Vaccinations are an essential part of improving the health of birds and are a strong component of general biosecurity. As vaccinations prevent diseases from occurring in the first place, they reduce the need for medications, such as antibiotics, to be given to birds.
Vaccinations for egg laying birds
Egg laying birds should be sourced from a reputable pullet rearer where possible as all of the important vaccinations would be given during the rearing process in a correct and professional manner.
Appendix C of the Australian Eggs Vaccination Training Manual (PDF) provides a generic vaccination program for the egg layer bird.
Please note under the Livestock Act 1997, any poultry flock with over 1,000 chickens where at least one chicken in the flock is over 24 weeks of age must be vaccinated with Newcastle disease vaccine in accordance with the National Newcastle Disease Management Plan coordinated by Animal Health Australia. Please see our Newcastle disease page for more information.
Vaccinations for broiler birds
Most broiler bird vaccinations are done at the hatchery; producers are encouraged to ask the hatchery what vaccinations can be provided to day old chicks. In SA, these include Marek’s disease, infectious bronchitis and infectious bursal disease.
Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) vaccination of broiler birds is difficult to perform and can cause disease in young birds. It is not advised unless performed by skilled personnel at the commercial level. See our Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) page for more information.
Vaccinations for other poultry species
Vaccinations for other poultry species such as ducks, turkeys and quail is not routinely done unless a specific disease is diagnosed on the farm and vaccination is provided by veterinary authorisation.
Antibiotics for poultry
There is a limited number of antimicrobials registered for poultry in Australia; this is largely due to reducing the risk of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics for poultry require a veterinary assessment and prescription with note of the withholding period (WHP) - which is the number of days that eggs or meat from the chicken cannot be consumed since administering the antibiotic.