the body. most virus are very temperature sensitive and tend to go dormate at tempertures cooler or warmer than their intended targets. That is part of the reason that colds and flu strike during the winter season.
Originally Posted by 3dogs
Rich you were right on, If I had read your post before trying to reply to 3dogs I could have saved my self a lot of words!
Last edited by goosedragon; 10-29-2011 at 08:36 PM.
Reason: Had not read Rich's post before answering
Just a quick look at the catalogs, Fowl pox vaccine is about $7 for a bottle Newcastle is about $5.
If I buy a quality vaccine for my dogs, one that will actually work, it costs me about $8 for a single dose. (Yeah, I can get it for $2, but not one that I consider reliable). I suspect that there is a much larger market for small dose dog vaccine than there is for small dose fowl vaccine, which should bring the price down a bit for the dog, but not the fowl.
So what that makes me suspect is that a single dose of fowl vaccine might easily cost as much as a bottle, as stated above. So you are just as well off to take one shot out of the bottle and throw the rest away.
$8 to vaccinate one chick probably isn't going to happen at my house. The hatcheries can do Mareks for 10 cents a chick because they take that 1,000 dose vial and vaccinate 1,000 chicks with it.
Now, if there were an outbreak of Newcastle, or something else very serious in the area, I'd probably vaccinate everybody, in which case, that 1000 dose vial would be pretty cheap. Having a senior moment, whatever that one is that kills the wild birds and scares everyone so badly because it kills people, too, if they had a vaccine for that, I'd be willing to vaccinate the whole flock.
Other than that, most poultry doesn't get out into the world to socialize, so I can't see a huge need to vaccinate.
I think that is the logic of the argument on vaccinating. You have to access the potential risk, consider the worth of the animal being vaccinated and decide if you are going to vaccinate or not. I know some people who think that they have to vaccinate for everything that they can get a vaccine for, but in fact, some vaccines are available for diseases that essentially don't occur in a particular part of the country. For example, in the equine world, you can vaccinate for eastern equine encephalitis, western equine encephalitis and venezuelan equine encephalitis. At one point in the past, there were a few cases of the venezuelan form of the disease in Texas but to my knowledge it hasn't been seen anywhere in the US for quite some time. The vaccine is still available and still sold. Is it necessary? Not if you are not traveling internationally. Deciding on what to vaccinate for should involve consideration of what diseases your birds are likely to be exposed to. Some vaccines are way more than the 7 or 8 dollars a bottle that you mentioned in your post. Personally, I vaccinate my birds for Mareks disease only. When there is a major outbreak of LT in the area, I have vaccinated for that disease and in a rare case, I have vaccinated for fowl pox just once. My birds are important to me because I have 12 years of breeding involved in my line and I would have difficulty in getting them back if I were to lose them, but I still don't vaccinate for everything. Even at best I might value my birds at 50-100 dollars each. How much can I afford to invest in their protection? That is a question that only I can answer. When you are talking a show dog or even a show horse, the value goes up and the answer will change. Ultimately, the decision to vaccinate, what to vaccinate for and even how often to vaccinate for some diseases is the animal owners alone. Just a few more things to think about.
It all comes down to the value of the bird or animal being vaccinated, the cost of the vaccine and the perceived risk associated with not vaccinating you animals. Dogs, especially show dogs are much more valuable than a chicken. Horses, even more so. The owner of the animal needs to make the decision if they are going to vaccinate or not. Even though I value my birds greatly and I have a lot invested in them, I wouldn't vaccinate at $5 or more each for any one vaccine.
Last edited by Rich; 10-30-2011 at 05:19 PM.