PoultryUSA - June 2018 - 26
26 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
SUCCESSFUL COCCIDIA VACCINATION PROGRAM
How coccidia vaccination works
Coccidia vaccination typically occurs by spraying a
vaccine made with live oocysts of the coccidia pathogen
onto chicks in the hatchery. Ideally, it's a controlled dose
administered in equal amounts to all the chicks. Once the
chicks are placed in the house for four to seven days, they
will shed the oocysts into the environment. The birds will
then uptake oocysts from the litter, will be re-infected
and shed again in larger numbers. Hopefully, by the third
round of ingestion, the animals will gain complete immunity.
McElroy said this process takes the life of the flock.
So, in short-lived flocks, total immunity isn't developing.
Nevertheless, the bird is protected from more pathogenic
coccidia in the environment by beginning an immune response to the vaccine.
Problems occur when vaccine application is inconsistent, or when some birds get a dose and others don't. The
unvaccinated birds don't have the immunity, suffer more
detrimental disease consequences and develop clinical
coccidia or possibly necrotic enteritis.
With that in mind, McElroy offered these nine keys for
a successful vaccine program starting in the hatchery and
going all the way to the finishing barn.
Store and mix vaccine properly
Vaccines contain live oocysts and can't be frozen. McElroy said if there are any ice crystals
formed, oocysts are destroyed and the vaccine is
Along with storage, diluted vaccines must be properly
mixed. Sporulated oocysts are dense and will settle to the
bottom of the container. If not properly mixed, vaccine be
Ensure spray nozzles are applying
In an automated spraying system, the nozzles
are critical. If they are not functioning properly, then birds aren't getting the vaccine. McElroy said
a simple technique to check the sprayer nozzle's applica-
Once chicks are sprayed with a vaccine, they need
the right environmental conditions to encourage
preening before transportation to the farm. The
chicks consume the vaccine during this critical time.
tion is to send a box through the sprayer with a piece
of paper in it while recording the action in slow motion. Watch the video and see how the spray is applied.
Application must be uniform, or as close as possible, to
ensure vaccine cycling.
Allow the chicks to preen after
Chicks consume the vaccine while preening one
another after the application. They must be given at least 15 minutes prior to preen and placed in an area
with lighting conditions that will stimulate activity. The
vaccines are dyed to encourage preening.
Establish the right conditions on the
farm before arrival
Birds must be placed in comfortable conditions that are neither too hot nor too cold. Both
will stress the chicks and discourage them from feeding.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ June 2018