I did have success in securing a batch of Marek's vaccinations which my vet from a country town managed to order in from New South Wales. It was for up to 250 chicks, whereas I had only 6 chicks. To be fair, that was a good size as most vaccinations for poultry comes in an average size of 1,000. I paid around $120 to get that vaccine in via my vet.
On further investigation by my vet she found that Ingham's have the monopoly of vaccinations in the state. Nothing was available in doses under 1,000.
Marek's can keep in the fridge in its rock form for up to only 12 months, so if you are planning on hatching more than one batch in the year, you could carefully split the vaccine for 1,000 with a razor blade. Or do a share plan with others who are also hatching eggs in your local area. This is then mixed with a diluent (carrier fluid) for injection.
Please note that there is an alternative form of Marek's vaccination now available by water droplet form. I am only talking about injectable vaccinations in this post.
If you believe in vaccinating your poultry there are at least four (4) vaccinations that are recommended for chicks:
Scoring one out of four was really disappointing for me, especially with my background in farming. I had no idea how difficult it could be for suburban backyard chicken owners to locate all the right vaccines...and then in time.
Chicks need to be vaccinated between 1 to 3 days of age (depending on the disease) or the vaccines will not be of any effect.
Other vaccinations for chicks include:
Infectious Bronchitis (IB)
Fowl Pox (FP)
Avian Encephalomyelitis (AE)
Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT)
There is no law that insists on vaccinations for poultry in South Australia. Its really about managing the health of your flock to prevent the spread of disease. Many backyard poultry keepers have opted to go down the no-vaccine route and manage their flock by a deep litter method to expose the young chicks and pullets to things in their environment to help build up their immune system.
Once you build up a rapport with your local poultry vet they can be a wonderful source of information about diseases that have been discovered in your local area. Never overlook that relationship as it can save your flock.
As Marek's Disease had been discovered in a southern suburb of Adelaide earlier this year, my vet was very encouraged to search out the vaccine for me and to encourage other poultry owners to do so, likewise.
Never one to be put off I went in search of farming supply stores that might be able to help me in the future with my next hatching. So here is one to add to your list of contacts.
Hills Farm Supplies
12 Light Crescent, Mount Barker
Ph: (08) 8391 4629
Hills Farm Supplies at Mount Barker is worth the trip. Located up behind Mitre 10, they stock a great range of poultry supplies including vaccinations, supplements, pest dusts, worming, leg rings in a range of sizes, feeders and drinkers amongst so much more!
The lovely people at Hills advised me that when purchasing vaccines for poultry that I pre-order prior to hatching and they will order it in.
Having heard on Facebook that they would do smaller batch sizes, I was informed that they do not do that now and only issue batches in 1,000. Make sure you also order a diluent for only $7.95. A diluent is the carrier fluid for mixing the active ingredient of the vaccine with.
Their prices are just around the $100 price mark depending on the vaccine you require.
In comparison to the vaccine I purchased from my vet for 250, these 1,000 lot batches are so affordable and cheaper than what I paid. They really are worthwhile.
I recommend buying this way if you have had some experience with poultry vaccinations beforehand. If in doubt, please ask your vet for full instructions as they will be able to give you a print out on how to mix and administer the vaccine correctly. Storage and time of use are vital to a successful vaccination program. Never start without that information.
Available at the time of my visit for poultry:
Poulvac Mareks "HVT"1000
Poulvac I.L.T./I.B.D. 1000 Diluent
Poulvac Laryngo I.L.T. "SA2"1000
For Coccidiosis - a product off the shelf - Amprolium 200 which retails for around $26.
Added to the drinking water (not as an injection).
I also highly recommend joining poultry groups on Facebook for more information and peer support.
If you know of any other farming supplies store in South Australia that can supply poultry vaccinations, please let me know.
I'd love to share it with everyone.