about chickens and ducks and diseases and quarantining

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by PunkinPeep, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I think i probably know the answer to this.

    I currently have a flock of well established free ranging chickens.

    I happened upon the delightful notion of getting a pair of muscovy ducks just yesterday.

    I did some looking and some research, and someone nearby is offering me a male and female pair, the female of which is sitting on a clutch of eggs already. Oh, and that's for $25.00. He is apparently getting out of farming and animals and is ready to liquidate.

    I had originally planned to get fertilized eggs and hatch them here so they would grow up with my chickens, etc., etc.

    But the idea of this instant gratification for $25.00 is very tempting. I was just about to talk my husband into it when i remembered that they should probably be quarantined before they mix with my chickens.

    But i don't really know how the spread of disease works between ducks and chickens.

    Will someone please enlighten me?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    You know, I'm not sure about it either. I have read that ducks are more disease-resistant than chickens. But to be on the safe side, I would still quarantine them.
     
  3. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    thanks for responding, chicken toes.

    i think i've made my decision. since no one seems to know whether ducks will give my chickens diseases or vice versa, i think i will eliminate the chief risk of wiping out my hard earned flock of chickens and just start ducks from eggs.

    i think i need to go buy storey's guide to raising ducks, or whatever it's called. there seems to be a deplorably small amount of comprehensive duck info on the web.
     
  4. Senna95

    Senna95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2010
    Woodland
    It's true, ducks are a lot more resistant to diseases than chickens....... However, that doesn't mean they can't introduce diseases into your chicken flock, especially if they've been housed with other chickens at their former place. Bacteria and viruses can live in or on a duck body WITHOUT effecting the duck, but it could still be passed on to the chickens (just like using feeders or waterers that haven't been disinfected). A nice long quarantine period usually gives the viruses and bacteria (that don't effect ducks) time to work themselves out of their (the ducks) system, but I don't know how long that would be, nor is there much good information on the internet. And some sources say that ducks can be carriers (for life??? I don't know...) of certain diseases that actually never effect them, and they could still shed the virus and infect your chickens.

    Then there are the diseases that effect both ducks AND chickens. But even a quarantine period doesn't guarantee that it will manifest itsself before you put the birds together. Mycoplasma is a good example. From what I've read, it's a lot more prevalent in our back-yard flocks then most of us realize. It is passed from bird to bird, but also from the hen through the egg to the chicks. Seems like not even the big hatcheries test for it. Diseases can also be spread by wild birds or rodents, your birds can contract diseases at shows, or even from your clothes after you've been to a show, auction, a farm, or someone elses house that has chickens. I even read that you can get a disease from someone driving by that has diseased chickens in their truck!

    The only way you can guarantee a disease free flock is to start with clean-tested birds, and keep them inside with good biosecurity, and never introduce new birds, including new chicks (it's what they call "all in/all out" management.) And in my opinion, that's no good life for a chicken.

    In my (unprofessional) opinion, just BE CAREFUL. Check the farm where they came from. Talk to the owner. Look for sick birds, and PRACTICE THE QUARANTINE METHOD. I'd say give them a month or more in quarantine. But remember, you can never be 100% sure. Eliminate the risks you can, but realize the risks of keeping a "free-range" flock.

    PS, NPIP doesn't mean "disease free chickens"...... they only test for typhoid and pullarium (sp?), which can effect humans, but none of the other common fowl diseases.
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Senna95 put it all out already. I just want to add a few thing. Breeders very often don't allow any visitors of the human kind, because they can carry diseases on their clothing/shoes. On the other hand you can go overboard and be scarred about everything. What I mean is a wild disease carrier duck could visit your farm or fly over it and drop a load. I would say look at the ducks, what are their living conditions and how do all the animals on that farm look like. If they do look healthy then you may want to take them, but you should have them quarantined for 30 days just to make sure. That still does not mean that they cannot carry anything, but you will have time and notice if they get sick or that something may be going on. As for the clutch of egg. The hen may abandon her eggs, just due to the location change. It's stressful to move for any duck, especially a broody hen. So if you buy them, don't count on the eggs to hatch. You may have to put them into the incubator, if the hen abandons them. I personally would get eggs to incubate, because there is less risk. Be aware that a malnourished hen will produce less quality egg, even fertilized, which can lead to death in the egg or even the hatchlings. In general I say 30-50% hatch rate is good when an egg has been mail ordered. I think it is also ok to buy ducklings from a good breeder. I would be careful with feed stores, because their ducklings do get exposed to people and can catch something there. The likely hood is low, but it is there. Even if they don't get touched, just the hanging over and shedding things onto them from clothing. Plus many feed stores get their stock from very large hatcheries that may not care to much. Enough of the scare thing, just think there is a possibility and it may not be as high as it seems.
     
  6. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Thanks for your responses.

    The guy who wanted to sell me his ducks - actually wanted to sell me his whole flock. He said he's getting out of the farming business. I saw more ads from him - he's selling his supplies and everything, which tells me that he isn't paying much attention to his animals right now, and there could be all sorts of farmers coming to get his stuff and his other animals.

    If i didn't have any birds, and i wanted to start raising ducks, i would totally take advantage of this. I think he was willing to take something like $70 for a large-ish flock (i knew i didn't want that many, so i didn't really listen to how many). But my chickens are my priority, and i don't want to take unnecessary or uncareful risks. I also don't have a very good place to quarantine full grown ducks and a nest of eggs right now.

    Happily, i had already been offered free fertilized muscovy eggs by another person the same distance away. So i'm going to plan to take her up on that offer and eliminate some risk. That was my plan to begin with, so i'm going to stick to it.

    Thanks so much for your responses. They helped reaffirm my decision to myself. [​IMG]
     
  7. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I think you've made the right decisions. Incubating and hatching eggs is a wonderful experience. Even with the never ending wait.... Be aware that it is a little bit different then chicken eggs. Get the Storey's Guide on Ducks, because it is all in there, plus the book is a very good reference when it comes to ducks. Enjoy it.
     

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