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To boost or not to boost

An American fancier had heard from a fellow country man that you can boost the condition of the birds before a race if you vaccinate them against salmonella.

It was said some Europeans do the same.  

I know that 'fellow country man'. 

He used to race in Holland but moved to another province since his results were 'too poor to be true'.

What he did then was pulling out all 12 feathers of the tail; thus the birds would be freed from paratyphoid, he said.

How stupid some people can be.



It is true that vaccinating against salmonella in between the races was a kind of hype some years ago.

It was a kind of hype, so fanciers imitated each other but found it was no use at all.

Some even vaccinated against pox during the season and the idea was the same; the live virus was supposed to activate the immune system and thus boost the condition.

Now (most) fanciers know better.

Those vaccinations are absolutely useless.  

Some fanciers claim (there was even a vet among them) that after a vaccination against salmonella the risk of an outbreak of Adeno is reduced.

This has also proven not to be true.



I personally consider paratyphoid as big a problem for our birds same as canker. 

What about vaccinating outside the season then?

This subject is controversial.

Some vets advise to do so, however most of them are against it.

What they ALL agree on is that you can only vaccinate after a cure of at least 12 days.

Altabactine was an antibiotic that was superior to others but is forbidden now.

If one gram of it is found at a vet's place he will get  in big trouble.

But there are alternatives which also work.


Personally I treat all my birds every winter for 12 days. After that they are NOT vaccinated. Others also treat before the season and are successful. 


The reason that I give a cure is that I just do not want to take chances. I handle many birds of other fanciers and can hardly imagine that in case I have 80 birds there is no carrier of the harmful bacteria among them.

Fanciers whose birds have proven to be infected however should vaccinate them but ALWAYS after a cure of at least 12 days.

The best thing to do then is use an auto vaccine, since there are many families of the bacteria, thus you enhance chances to hit the right family.

Unfortunately no vaccination will give you a 100% guarantee, not even against paramyxo.

Furthermore one should know the vaccination against paratyphoid is hard on the birds and therefore they should only be mated at least 6 weeks later.

Pretty many fanciers ruined their breeding season by mating up the birds too soon after vaccination.

If you doubt if there is salmonella among your birds there is a simple way to find out if that is the case.

Just vaccinate some birds, if they fall very sick you have reason to worry.



Many fanciers do not know the difference between vaccinating and curing (I mean medicate the birds with antibiotics).

It is simple:

- You vaccinate healthy birds in order to prevent them from an infection.

- You cure sick birds in order to heal them.

So vaccinating birds during the season in order to boost the condition?

Just forget it.

You can boost the condition by manipulating with cold and heat (pretty difficult in many countries) and light and dark, which is easier!

(C) A Schaerlaeckens

Elton Dinga USA and Mike Hopman from the Netherlands are a great help to update you with new articles!