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Infectious Bursal Disease

Special attention should be paid to Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) control. This disease can have many subtle effects which are detrimental to pullet health. The primary feature of IBD is immunosuppression caused by damage to the bursa of Fabricius, which leaves the bird unable to fend off other disease challenges. Secondary diseases such as gangrenous dermatitis, bacterial arthritis, peritonitis, and even Marek's Disease often result. Virtually all flocks are exposed to IBD and, therefore, should be protected by vaccination. Most breeding stock receives a killed IBD vaccine to boost maternal antibodies in the chicks. Research at Hy-Line International has shown the optimum time to vaccinate such chicks with intermediate strain live vaccines is at 18 to 20 days, 24 to 26 days, and at 30 to 32 days of age. Extremely severe IBD challenges may require even more frequent vaccination with stronger strains of vaccine during this period. Bursas can be examined later to determine the extent of protection.

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