Before you begin to vaccinate your day old chicks, you have to get some things right to avoid problems. As you may already know, the chick stage is a very delicate stage. Also, it’s not just about providing additional heat or following a vaccination schedule. You have to know the following and ensure to work them out on your farm before you begin to vaccinate your day old chicks.
Health Status of Parent Stock
Under normal circumstances, the health condition of your day old chicks’ parents should be known. And where possible, it is good if chicks’ maternal antibody level can be determined before the administration of antibiotics. But because I am not going to invest my time telling you what you will not do, I’ll give you what you can swallow. And that is…always source for your chicks from reputable hatcheries, as a lot of what happens during brooding depends on chicks’ health from hatching.
Should I use Antibiotics For My Day Old Chicks?
You must have asked yourself this question if you have ever had to raise your chickens from day old. And if you ask others, I can predict the answer you will get from them. “Yes, you better do!” Will I say that response is wrong? NO! However, if you must remain in this business, you not only need to know what to do but also why you are doing it. When you know the reason, then you can be flexible.
Also Read: How to use Garlic for Poultry Diseases
To begin with, if you are only raising a few chicks, say 50 or even 200, you might not worry much. You can just opt in for some preventive antibiotics to help your chicks combat any possible bacteria. Keep in mind, your chicks are very fragile at this point, and may become sick with any major exposure to bacteria. On the other hand, if the number of chicks justifies going to the lab for blood tests, do it! This test can show the level of maternal antibodies your chicks are carrying. You will also know if there is a need for any preventive medication.
The Role of Sanitation
I was once told that most of the problems faced in poultry farming is as a result of our errors. That is, whenever you use a drug for your day old chicks, it’s like paying for the sins you have committed. Let me explain. All things beings equal, when sound bio-security is in place, and you maintain a high level of sanitation, your day old chicks should be healthy. I see some farmers who use drinkers for day old chick for days without washing or rinsing. Others will overlook spills on the litter material and hope for a disease-free rearing. You may not know all the details but keeping your farm surrounding clean is a plus on your day old chicks’ health. Some diseases are transmitted by rodents and reptiles, so keeping them far away from your day old chicks is necessary. Good sanitation will continue to be one of the ways to prevent losses on any farm.
Keep Your Day Old Chicks Healthy for Vaccination
I want to believe that you are aware that you don’t vaccinate a sick animal. If you didn’t know, now you do. Never attempt vaccinating your day old chicks if they are sick. Otherwise, you may lose everything in a matter of hours or days. And this is why it is important that you help them stay healthy as you plan your vaccination. This is the chief reason why many people don’t want to take chances – they place them on antibiotics from day 2-5 to make sure they are disease-free. While I don’t use antibiotics because I have my own alternative, the use of antibiotics helps many farmers.
Chicks come with vaccination schedules and farmers find it safe to follow those schedules. However, it is important to take the necessary precautions before the first vaccine is administered. All these precautions point towards keeping your day old chicks healthy because it is wrong to vaccinate sick birds.
If I were you, I will do everything possible to guard my chicks from diseases so that I don’t have to skip their vaccination.
Alternatively, you may want to learn how your chicks can stay healthy without vaccination.