Do Birds Need Vaccines? ( Everything About Vaccination For Birds )

I know one of the things that hurt most of the pet bird owners is a sick bird or a disease spreading into their bird farms or poultry farms.

Many poultry bird owners suffer a lot due to the death of their birds from a lot of deadly diseases

Birds are vulnerable to a large number of diseases and they can get easily infected leading to bad health and low product yield and can be a reason for those who love their birds.

Proper vaccination should be carried to give a shield of protection to your pet birds. Vaccination helps in generating antibodies to fight various deadly diseases.

Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird

What vaccines do my pet birds needs?

There are multiple vaccines available in the market that should be administered to your different pet birds to strengthen their immune system against various diseases. 

Some of the most common and effective vaccines that you can administer to your pet birds are-

Polyomavirus Vaccine 

Polyomavirus disease is one of the most common bird diseases that is known to infect various species of pet and wild birds all over the globe.

The polyomavirus is very contagious and is capable of making the bird severely ill.

The polyomavirus disease spreads through physical contact in birds and through bird feces, contaminated drinking water, and food. This disease can rapidly spread from one bird to another in no time.

Proper vaccination can prevent the infection of a polyomavirus in your pet birds.

It is important to administer the Polyomavirus vaccine after 40 to 45 days of hatching of the birds. After administering the vaccine to your pet birds, a booster is required for your birds after two weeks.

The vaccine is administrated to the bird with the help of an injection following the subcutaneous method, you can inject the vaccine in the breast at the caudal end.

Birds infected by Polyomavirs around the world are-

  • Budgies
  • Canaries
  • Finches
  • And other birds belonging to the parrot family are also susceptible to the virus.

Cholera Vaccine 

Fowl cholera is one of the most dreaded diseases as it infects a wide range of birds including many pet birds. Common birds infected by Fowl Cholera are-

  • Turkeys
  • Chickens
  • Pheasants
  • Crows
  • Ducks
  • Pigeons
  • Dove
  • Ostrich
  • Budgies

Fowl Cholera vaccine is not a compulsorily required vaccine, it is used only if you have cases of fowl cholera in your area or your birds. Proper administration of the fowl cholera vaccine can give the required immunity to your birds.

Fowl Cholera vaccine usually comes in two variants. 

Live attenuated Viruses Inactivated bacterins
This vaccine contains the microbe  in live and weekend formThe microbe is usually inactivated.
It is administrated through the oral method of vaccination.It is administrated through the injection method of vaccination.
Mainly one dose of vaccine is given by mixing it into pure drinking water.2 dosage of the vaccine is given through injection at a regular interval of 4 weeks.

Vaccine for Infectious Bronchitis 

The vaccine for infectious bronchitis is administrated at an early age of 10 to 30 days. The vaccine provides immunity in the bird against the Massachusetts variant of the bronchitis virus. The Massachusetts variant is known to infect most pet birds after one or two years in most parts of the world.

The vaccine is a live vaccine containing active microbe in a very weak form. It should be checked that the vaccine is for the right variant of the disease otherwise there will be no effect of the vaccine on a particular variant of the disease.

Birds that are highly susceptible to infectious Bronchitis are –

  • Mainly chickens are infected
  • Pheasants 
  • Peafowl
  • And very rare chances of infection in other birds.

The vaccine is administrated through the nostrils of the bird, the vaccine solutions’ drops are dropped into the nostrils with the help of a dropper.

Vaccine for Marek’s Disease

This is among those vaccines that should be administrated to the bird on the day of hatching, mainly many hatcheries administrate this vaccine to eliminate any chances of infection from the microbe of Marek’s disease.

The mode of applying the vaccine is through an injection, applied underneath the skin folds of the bird or on the neck back.

This vaccine is not fully effective against Marek’s disease but only helps in fighting against some of the symptoms of the disease like tumors and paralysis.

Birds affected by Marek’s disease are-

  • Chickens
  • Turkeys
  • Quails
  • In very rare scenarios it can also infect ducks.

