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Will chickens contract Tularemia from eating dead rabbits?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

I'm a new member to BYC, though I am very familiar with the site.  I've read it many times and I have appreciated the wealth of information.

 

So I have a question here that's a bit different - - I think.  Can chickens contract Tularemia from eating dead rabbits, or for that matter, any dead rodent?  Let me explain....

 

My family and I bought some acreage in northern Colorado, not too far from the Wyoming border.  It's rugged and beautiful, and we're doing all we can to be proper stewards of the land and such.  That includes trying to find our own balance with nature, and right now "nature" also means a ton of rabbits!  They're multiplying....well, like rabbits! 

 

Tularemia is a big deal around these parts, and here's where the chickens factor in.  My son and I have been building a massive chicken coop we dubbed "Fort Clux."  The area that is screened in top and sides is 2000 sq feet, and that does not count the shed part.  It's built very stout to deter the other elements of nature we have a lot of: coyote, cougar, and bobcat.  We plan on having 50 hens (Rhode Island Reds).  A portion of this coop is designed to hold about 8 guinea fowl, and they will have their own entrance and separate shed.  We need the guineas to wander around the property and keep down the rodents and rattlesnakes, both of which we also have a lot of.  Paradise to be sure!

 

A friend suggested I keep the rabbit population down with a .22 and then toss them to the chickens.  My son likes the idea, especially the first part, but I'm worried about the second part.  First, will the chickens even touch the freshly-killed rabbits, and if they do, will they contract Tularemia if the rabbit had it, or will they pass this on in the eggs?

 

Sorry for the long post here, but I would really appreciate any counsel the experts out there can provide.  I cannot find any information on this.  When "Fort Clux" is done, I'll take pictures of it and post it here. 

 

Thanks - STEVE

post #2 of 11

Steve, welcome to BYC.  I do not have the answer to your question, but am subscribing to see what others have to say.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #3 of 11

Hello there and welcome to BYC! :frow

 

I have wondered this myself as our rabbits do carry this disease along with a host of other stuff. Most diseases are species specific, however rabbits are one of the animals that do carry diseases that can effect man and other species.

 

All this being said, I wouldn't let my chickens eat anything dead. Dead and dying tissue does have a lot of bacteria and unlike Turkey Vultures who have the stomach acids to eat road kill and such, chickens don't. Rabbits do carry parasites and Coccidiosis, neither of which you want your birds to contract.

 

And along with shooting something, comes lead poisoning. If your birds eat even one piece of lead from a bullet or casing, they will die and there is no saving them from lead poisoning. 

 

I would suggest you just let the rabbit population be. We are EXPLODING with rabbits this year. I mean, there is a baby bunny every 50 feet around here! I have never had issues with rabbits giving my birds anything, they don't seem to eat the rabbit poo and other than their round worm population in the rabbits, (and I worm my birds regularly) I don't think rabbits are causing my flock any trouble. 

 

I would however, keep yourself and dogs away from rabbits, you don't want to contract any of these rabbits cooties. 

 

Good luck and welcome to our flock! 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

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Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply
post #4 of 11
Hi welcome-byc.gif Steve

Glad you could join the flock! TwoCrows has left you some great advice. I too would not give my chickens anything dead or decaying. Would just not seem right to me.

Wishing you the very best of luck for the future and I look forward to seeing your pics.
Enjoy BYC frow.gif
post #5 of 11

:frow and :welcome

Hey Steve and I am happy you joined us at BYC! I would not let your chickens even get near anything dead let alone eat it. This could case severe disease and possible death to your flock members. There is a possibility that yoir chickens could contract a disease just like Tularemia. I definitely look forward to seeing your flock. You should post any pictures on this forum.   http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/40/family-life-stories-pictures-updates   So make sure you do not let your chickens near anything dead. The purpose of having "backyard chickens" is to not only have a cute pet lol, but to produce natural eggs which are healthier and more delicious than store bought. Having your chickens eating dead animals even rabbits even if it is a accident could lead to bad eggs, not bad tasting, but potentially harmful. Make sure if you let your chickens out watch them so they do not get into anything and make sure your coop is safe and secluded from outside animals. This is to protect your chickens from predators and harmful food. Good luck to you and your flock Steve!

Justin :thumbsup 

post #6 of 11

A google search indicates that birds can get tularemia.  In addition to contact with contaminated ground or sick animals, the organism is frequently transmitted by arthropods - fleas, ticks, flies, mites, lice, flies, green head or deer flies, mosquitoes - and the list goes on.  Nasty stuff, and I don't think I would be feeding uncooked rabbit to my flock.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Wow!  I only posted this question today, and already I have received some enthusiastic and informative replies.  Thanks to all of you.  It's good to be part of this forum, and I appreciate the warm and thoughtful responses. 

