Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated Chicks? | Wholesome Dwelling Economist

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Does it matter whether or not you purchase vaccinated or unvaccinated child chicks to create or develop your yard flock of egg-laying hens?

healthy unvaccinated baby chicks on grass

With Easter simply a few weeks away, I believed I’d pen a couple of phrases about shopping for chicks in your children this Vacation.

Like many mother and father, I bought child chicks for my children at Easter, who rapidly grew inside a couple of weeks to egg-laying birds that we stored in a yard coop.

As I’ve been a yard poultry keeper for a few years now, I believed I’d opine on my expertise with vaccinated versus vaccinated birds over time!

Does it actually matter? The reply would possibly shock you.

Most Hatcheries Vaccinate Chicks Whereas Nonetheless within the Egg

Vaccination within the hatchery has all the time been thought of by the trade to be the “greatest case situation” for child chicks. (1)

For a few years, only some vaccines had been administered. These included:

  • Marek’s illness (MD)
  • Infectious bronchitis (IB)
  • Coccidiosis
  • Newcastle illness (ND)
  • Swollen head syndrome (SHS)

Lately, new developments in chick vaccination have occurred with vaccination by eye drop, coarse spray and fantastic spray, subcutaneous injection at day outdated, and the more and more fashionable ‘in-ovo’ injection a couple of days earlier than the chick hatches. Beneath is a video of the method.

This has allowed many extra injections to happen.

Vaccinated Hens Don’t Lay As Lengthy!

In my expertise maintaining egg-laying hens, those who had been vaccinated as chicks don’t have a tendency to put eggs very lengthy.

Whereas they appear to put usually for the primary 12 months to 12 months and a half, after that, egg manufacturing declines sharply in contrast with unvaccinated hens.

By comparability, unvaccinated hens I’ve stored over time will lay usually till they’re 5-6 years outdated!

Vaccinated Hens Are Sickly

One other downside with hens that had been vaccinated as chicks is that they are usually far more sickly.

To present you some concept, out of a batch of 6 vaccinated chicks I raised a little bit over 3 years in the past, solely 2 stay (and a type of is at the moment sick and has solely ever laid deformed eggs).

A few of you may be questioning why I received vaccinated chicks to start with.

The reason being that I used to be beneath the impression that the feed retailer the place I purchased them had unvaxed chicks. Sadly, this was a mistake on my half.

This error, nevertheless, gave me a perspective for comparability, which I’m now sharing with you!

Weaker Hens Most popular by Predators

One other factor I’ve seen over time is that the vaccinated hens are focused extra by predators.

For instance, during the last 5 years we’ve more and more skilled hawk assaults in our neighborhood on account of some heavy improvement in a rural space to the north of our group.

With out exception, the hens which have fallen prey to the hawks had been vaccinated.

Predators instinctively know which animals are the weakest and sickest. They have an inclination to go for these animals because it supplies the next fee of success.

Is it only a coincidence that each single hen I’ve misplaced to a hawk over the previous few years was vaccinated? Maybe, however provided that they had been extra sickly anyway, I doubt that it was happenstance.

At all times Insist on Unvaxed Chicks!

My suggestion to those that maintain yard hens is that it’s price it to spend the time searching for out unvaccinated chicks.

And, in fact, after you have these cuties, remember to feed them organic unmedicated feed!

You spend a variety of time elevating these infants into adults, and sickly birds that don’t lay as lengthy usually are not funding in my expertise.

As well as, who is aware of what the decreased dietary worth of their eggs may be on account of this medicalization?

For instance, one among my vaxed hens constantly lays deformed eggs (and all the time has). I’ve by no means had an unvaxed hen lay this sort of egg.

Even when the egg seems to be regular, nevertheless, are the yolk and white truly the identical? We do not know at this level. I haven’t discovered any analysis that has appeared into it.

The place to Get Unvaccinated Chicks

There are 3 ways to make sure that the child chicks you choose for your loved ones to develop up into egg layers are unmedicalized.

Feed Retailer

Some feed shops can have unvaccinated chicks.

Trace: These institutions will virtually all the time be independently owned.

Nonetheless, some domestically owned feed shops can have vaccinated chicks too, so remember to ask and don’t assume (which was my mistake!).


Whereas fewer and fewer hatcheries are providing unvaccinated chicks, there are nonetheless a couple of round.

Hoover’s Hatchery is the one I like to recommend trying into (you choose vaccination standing at checkout).

The minimal buy is 15 chicks, so shopping for with a buddy or two is a good suggestion for those who solely need a couple of chicks at a time.

Hatch Your Personal!

One other nice possibility is to hatch your personal chicks.

All you want is a rooster and a DIY egg incubator to get began.

We received a big, formidable, and but light cockerel from a neighborhood rooster sanctuary. You don’t even have to boost them from a chick for those who don’t need to.

Notice that hatching chicks laid from unvaccinated hens goes to supply the perfect outcomes!

Have you ever seen a distinction at your home between the well being and egg-laying capability between vaccinated and unvaccinated hens?

Please share your expertise with us!


(1) Vaccination within the Hatchery

(2) Poultry Vaccinations

(3) Hoover’s Hatchery