The effect of attenuated Histomonas meleagridis on pullets was investigated and the protection of vaccinated adult laying hens against a severe challenge was studied in the same experimental setting. Four groups of 25 pullets were set up at 18 weeks of life and birds in two groups were vaccinated with in vitro-attenuated H. meleagridis. Chickens in two groups (vaccinated and non-vaccinated) were challenged 5 weeks later with virulent histomonads, while the remaining groups were retained until termination of the study 11 weeks post vaccination. Vaccination of pullets did not have any impact on their subsequent performance. Egg production of non-vaccinated but challenged birds dropped significantly (P ≤ 0.05) between 2 and 4 weeks post challenge (p.c.) to 58.7%, compared with 90% in control chickens. At 4 weeks p.c., the drop in egg production in vaccinated and challenged birds was significantly lower (P=0.02) than in non-protected layers. Pathological changes were found only in challenged birds 2 and 6 weeks p.c. Several non-vaccinated birds showed severe lesions in the caeca with sporadic involvement of the liver and atrophy of the reproductive tract. Vaccination prior to challenge reduced the incidence of pathological findings. For the first time, vaccination of pullets with in vitro-attenuated histomonads could be shown to be an effective and safe prophylactic tool to prevent a severe drop in egg production of commercial layers following experimental infection.