10 "Shelter" Chickens - How to check if healthy and disease-free?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hawkeyext, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. hawkeyext

    hawkeyext Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 5, 2016
    New York
    Hello,

    We are new new small farm who purchased 25 pullets back in May. They are Golden Comets who have since started laying. They are extremely social, friendly, and well behaved.

    We are selling out of eggs quickly, and with the warm reception from the community decided to purchase another 10. Many of the local providers, albeit limited, had no chickens left. I also wanted to try and find the same breed as well. So I found someone an hour and a half away who had Golden Comets and went to pick up ten.

    When I arrived the area was very muddy and, while spacious, did not appear well kept. The coop, which was rather large, was disgusting. He tried to sell me one chicken with a horribly messed up beak. Another two had black gunk on their nostrils. Knowing that there were no other Golden Comets around, and that I would be providing these with a better home, I took them in. As a business, this probably wasn't the best option, but I felt very bad for these chickens. (I did not take the one with the messed up beak [​IMG] .)

    Knowing nothing about the proper procedure I threw them all together for 1.5 days. After reading up I realized I should quarantine them, check for diseases, and integrate them at night. The main question I have is how can I check for diseases and make sure they are healthy enough to be near my main flock? I cannot seem to find a vet nearby that specializes in chickens since we are not exactly in a rural area.

    A few notes:

    1. The new birds are darker colored, making me think they aren't golden comets.
    2. The "chicken farmer" said their beaks are clipped and they are vaccinated, although I don't know what to believe anymore.
    3. When the birds were mingling together, some of the "older" 25 wouldn't let the newer 10 go near food. They would peck at the younger ones. One person here said they tried biting and grabbing on to a younger chick.
    4. One of the new 10 seems to "cough", as if her throats dry.

    Any lesser-known tips on integrating them is welcome as well. (I have read some articles already.) My main concern though is how to check if they are disease-free.

    Thank you for any advice!
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Unfortunately it is too late for separation. It certainly sounds likely that the birds were not well cared for, and I would doubt any claims made regarding their health. Coughing is a particularly unpromising sign.

    At this point you are likely best off hoping for the best. Make sure there are several feeders and water sources in different areas so that the new birds can get to them. Separate any sick birds (sneezing, coughing, lethargic, diarhea). Consider a broad spectrum dewormer such as Valbazen.

    And in the future, completely isolated new birds for at least 3 weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
  3. hawkeyext

    hawkeyext Out Of The Brooder

    52
    1
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    Apr 5, 2016
    New York
    Hi 1muttsfan,

    Right after the post I separated the hens and things have been looking well. They are becoming more friendly and have already started to approach us for food. I contacted a few vets for quotes and the 2 local ones who do house/farm visits want over $1,000 to look at those 10. (I could buy brand new pullets, shipped, for cheaper.)

    Overall things seem to be going well and they look healthy so in a few weeks we will start the integration process as long as no further signs of sickness appear.

    Thanks for your response.
     
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    18,823
    1,202
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    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    That's good news. In general, in the face of serious disease, it is actually cheaper to replace birds rather than diagnose and treat. Most of us learn a few lessons the hard way when first keeping chickens. I now keep a closed flock, and only add birds i have hatched myself from my own birds ofr from other healthy flocks.'
     

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