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Fast, Quiet Poultry Vaccination Now Possible

By Alfredo Flores
December 26, 2002

To be protected against deadly diseases, egg-laying leghorn chickens are treated by a noisy, inefficient machine called a poultry vaccinator. It resembles a modified leaf blower spewing out vaccine, and its ear-piercing noise disturbs the chickens.

Now a team of Agricultural Research Service scientists at Mississippi State, Miss., has developed a new, quieter machine called the CPJ vaccinator, which protects chickens against diseases such as mycoplasmosis, infectious bronchitis and Newcastle disease.

Since the fall of 2001, this new vaccinating tool has been used to treat the 3 million chickens reared at the Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., Egg Production (Poultry) Facility in Edwards, Miss. The CPJ was originally developed and named after ARS technicians Martin Carden, John Prisock and Jason Johnson. Veterinary medical officer Scott L. Branton later modified the device to meet industry standards. The researchers are based at the ARS Poultry Research Unit at Mississippi State.

Initial results have shown the CPJ to be far superior to its predecessor. With it, two people can vaccinate roughly 75,000 chickens in a little over 7 minutes, compared to five people taking 45 minutes to get the job done conventionally. Whereas it once took a week to vaccinate the entire Cal-Main complex in Edwards, that can be done in a little over half a day using the CPJ.

Chickens inhale the vaccine, which is sprayed in a mist from the vaccinator.

Mycoplasmosis, a respiratory disease, causes more than $140 million in damage a year to the poultry industry. Part of this damage is blamed on the poor delivery of vaccine from the standard vaccinator, which consists of a hose attached to a machine inside a backpack that sprays the vaccine, reaching intended targets about half the time.

The CPJ is far more effective, spreading liquid vaccine uniformly so it reaches over 90 percent of the chickens. The battery-powered, 6- by 5-foot CPJ has nozzles on both sides that quietly spread the vaccine to three tiers of birds at once without disturbing them.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

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