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How To Vaccinate Layers – Timetable, Principles And Importance

In this post, I will show you the step-by-step guide on how to vaccinate layers – timetable, principles and importance. Poultry business is one of the most lucrative in Nigeria but it can be labour and capital intensive.

One of the costs involved in poultry business is the vaccination of layers. This is a very crucial activity in poultry production which ensures that layer chicks grow into maturity to lay eggs.

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There are many diseases that are prevented by vaccinating layers such as New Castle disease, fowl pox. Vaccines prevent diseases by triggering the immune system of vaccinated birds to produce antibodies to fight against any invading organisms in the future. There are different types of vaccines which are live, attenuated and killed vaccines:

Read Also: How To Start Hatchery Business In Nigeria

How To Vaccinate layers - Timetable, Principles And Importance
Layers Vaccines – Photo Source: https://www.nation.co.ke

1. Live vaccine

This type of vaccine has the causative agent of the disease alive so it is capable of inducing the disease in in the bird and can spread such diseases to non-vaccinated birds.

2. Attenuated vaccine

This also contains the live organism that causes the disease but it is weakened such that it can only induce a mild form of the disease but cannot threaten the life of the vaccinated bird. However, it still triggers the production of antibodies to fight any future invasion.

3. Killed vaccine

This type of vaccine only has the dead organism in it that is unable to cause the disease in the vaccinated bird. Its presence can still trigger antibody production but the level of immunity conferred is weaker than that conferred by the live and attenuated vaccines.

Read Also: How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigeria

There are principles that guide how vaccines should be handled and administered:

1. Injection vaccines must be transported in airtight cool boxes with ice packs to maintain a constant temperature.

2. Injection vaccines temperatures must be between 20Β°C and 80Β°C and avoid freezing, extreme heat and intense light.

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3. Vaccination should be done when the weather is cold: vaccination should be done when the temperature is low i.e. early morning or late evening. Is not expired and enough to go vaccinate the whole flock and that the birds are healthy.

4. Vaccinate layers more than once: Layers need more vaccines since they live longer, up to 18 months as compared to broilers that are disposed of after two months. Layers therefore require repeated doses of vaccines to stay healthy. Layers can be dewormed at 18-19 weeks, while fowl pox susceptibility increases with high temperatures.

5. Vitamins should be administered a day before vaccination and three days after vaccination to reduce stress.

6. Vaccines should never be mixed with vitamins.

7. Sick birds must not be vaccinated and any ongoing treatments must be withdrawn at least three days before vaccination. This is because the virus in the vaccine may be too strong for sick birds and may end up killing them. It is advisable to have a veterinarian inspect the birds to determine their health status.

8. Do not expose vaccines for long after preparation to reduce their reaction.

Steps to Vaccination of Layers; Injection:

1. Know when to administer which vaccine: Different vaccines are to be administered at different times although most are administered early after the chick is hatched. A veterinarian should be consulted before administering vaccines for the first time.

2. Verify that you are giving the right vaccines and right doses: check the label on the vaccine bottle and record information on every vaccine you give for reference.

3. Set your materials: Before bringing layers to the vaccination area, make sure all the equipment you need to vaccinate are available because different vaccines require different methods and materials to administer. Getting set before starting will reduce trauma for the birds. You may require an assistant for some kinds of vaccination so get one.

4. Prepare subcutaneous vaccine: If the vaccine is to be administered subcutaneously, maintain it at room temperature for twelve hours before administering. After this the vaccine should be prepared following instructions on the packaging or instructions from a veterinarian.

5. Prepare the injection site: Injecting a bird without sterilizing the site can introduce disease causing pathogens into the body of the chicken so the site should be sterilized to make sure no infection occurs after the vaccination process.

Read Also: Problems and Prospects of Poultry Production in Nigeria

Steps to administering eye drop vaccines:

1. Dilute the vaccine: dilute the vaccine with 3ml of the diluent using the syringe it came with. The diluent temperature must be between 2Β°C and 8Β°C (36Β°F to 45Β°C).

This is achieved by carrying them in ice box filled with ice. To vaccinate many birds, divide the diluted vaccine into portions and keep some in ice to maintain its temperature while the vaccination is going on.

2. Attach the dropper to the vial: Attach the eye dropper which should come with the vaccine and diluent after shaking the vaccine vial vigorously.

3. Administer the eye drop: Hold the bird in place with the help of an assistant if you need to. Drop at least 0.03ml of the diluted vaccine in the eye of the bird by squeezing the dropper gently on the eye of the bird.

Ensure the vaccine is completely absorbed before letting the chicken go. If not fully absorbed, another drop should be administered.

Administering vaccines through drinking water

1. Know the quantity of water you will need: The vaccine should be mixed with water the birds can drink within two hours. Check how much water they can drink two days before the vaccination to have an idea.

2. Clean their water containers: Containers concerning other forms of medication must be washed and kept free of dirt and germs.

Every other container that you need in the mixing process of the vaccine should be washed and kept clean. The PH of the water should be between 6.0 and 7.5.

3. Administer the vaccine: Before administering the vaccine in drinking water, withdraw their water for 30 to 60 minutes prior to administration in warm weather and 60 to 90 minutes in colder weather.

This is to ensure the birds actually drink the water. Then give them water containing the vaccines for three hours after which you should clean the containers and provide fresh drinking water with vitamins.

Read Also: 10 Problems of Immunization in Nigeria and Possible Solutions

Below is a summary of timing and method of administration for vaccines

Age (days) Disease Method
1 Marek’s Disease Subcutaneous back and neck
9-14 Newcastle-Bronchitis Drinking water and eye drop
14 Infectious Bursal Disease Drinking water
28 Infectious Bursal Disease Drinking water




Age (weeks) Disease Method
4 Newcastle-Bronchitis Drinking water
8 Laryngatracheitis, foul pox, AE Eye drop
13-14 Newcastle Bronchitis Drinking water
16 Laryngotracheitis Eye drop
Post Housing Newcastle Bronchitis (or-) Drinking water
16 Inactivated Newcastle-Bronchitis Injected IM/SQ





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Shedrach Kongvong is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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