Welcome to our backyard flock vaccine club!

We’re introducing our backyard flock vaccine club to make it as easy as possible to keep your birds protected from illnesses, viruses and bacteria.

We buy vaccines in bulk and package them into single doses, ready for you to administer to your poultry at home, usually as eye drops but also sometimes as injections.

All you need to do is let us know how many doses you need in advance, then on the day pick them up from our Kirriemuir branch and you’re good to go – although it’s important to remember that you only have two hours to administer the vaccine from when you pick them up, so prepare in advance!

We’re hosting a meeting on * with information on why it’s important to vaccinate your birds – which you can also read more about below. To sign up for our vaccine information evening, please register online today.

If you’d like to sign up to receive vaccinations from us, please fill out the registration form below.

Register here:

Backyard flock vaccine club registration

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Why should you vaccinate your poultry?

Viruses and bacteria are present in the environment and at some point in their lifetime your poultry may come into contact with something that makes them, or even you, poorly.

We want you and your animals to be as healthy as possible and vaccines play an important role in achieving this.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and can only help bacterial infections or secondary bacterial infections in weakened birds, meaning we need a different approach to prevent disease from viruses.

Vaccines provide a level of immunity to a disease that will help your birds stay healthier and reduce potential transmission to your other poultry or to you.

What should you vaccinate for?

There are many viruses and bacteria that can infect poultry. Below, we have highlighted the ones that we see most frequently, or that pose the greatest risk if infection occurs.

Avian rhinotracheitis

This is easily transmitted from bird to bird, as well as through contaminated clothing, footwear, equipment or drinking water. It commonly affects turkeys and chickens, and can cause breathing difficulties, swollen heads and sinuses, nasal discharge, sneezing and sometimes a reduction in egg production.

Infectious bronchitis

This is a disease caused by a type of coronavirus, of which there are many strains present in the UK. This means we have to use different vaccines to provide protection against the most common strains. It is typically caused by airborne transmission and can cause respiratory distress, pus from the nasal cavities, reduced egg production and poor eggshell quality. Damage caused to the oviduct can predispose hens to subsequent egg peritonitis infections.


This is a family of bacteria that cause a variety of different diseases which can be transmitted to poultry by infected clothing, footwear and equipment as well as from bird to bird, and through the egg from parent to chick. Mycoplasma is often found in wild bird populations. These bacteria can cause respiratory signs such as swelling of the respiratory tract, or swelling of the leg and wing joints.

Newcastle disease

It is a legal requirement that you notify Defra if it is suspected one of your birds has Newcastle disease. There is only one strain currently found in the UK, but it can cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. It is typically spread through the infected faeces of wild or domestic birds but also through respiratory discharge of infected birds, as well as through contaminated clothing and equipment. It can cause very high death rates at its worst, as well as paralysis, depression, diarrhoea and respiratory distress.

Ornthobacterium rhinotracheale infection

This is caused by bacteria spread from bird to bird, through clothing or equipment, or from parent to chick through the egg. It can affect chickens and turkeys, and typically causes respiratory illness such as swollen sinuses and watery eyes, but can also cause swollen joints.


There are thousands of salmonella variants, but we are mainly concerned with two types which can infect humans through food and cause severe food poisoning. The poultry themselves will typically show no ill health and only carry the disease, having picked it up from mice, rats, livestock or wild birds.

How to vaccinate

Both methods described below require the vaccine to be administered within two hours of collection. It is advisable to have your birds penned prior to collection so that you can catch them quickly once you get home.

Eye drop

You will collect the vaccine in an eye drop bottle.

Hold the bird underneath your arm, supporting its legs and holding the wings firmly to its side.

Tilt the bird’s head by holding the beak – you may need help if your birds are lively!

Squeeze one drop of vaccination liquid into the bird’s eye.


You will collect the vaccine in a small syringe.

Hold the bird upright and tilt it back so its breast is completely vertical to you. You will need someone to hold the bird and someone to inject.

Check there are no air bubbles in the syringe by pushing up the syringe piston slowly and gently – but not too far, as you don’t want to lose the vaccine.

Using your fingers, find an area approximately 2cm from the crop, slightly to the side of the keel bone down the middle of the breast.

Firmly insert the needle fully into the breast muscle and inject the dosage.

Vaccination FAQs

I don’t have any known health issues with my poultry – is it still worth vaccinating?

Most of the vaccines we suggest are for viruses which cannot be effectively controlled with antibiotics, so it is worth ensuring your birds are protected even if they haven’t had health challenges in the past. The key is to provide current protection to prevent signs of disease in the future. We are striving to reduce antibiotic usage in livestock and vaccines are a core part of this strategy. Good biosecurity such as keeping the birds away from other livestock and wild birds, cleaning their drinking water daily, changing your clothing and footwear and washing your hands will help keep diseases at bay, but are not always easy, practical or failsafe.

Will my birds be ill after vaccination?

Some of the vaccines we use are live, which means we are giving the bird a version of the virus. By nature, this means your poultry may have some mild signs of the disease that should disappear after a couple of days.

I didn’t use my vaccine within the timescale, does it matter?

The vaccines do start to lose efficacy after the prescribed timescale so it is a risk that the vaccine may not work as well as it otherwise would. If in doubt it is worth speaking to our team and possibly getting a new supply of vaccine to try again.

I’m not sure I applied the vaccine correctly, can I do it again?

Most vaccines are safe to dose many more times than prescribed so it should be no problem. It is better to be sure the vaccine has been applied properly than take the risk of it not working.

How soon can I eat the eggs after vaccinating

Most live vaccines have no withdrawal rates so you can eat the eggs immediately. If in doubt, check with our team.

Do vaccinations need to be repeated?

Vaccinations do need to be repeated as a booster to maintain high immunity levels. We will inform you as to when your next vaccines are due, but if in doubt just give us a shout!