How I Give Coccidiosis Vaccine to My Chicks Via Water

Coccidiosis is one of the diseases that can cause long-term damage to chicks (reduced weight gain and increase mortality). Prevention was mainly done by giving routine preventive dosage of coccidiosis drugs on day 9-13 and it is repeated every 2-3 weeks. But with the emergence of coccidiosis vaccines, many farmers are turning to it because there is no problem of drug resistance (Update: The vaccine is becoming more and more expensive in Nigeria, so using drugs now seem better).

 Advantages of Vaccination with Immucox®

  • It is better than using drugs because there will be no risk of antibiotic resistance
  • Vaccination can offer similar performance (in terms of live weight and feed efficiency) as anticoccidial drugs
  • Flock uniformity is better at the processing plant with no drug residues

Types of Coccidiosis Vaccines

Coccidiosis vaccines can be classified into attenuated and non-attenuated vaccines. Attenuated vaccines cannot cause diseases in chickens because they contain coccidiosis oocysts that have been weakened. Examples include Paracox, Livacox and Viracox.  Non-attenuated vaccines include Immucox, Coccivac and Advent. They can cause some lesions and occurrence of coccidiosis because they’ve not been weakened. So it may be necessary to treat for secondary gut disease (necrotic enteritis) using antibiotic or probiotics 16-17 days after vaccination. In my case I didn’t notice any secondary gut disease, probably due to the homemade probiotics I gave them daily.

Vaccine Used: I used immucox which contains live oocysts of Eimeria acervulina, E. brunette, E. maxima, E. necatrix, and E. tenella.

When to vaccinate: The one I used is given to birds that are up to 5 days old or more. But it is better to give at 5 days old so that immunity will be developed early enough before field infection set in. This will result in minimum damage to the intestines.

Before Giving: Vaccinate only healthy birds. I deprived the chicks of water for 2 hours so that all of them will drink the vaccine solution.

How to Give Immucox:

Immucox comes with a powdered diluents and the main vaccine itself (which is in liquid form). Below are the steps I used according to manufacturer’s instruction.

Solid diluent of coccidiosis vaccine

Solid diluent of the vaccine

1. Pour the Diluent into A Bucket of Water:

Make sure you are using unchlorinated water whenever you are giving any vaccine. Any sanitizer in water will render the vaccine useless. The amount of water I used was by guessing base on the number of drinkers I have and base on how much water the chicks can drink within 1 hours. You have to use enough drinkers so that most of the chicks can drink at the same time. So what I did was to fill each drinker with small amount of water that I think the chicks can finish in 1 hours. After that I combine all the water in a bucket. Do not use nipple drinkers – says the manufacturer.

Adding immucox diluent to drinking water

Adding diluent to drinking water

The diluent formed clumps in water

The diluent formed clumps in water

I used seive to break up the clumps

I used seive to break up the clumps

When I poured the powdered diluents into the water, I noticed something the manufacturer did not stated. Instead of dissolving like milk in water, it formed slimy solids clumps. I have to spend a lot of time trying to squash the clumps with my hands but it was unsuccessful. My mother suggested using a sieve and that was how I finally achieved my aim. I strain out the solids with a plastic sieve and putting the sieve in an empty bucket, I squash the solids through the sieve. When most of them became a gelatinous mass, I combine them with the rest of the solution. The final solution had the consistency of starch in water. It was so thick that I have to call my vet to ask him if the chicks can really drink it.

As I later find out, the thick solution prevents the vaccine oocysts from settling out of solution. This will prevent unequal consumption of the oocysts by the chicks.

2. Pour the Main Vaccine into the Thick Mixture:

I poured the main vaccine into the mixture I made and mix very-very well. The vaccine had a green color or so. The manufacturer said “do not over or under dose”. I bought 1000 dose but I had about 600 chicks, so to prevent overdosing, I should have given only 9ml of the main vaccine. Here is how I did the calculation:

My Immucox was 1000 doses and the volume is 15ml. So for 600 doses, I’ll need less vaccine, which is (600x15ml)/1000 = 9ml. I used slightly more and made sure they finish it.

Immucox vaccine: The main thing

Immucox vaccine: The main thing

3. Distribute the Vaccine Solution in Drinkers:

Use a lot of drinkers so that all of the chicks can drink at the same time. The drinker should be very clean. In my case, I didn’t wash with soap for fear that it will make the vaccine less effective (You can use soap though, but never use any disinfectant like dettol, Izal etc. They might kill the vaccine virus). As for pictures of the chicks drinking the vaccine, I lost it after transferring pictures from phone to my computer. A lot of pictures were lost.

After Giving the Vaccine:

Litter should not be too dry or else the vaccine won’t be effective. The oocysts need moisture in order to multiply and the birds need access to their feces for the vaccine to be effective. To increase litter moisture, I have to spray some water from time to time. If you make use of cages to brood, cover 40% of the floor with boards so that the birds will have access to their droppings. And leave the board in place for at least 6 weeks.

Coccidiosis Vaccine Vs Drugs:

Coccidiosis drugs are still important. Rotating them with coccidiosis vaccine is a good idea. If your farm is full of coccidia that are resistant to drugs, using coccidiosis vaccine over a period of time will get rid of the resistant strains and create a new generation of coccidia that can be killed with drugs.

Warning!!!

Don’t give anticoccidial drugs (agracox, coxstop, embazin forte etc) either through feed or water! Doing so will render the vaccination useless and a waste of money. Coccidiosis vaccine and coccidiosis drugs don’t go together. After the first 12 days of vaccination for Immucox, don’t give any broad spectrum antibiotics that possess anticoccidial effect such as tetracycline, sulfas, and nitrofurans.

If your birds are confined in a space (e.g. brooding ring), they must be release from the confinement by the 6th day after vaccination or the area must be at least doubled.

Caution

Many factors determines if vaccination will be effective. Some of them include conditions of storage (store at 3-7oC and don’t freeze) and handling of the vaccine by the user, administration of the vaccine, the responsiveness of individual birds to the vaccine and whether the directions for use and precautionary measures are being followed carefully. Failure to follow best practices can lead to vaccine failure and high mortality.

I hope you gained something from this article. Please share it and give me feedback. Which coccidiosis vaccine do you prefer?

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