Vaccine for the Newcastle disease

The vaccine for Newcastle disease is mainly administered to chickens and turkeys. It is a live vaccine containing a weak form of the virus.

The weak virus helps in generating antibodies against the disease and the immune system of the bird creates a  memory of the disease, during the further attack, the antibodies easily fight off the deadly virus.

The vaccine can be administrated through different methods, drinking water and injection shot being the most common ones.

Some of the common birds infected by Newcastle disease are-

  • Turkeys 
  • Ducks
  • Pheasants
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Emu
  • Geese
  • Ostriches
  • Rhea
  • And many other pet and wild birds.

Vaccine against Fowl Pox and other poxviruses.

There are multiple ranges of poxviruses that can infect a different range of domestic and wild birds. Some of the most common poxviruses are-

  • Pigeon pox (can infect other birds apart from pigeons like chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys)
  • Quail pox
  • Canary pox
  • Psittacine pox
  • Ratite pox

Administrating your birds with these pox virus vaccines will help them generate an immune response that can easily fight any further attack. It is advised not to give these vaccines to your pet birds if there is no case of infection in your area or on your farm.

The virus for these poxes can spread from bird to bird and can contaminate rapidly, if there are a high number of mosquitoes or other flies in your area you can administrate your birds with the fowlpox virus vaccines.

The vaccine can be administrated through the nasal instillation method, another way of giving the vaccine is through dopping the vaccine solution in the bird’s eye.

Fowlpox and other poxviruses can infect many birds like-

  • Turkeys
  • Pheasants
  • Pigeons
  • Turkeys
  • Quail
  • Ducks
  • Doves
  • Chickens
  • And many other varieties of pet and wild birds.

Vaccine for Mycoplasma 

Mycoplasma disease vaccine is mainly for poultry birds, it is administrated through drinking water or injection method.

The vaccine is mainly available in small liquid bottles of 500 ml bottles.

Duck Plague Vaccines 

As the name suggests duck plague disease is mainly known to infect ducks. Duck plague vaccine is extremely important for your ducks and should be administrated in your pet ducks to protect them from any possible infection.

The mode of administration is through intramuscular or subcutaneous injections.

The DIfference in vaccination methods for different birds:

Eye drop and Nasal Installation  Method 

The method of giving vaccination through eye drop is generally preferred in the cases of small dosage of vaccines, in this method the vaccine starts acting immediately by mediating responses in the immune system of the bird.

To vaccinate a bird by this method you need to follow these steps

  • Firstly you need to grab the bird with a strong grip
  • Try to hold the neck comfortably with one hand and lift the head up, so that the eyes project upwards
  • Use a fully sterile vaccine dropper and as per the prescription drop the required number of drops in the bird’s eye.

The same steps can be followed in the second method, the only change is that the drops are instilled in the nostril of the bird instead of the eyes. When vaccinating the bird through nostrils try to press the beak slightly so the bird directly absorbs the vaccine.

Vaccination through the beak

Another way of vaccinating your birds is through the beak, the vaccine directly reaches the stomach and assimilates with blood during the process of digestion, and starts generating antibodies by generating a strong immune response.

  • The first step is to prepare the vaccine dose by mixing the required amount of cold water with the preferred amount of vaccine.
  • Some people also prefer mixing jaggery powder or milk powder to make the solution tasty for the birds.
  • The next step is to hold the bird’s mouth and dip its head into the vaccine solution. The bird may respond by jerks or rapid head movements.

It is important to finish the process as fast as possible and the vaccine solution should be kept at lower temperatures throughout the process.

Subcutaneous injection 

The method of vaccination by subcutaneous injection is mailny used in the case of inactive vaccines.

The vaccine is ingested in the lower region of the neck, it is ingested at the back end of the neck.

You need to be extremely careful regarding the hygiene and cleanliness of the area while vaccinating the birds, any contamination to the vaccine can lead to serious side effects and allergic reactions as well.

