Should I get my birds vaccinated?

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Here at My Pet Chicken, we offer a Marek's disease vaccination on all baby chicks. Marek's disease is the #1 disease-related killer of chickens. It can cause paralysis, blindness and death in up to 80% of an infected flock. There is no cure for a flock once it has been infected; the only way to prevent the disease is to vaccinate for it within 24 hours of the chick hatching. Learn more about Marek's disease

Yes, you should get your chicks vaccinated
To be blunt about it, yes. Make the small investment in a Marek's vaccine for your chickens. While in our experience, small, isolated backyard flocks are less prone to infection than larger flocks in general, and you may go years without a problem, when it does strike, you'll sure wish you had listened to our advice.

Marek's Disease does not affect people
And that's good news, right? It doesn't even affect other animals. Avian metabolism is very different, and there are very few ailments that affect both people and chickens. Even the type of lice that commonly bother chickens don't bother people! The vast majority of illnesses people get from chickens come from not washing hands after handling chickens, or improper cooking or preparation of chicken eggs or chicken meat. So while you don't have to worry about Marek's making you sick, it still will be deadly to your chickens.

Ducks and Geese don't get Marek's disease
Thankfully, ducks and geese are less prone to most common poultry diseases and parasites, so they don't need to be vaccinated. Because of that, we do not offer a vaccination for waterfowl.

Still have lots of health-related questions?
You might consider purchasing The Chicken Health Handbook, sold here on our website, in order to inform yourself about health issues more completely. |||vaccine, vaccines, vaccinate, vaccination, vaccinations, vaccinated|False 37|Chicken age: how can I tell?|If you bought or acquired adult chickens somewhere else and I want to know how old they are, we have some bad news about chicken age. It is very difficult to discern the age of an adult chicken. The best you can do is make an educated guess.

There are a few clues you might look for with regard to chicken age.

1. The number of eggs they lay in relation to other birds of the same breed. For example, if you have a Rhode Island Red that only lays one egg a week, there's a pretty good chance she's several years old, whereas if she lays 5-6 eggs a week, she's probably only 1-2 years old.

2. The size of the eggs: young layers tend to lay extra small eggs. As a bird matures, her eggs get larger and larger. However, this is just in comparison to the usual egg size for the breed.

3. The condition of the vent: a moist, pink-looking vent indicates a younger bird.

4. The condition of the shanks: (a chicken's lower legs) can clue you in: older birds have larger, rougher shanks, whereas a younger bird will have smooth shanks with a bit of sheen to them.

5. The molt: a chicken under one year of age will not molt the first year.

6. The spurs: The older a rooster gets, the longer his spurs will be. Older hens may also grow spurs. However, this also depends on breed. Some breeds naturally grow larger spurs than other breeds.