 

One detail here: My question was more about feeding freshly-shot rabbits to the chickens, not decaying ones or ones which had been dead for a while.  I would not do that.  I'm not sure if that changes anyone's views here, but I just wanted to add the clarification.

 

Another clarification is this: we're not going to be able to let the chickens out of the pen.  The predators around here are many and bold.  That's part of the reason the coop is so large.  We've incorporated a lot of the natural vegetation in it, and we're hopeful we can preserve that element.  The guineas will roam, but they are more inclined to be wary and self-sufficient (I hope).

 

If any of you find more information on the Tularemia thing, that'd be great.  Meantime, I think my son is going to have to sharpen his aiming skills with all those rabbits....

 

Thanks again - to all of you.

STEVE

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinairview View Post
 

Wow!  I only posted this question today, and already I have received some enthusiastic and informative replies.  Thanks to all of you.  It's good to be part of this forum, and I appreciate the warm and thoughtful responses. 

 

One detail here: My question was more about feeding freshly-shot rabbits to the chickens, not decaying ones or ones which had been dead for a while.  I would not do that.  I'm not sure if that changes anyone's views here, but I just wanted to add the clarification.

 

Another clarification is this: we're not going to be able to let the chickens out of the pen.  The predators around here are many and bold.  That's part of the reason the coop is so large.  We've incorporated a lot of the natural vegetation in it, and we're hopeful we can preserve that element.  The guineas will roam, but they are more inclined to be wary and self-sufficient (I hope).

 

If any of you find more information on the Tularemia thing, that'd be great.  Meantime, I think my son is going to have to sharpen his aiming skills with all those rabbits....

 

Thanks again - to all of you.

STEVE

The transfer of disease still holds true for fresh kill as well. If the rabbit has disease, freshly dead rabbits can still transfer these things to the birds. And again, any lead from bullets eaten by chickens, and yes, chickens will eat them, will kill your birds. 

 

I have LOADS of predators in my area, so my birds can only go outside with supervision. I do have a fenced off area with lots of trees for ducking under with aerial attacks, however I never leave them out there long unless I am around in the yard watching. So yes, build them a large run, double the recommended sized requirements. You can still keep them busy with ladders, mirrors, hanging veggies, levels, branches to hop up on, posts, etc....You can add to their diet and need for greens with an occasional flake of grass hay or alfalfa. And you can always feed them cooked ground Turkey or Beef. Meat is great for the birds during molts as their requirements for protein are sky high during this time. Meat has amino acids that are not found in their regular food.

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. ~Emily Dickinson~

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.  ~John Bunyan~

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop                                    Raising Quail

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

 

Leg, Foot and Toe Issues in Poultry of All Ages

Reply
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCrows View Post
 

The transfer of disease still holds true for fresh kill as well. If the rabbit has disease, freshly dead rabbits can still transfer these things to the birds. And again, any lead from bullets eaten by chickens, and yes, chickens will eat them, will kill your birds. 

 

I have LOADS of predators in my area, so my birds can only go outside with supervision. I do have a fenced off area with lots of trees for ducking under with aerial attacks, however I never leave them out there long unless I am around in the yard watching. So yes, build them a large run, double the recommended sized requirements. You can still keep them busy with ladders, mirrors, hanging veggies, levels, branches to hop up on, posts, etc....You can add to their diet and need for greens with an occasional flake of grass hay or alfalfa. And you can always feed them cooked ground Turkey or Beef. Meat is great for the birds during molts as their requirements for protein are sky high during this time. Meat has amino acids that are not found in their regular food.

:goodpost: Very informational and helpful! @thinairview definitely this is a very good post to listen to TwoCrows is definitely one to add to your favorites list! 

Justin :thumbsup

post #10 of 11

Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)

If you haven't noticed yet, I am the king of typos.

When I post in the "What Breed Or Gender Is This" section, I do not name hatchery/peoples' hybrids by a "breed" name (for example, Oliver Egger)--they are either a purebred or a mixed breed.

Please like my NEW facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BantamFan4Life-571978982974734/

Look at my flock page! http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bant...

Reply

If you haven't noticed yet, I am the king of typos.

When I post in the "What Breed Or Gender Is This" section, I do not name hatchery/peoples' hybrids by a "breed" name (for example, Oliver Egger)--they are either a purebred or a mixed breed.

Please like my NEW facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BantamFan4Life-571978982974734/

Look at my flock page! http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bant...

Reply
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