Hmmm... Guess I'd assumed most here had at least a rudimentary understanding of the fundamentals of the concept of biosecurity, at least as it pertained to procuring new birds for the flock.
Sorry for the obvious lapse!
It really has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any person, farm, or organization, as these are universal concepts. Most of us are well aware that chickens can be somewhat disease prone. Many of the discussions on this site center around caring for sick, diseased birds, and the importance of preventative measures & flock wellness.
Given the importance of not introducing diseased birds to one's flock, there are some pretty basic - if not elementary - prevention measures that apply. NPIP, or National Poultry Improvement Program, is a designation that basically means biosecurity measures are in place at a hatchery, & the birds are most likely to be disease free, and eggs hatched there are from disease free laying/breeding stock. Forgive me if I've oversimplified, please feel free to elaborate on this point. Its important.
That being the case, when getting new birds for one's flock, its of EXTREME importance that these new birds be healthy. Once infected, chickens CAN become disease carriers FOR LIFE. This is why it was common to completely kill off the flock each year, and bring in new, NPIP CERTIFIED DISEASE FREE STOCK. However, many of us here are a bit attached to our birds, and prefer to treat them to a greater, or lesser degree, as pets. If one adopts some basic disease prevention measures, on a small, free-range, "backyard" type basis, fine!
Okay, please stay with me here! One of the most serious mistakes the small scale bird keeper can make is to introduce sick birds to the propery/flock!!! This CANNOT be over-emphasised!!!!! You can single handedly infect your entire flock, and possibly wipe them out, by the introduction of ONE sick bird!
So, WHERE do sick birds come from? They come from places that engage in PRECISELY the types of practices described at "Poultry Hollow Hatchery." Yes, its really not relevant how annoyed, or upset, or angry the owner is concerning these facts. The emotional state of the vendor is irrelevant. It is strictly a matter of what their practices are. To let hundreds of customers, who own birds of unknown health status, traipse through barns with 1000's of chickens kept in close confinement is simply disaster waiting to happen, from an illness, disease, and disease prevention/protection standpoint. The "beauty" of the birds is irrelevant... as are your personal feelings.
Simple facts, my dear! If YOU don't want to introduce disease, (some of which are incredibly difficult to eradicate, and some that the State will come in with a MANDATORY requirement to destroy all of your flock), then its pretty important to purchase chicks/birds from vendors/hatcheries who DO participate in NPIP, and ARE involved in STRINGENT biosecurity measures at their hatcheries & locations. Please familiarize yourself with these basic requirements for introducing disease free replacement stock!
I'm far more concerned with maintaining the health of my flock. This is the overriding priority, far more so than other's feelings, regardless of how well meaning, or misguided they are! Certainly far more important than the feelings, and profits, of anyone that sells birds, as has been described, or their "livelihood," no matter how much she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES her birds.... as was stated, this place is busier than ever.....
Edited by wolfpak - 7/2/12 at 7:33am