Advice - neighbor wants us to cull

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mdc05, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. mdc05

    mdc05 Out Of The Brooder

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    This is more of a what would you do question. Our neighbor has chickens, ducks and turkeys. We have chickens (had 21), 11 ducks and 2 guineas. Over a month ago (late August?), my husband brought home some adult chickens totally against my advice (because we didn't have sufficient quarantine space). Well, they died and all of our chickens have been sick. We had a sick rooster euthanized for testing and his main infection was Infectious Bronchitis (very high titers) with secondary minor infections of MG and mild form of Newcastle. The vet said most backyard flocks have MG and they catch it from songbirds, so she wouldn't cull based on that. We have lost 11 of our chickens. We've treated with the recommended antibiotics.

    Trying to be neighborly, we let our neighbor know so he could amp up immune boosting protocol for his flock. The wind blows from his place to ours, his yard is higher ground so any rain flow comes our way. The two flock yards are probably 100 feet apart and our chickens usually stick closer to our side than his. Now he's trying to convince us (threaten?) to cull (not sure if just chickens or the entire flock). Yesterday he said he wouldn't want to have to ask us to replace his birds if they die and today he said he thought about contacting the country health department. We took our rooster to the University Ag Vet who has to report serious infections to the powers that be. Our birds don't fall under that.

    My husband wants to give a chance for recovery for those birds who can. The remaining hens and 1 rooster seem to be on the upswing and are eating, drinking and free ranging. Of course, I absolutely do not want to pass this to his birds and can see his concern. My husband is super stubborn and after the veiled threat of calling the Health Dept. he's dug his heels in deeper. I don't want to unnecessarily put the neighbor's flock at risk, but as long as our chickens have been sick, it seems if his were going to catch anything from ours, they would have by now. What would you do? Could we even be legally liable for his birds if we've taken precautions?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    What did your vet say about the NewCastle? That is the chief concern here. I'd be curious about how it is spread, how contagious it is, and if it is likely to remain an infectious consideration in your flock for future generations, or if it remains in the environment. Answers to these ?'s would be my deciding criteria. Many diseases are carried by wild birds, rodents, or simply soil born. Would your neighbor kill all wild animals, and fumigate his property? As flock owners, we are responsible for doing the best to see to it that our birds don't cause harm to our neighbors. This includes spread of disease, as well as property damage/tresspass. I think I'd be inclined to keep my flock in a run until all likelihood of disease transmission was passed. But, if Newcastle can be passed through wild birds, and is air borne, then, culling would be prudent. Take your lead from your vet.

    This scenario supports the rational for keeping a closed flock.
     
  3. mdc05

    mdc05 Out Of The Brooder

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    Our vet said that the Newcastle was a super mild form and very minor infection in our bird. She didn't recommend culling for any of these infections unless we wanted to. And any of these can be spread by air, rodents, and wild birds.

    Our neighbor probably would kill his whole flock and all wild animals if he thought it would help. He told my husband something about his family drowning kittens in trash bags when there were too many, and we found one of his culled turkeys down down alongside the river last spring, so yeah, I'm sure he would.

    The vet told us that the IB would be in the flock for about a year, and that was her primary concern for our flock. The neighbor is primarily concerned about the MG, which can live in the soil, and is transmitted by wild birds as well as poor biosecurity. We were planning to keep our flock closed anyway, after I suggested culling to my husband and he was hesitant when I brought it up. But now the neighbor is being aggressive in his attempts to get us to cull and it's pushing my husband in the opposite direction.


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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Culling for MG is a moot point IMO. From my reading, most hatcheries are actually infected with it, though I may have my information twisted. I'm sure someone will set me straight, if I am mixed up on this. Do your research. If I am correct in this matter, that should silence your neighbor. My own husbandry practice is to cull birds that are obviously sick.
     
  5. mdc05

    mdc05 Out Of The Brooder

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    From everything I have been reading for weeks, many hatcheries get certified as MG free and participate in a national program. The moot point of killing birds if they have it is because you can sanitize your yard and coops, cull all your birds, get certified MG-free babies and they will still get it because wild birds that visit your yard can bring it back, as can any rodents or predators that visit, as it can survive in soil and be tracked on feet. Heck, he could even pick it up at the co-op and bring it back if he doesn't change his shoes.

    I've shared what info I have with the neighbor both from my vet and tons of reading. He's definitely the seasoned flock owner; we are in our first year. But for MG specifically, our vet said to completely free our yard of MG would require drastic measures of removing a foot of top soil. Otherwise it just sticks around [​IMG]


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  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I think sometimes knowing what your birds are carrying can be a bad thing. As you stated, many diseases are brought in by wildlife and on the wind. I'm pretty sure if I tested my birds they would be carrying some stuff to which they are immune to, but would freak me out.

    We cull sick bird, and only get chicks from one hatchery to keep the risks down. Adult birds as you have seen, are never a good idea.

    You do have a responsibility to remove sick birds from your flock, but culling healthy looking birds does nothing. The organisms are already in your area, you can't disinfect enough to get rid of them because you can't disinfect nature, and there's always the risk of new stuff coming in.

    Your neighbors birds are already exposed and culling more birds won't undo that. It might quiet your neighbors fears but won't fix anything. So how to proceed depends on whether you want to placate the neighbor or not.

    I might let things settle down until spring before proceeding with some new chicks and see how it goes from there.
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I would re-discuss this with the vet. Have him/her write a letter with his advice and precautions. Inform the vet that you want to do what is best for both flocks. That way, you both, you and the neighbor have expert advice.

    Personally, I do not treat sick birds, I myself, would be highly tempted to cull anything that was sick, but that would have been in the past, not now. In everything I have read, 100 feet between your birds and his, would not make quarantine. So his birds were exposed to anything airborne.

    I would get written documentation from the vet and share that with the neighbor.

    Mrs K
     
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  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Man, that is a tough situation!

    The premise seems to be that the new birds brought in the diseases(so it's all your fault)......
    .....but I gotta wonder if either of those diseases were already carried in your flock(and/or your neighbors) but asyptomatically.

    Too bad one of the new birds was not necropsied also, pathogen numbers may have shown a wider view of the situation.
    New birds may have carried one disease, but not other....stress and exposure to 'new bugs' could have caused a 'bloom' in both groups of birds.
     
  9. mdc05

    mdc05 Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: My neighbor talked to my husband just a few minutes ago and convinced him to cull the chickens. The ducks and guineas are all seeming to be very healthy, so he didn't ask him to cull them. Our neighbor said he would do it for us. My husband just took our 4 year old out to say goodbye. I'm pregnant and hormonal, so I can't even do that right now.

    Kind of a sucky way to end the weekend [​IMG]


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  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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