Advice: A new hen for a potentially Myco positive flock of one.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ti22girl, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. ti22girl

    ti22girl New Egg

    Mar 24, 2010
    San Francisco
    I have a question for all you chicken pros. I hope you can offer some advice.

    I have two Pekin Bantam hens who were flock mates since they were pullets in 2010. They free range during the day in a fully enclosed garden and are locked up in their coop at night.

    Last year in January, one of the hens was attacked by raccoons, but I chased them off before she was fatally injured. Bella sustained a bite to her left cheek and just above her left eye with a laceration on her lower back. Her vet treated her wounds, prescribed antibiotics and she recovered fully in a week.

    In early July, her left eye started getting foamy. Not every day, but usually when it was either chilly or right before roost time. Antibiotics were perscribed, but the problem was recurrent. Her vet suspected it was Mycoplasma.

    Every few months especially when it was cold the Myco would [as usual] return and [as usual] Bella would be brought inside, put in her crate and get another course of antibiotics.

    However, two weeks ago she became seriously ill and was euthanized.

    The other hen Lilly never got sick, so it's likely she's a carrier. She's not been formally tested yet, but she's a plucky little thing and has always been healthy as a horse.

    Just to let you know, I have NEVER intended to breed my girls for chicks, so it's 100% guaranteed that I would NEVER sell a potentially infected bird to any buyer. Especially now. My flock is bio-contained and never in contact with other chickens.

    But I do worry about Lilly being alone. Chickens are such social creatures. She will be 3 in March and I'd like to consider getting another hen [or two]. Of course the standard 1 month new hen quarantine would be enforced. BUT I'm actually at a loss here because it could be the NEW hen's health that's at risk more than Lilly's.

    The only solution I could come up with is either see if our vet can vaccinate the new hen for Myco before bringing her home – OR – not get a new bird until Lilly eventually passes away, which could be years.

    Please any advice would be gratefully welcome. Especially if you've had a similar situation.

    BTW - Culling Lilly is simply OUT of the question. She is a fantastic bird. She's whip-smart, eats bugs, tills my soil and weeds the garden. Not to mention being a shameless lap hen.
  2. rrkrose

    rrkrose New Egg

    Feb 26, 2013
    I used to have four chickens and three of them died. The one remaining seemed fine so we didn't see a need to buy more chickens right away. After about 9 months, we bought a new batch of chicks and we introduced them to her and she hated them. She was always extremely nice to people but she despised these new hens and wouldn't even let them sit on the perch. It seems to me like chickens don't enjoy have new hens introduced after the initial set.

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