Broiler operations naturally want to provide the best disease protection for the least cost, but deciding which vaccines to use and when can be a daunting task. First, there are so many variables to consider — not just disease pressure and the emergence of new variants but also geographic location, proximity to other farms, temperature, litter moisture, housing type, ventilation, lighting, bird density, target weight and labor.
Then there’s the overwhelming arsenal of vaccines. Producers have a deep war chest of modified-live, inactivated, autogenous and recombinant vaccines that can be administered in a variety of ways, at different times — often in combination with other immunizations. Every flock and farm is different, and there’s no such thing as a blanket program. So how should broiler farms go about planning cost-effective vaccination programs? And how does one vaccine decision affect a poultry company’s options for managing other diseases?