Chicken Vaccines

by Donna Yontz
(Vickery, Ohio)

Question:

Chicken Vaccines: Do we Have to give the egg laying hens Any vaccines to ensure healthy eggs for us to eat?

Would we get sick from eating the eggs if we do not give them vaccines?

We are new to this and want to get some hens for egg laying. We are thinking of getting white Plymouth rocks.

6 of them all female. Is it ok to let them run around our fenced yard (we will also have a coop w/ fenced in area for them) but want to let them roam around.

But is it safe for my children to let them run around where they play?

We are to check for eggs daily right? How long do the eggs stay fresh? I would wash them and re-refrigerate them of course.

Does it matter brown eggs or white eggs?

Any info is greatly appreciated. We want this to be a good learning experience for our 3 children and want them to be proud of raising chickens and eating their fresh eggs.

Answer:
No, you do not have to vaccinate your hens to have healthy eggs. Most diseases that hens can get, if serious, will cause them to stop laying.

If you end up with a very sick hen, at some point, I would not recommend eating her eggs, if she is still laying.

It’s not safe to let small chicks run around a yard unguarded. They can make a nice snack for a passing bird of prey or neighborhood cat.

When raised with a mother hen, she watches out for them and sounds an alarm cry, when danger is present. I don’t know how old your children are, but they might not be as attentive to the chicks as a mother hen.

I would recommend that the chicks be handled a lot. I love getting chickens that were raised by kids.

They are so tame and easy to handle and catch! Once the chicks have bonded with your kids and they can handle them and catch them easily, it would be OK to let them roam the yard some.

You’ll want to be able to get them penned up easily, if they can’t be watched. Adult size chickens don’t generally get attacked by cats or birds of prey, so once they are near grown, it should be fine to leave them out in the yard, if well fenced. I have an 8’ fence around the chicken yard and that keeps them in.

Young chickens are light bodied and are often capable of flying up 8’ or higher. Once laying hens are mature, they generally are too heavy to fly that high.

Chicken droppings often contain bacteria that isn’t kind to human digestive systems. Washing hands after handling chickens is important.

Children's toys left in the lawn, that come in contact with droppings may have traces of droppings on them.

Chicken droppings make great lawn fertilizer, but you will probably want to limit the time the chickens are out in the yard.

Allowing them out for an hour or two each day (most days) will hopefully give them access to grass that hasn’t been treated with chemicals, and plenty of bugs and fresh vegetation, which are a part of their natural healthy diet.

The sooner an egg is refrigerated after laying, the fresher it is and the longer it will keep fresh.

I usually bring eggs in twice a day. You can purchase egg wash that is perfect for disinfecting the outside of the shell.

Washed eggs don’t generally last as long as the protective coating has been removed. Washed eggs seem to dehydrate more quickly. With quick and good refrigeration eggs can keep for months.

The color of the shell has little to do with the quality of the egg. What makes a good egg is a healthy hen with a very healthy diet and life.

Thanks for the questions! I wish you and your family a wonderful chicken experience for years to come.

I highly recommend that you make a thorough study of this site before getting started. There are many things that are good to know before you bring chicks home.

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