Intramuscular Method

The intramuscular method of vaccination is mostly used if you are using an active vaccine i.e the microbe is alive but in its weekend form. There are several live vaccines like Fowlpox, ND R2B that are administrated in the muscles of the bird.

You can apply the vaccine to various muscular parts but the safest option is the breast muscle, it is easier and a simple way to administrate the vaccine.

Wing web method

The wing web method is used specifically for the pigeon pox vaccine. To administer the pigeon pox vaccine through the wing web method, a device named a lancet is used.

  • The tip of the lancet is immersed in the vaccine solution first.
  • After it, pierce the part of the wing consisting of the least blood vessels.

Through drinking water

This is one of the most common methods of vaccination in poultry birds. This is a simple practice of vaccination by replacing the drinking water of birds with the vaccine solution in the drinkers.

  • It is important to clean the drinkers before administrating the vaccine through them.
  • The number of drinkers and the amount of water poured in them should be measured as per the prescription of the doctor.
  • In the case of small baby birds, the appropriate way to administer vaccination through drinker water is by using droppers.

Vaccination Through Dosing Pump method

This method is very effective in administrating the right doses of vaccines in the drinking water of the birds with specific measurements. 

A device known as a dosing pump is required to constantly add the vaccine into the prepared water for the birds at constant intervals.

The efficacy of the dosing pump is very high and you can set different parameters that allow the release of vaccine into the stock solution at a specific rate. It is very important to understand all the precautions and volumes to be administrated to the birds.

Some precautions before vaccination

  • It is important to check that the vaccine is manufactured by a popular brand and is one hundred percent authentic. Avoid giving local vaccines as there are high chances of adulteration.
  • Checking the prescribed temperature of the vaccine bottle before purchasing is very essential otherwise there are higher chances that vaccines can be ineffective at higher temperatures.
  • Check for the manufacture date and expiry date.
  • Live vaccines should be kept in ice-cold temperatures at your place to keep them active and effective.
  • It is important to check the prescribed dosage before administrating it to the bird.
  • It is very important to keep a check on sick birds, ailing birds should not be vaccinated, vaccination can trigger a hyperimmune response in these birds or may cause a shock to the bird.
  • All the equipment should be thoroughly washed and cleaned before vaccinating the birds.

Do pet birds need to go to the vet for vaccination? or can I do it myself at home?

It is not advised to carry your pet birds in case you are having a large number of pet birds to a vet for vaccination as it not merely possible to carry a large number of pet birds to the vet.

If you are having a single pet bird and the method of vaccine administration is quite difficult taking your bird to the vet for vaccination will be the right thing.

It is equally important to consider a vet’s suggestion before administrating vaccines to your pet, as the use of some vaccinations depends on a particular geographical area and the most common diseases in your area.

Secondly, there are various vaccines available in the market that are commonly administrated to most of the birds but maybe exempted for a particular species of a bird.

Some symptoms and side effects of vaccines 

Vaccines do not have drastic reactions or side effects on the health of the birds but some minute signs and symptoms may appear after administrating the vaccine into your birds. Some of the side effects are

  • There are high chances that your bird may experience mild weakness or fever after administrating the vaccine.
  • Some birds may feel sleepy during the daytime after the vaccination.
  • Birds may eat or drink a little less for one or two days after administrating the vaccine.
  • In some cases, the bird may get a high immune response leading to some allergic symptoms like sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, or even rashes in some cases. 
  • In a very few stances birds may develop some high degree of fever while responding to the vaccine, it is completely safe and there is no need to worry in such a situation.


Throughout time there were many deadly diseases infecting birds and animals alike, these diseases generally do not have any cure but with the coming of vaccines, the danger of these diseases has become less and can save a lot of lives.

There are various diseases that can be prevented in birds by applying the required vaccines. Bird owners must apply vaccination at the appropriate time with proper measures.

If you own up some pet birds or have a pet farm, timely vaccination can save you and your bird from a lot of trouble.