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Biosecurity advice greatly needed!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BeachMomma, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Let me start by saying I have a small very happy, healthy well maintained flock of 4 right now. (We lost 2 over the summer from extreme heat and humidity conditions) My flock security is my main priority compared to the one I'm about to describe.



    I have a family member who has a flock of 25. I'd say most are healthy "looking" and probably around 8'sh that look rough. Some have no tail, vent or back feathers and others have just the stem of the tail feathers but only little of the actual feathery part (if that makes sense.)
    I noticed today one that is a little bit lethargic and keeping her eyes shut a lot with slight tremors in her neck area.
    The area they are kept in is maybe 12x15 fenced in, including an enclosed portion they consider 'a coop' because it has 3 walls and a roof. This area by the looks of it hasn't been cleaned of droppings in 6 months.
    The waterers are basically big metal hog bowls that aren't cleaned regularly. Nutrition is a joke despite me telling this man for at least a yr that they need constant supply of pellets/crumble and not crappy junk. He gives them literally all the scraps of 2 people, food that is being discarded from stores despite what it is whenever he gets it, and probably about a pound of feed...for 25 chickens. He has a 10 lb feeder and a feed trough that is always empty and when I questioned him about it his response is he doesn't fill it because they'll fight (he throws their food on the ground). I found moldy dirty bread in there today. (At this point I went off on him about everything and said I would call animal control if he didn't get his act together and care for them properly. I did say first that I would help get everything cleaned up as it should be and if it went downhill again then I'd call.)

    Now since y'all have a sense of the conditions I'm dealing with how can I safely clean this area up without bringing anything back to my flock? I can bring a change of clothes if needed but what other precautions? Whatever suggestions you have is greatly appreciated. I really want to help these chickens myself but not if it'll risk my flock.

    Also I may be taking 4 of his chickens that my husband wants to have. But he's fully aware of the 30 day quarantine and even then if there's any symptoms of anything I refuse to integrate them to our existing flock.
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy BeachMomma

    Aaaw, that is so sad that the chickens are living in those conditions [​IMG]

    I am sure that people who are a lot more experienced and knowledgeable on the subject of biosecurity will give you many more tips but I just wanted to say that even after a quarantine period, you may be introducing chickens that have recovered from something but have become carriers and can still pass that on to your flock.

    As you suggested, a change of clothes plus I would take an old pair of shoes to wear and leave them at the property. Or at least, wash and disinfect the shoes before you leave.
    I would also park my car away from where the chickens range or the coop.
    Any tools I took would not be coming home with me.

    Edited to add: Ooops, forgot to mention that I would definitely wear a breathing mask and gloves while cleaning out the coop/run and neither of those would be coming home with me also.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Personally, I would under no circumstances take any of those chickens. Whilst quarantine is good practice, unless you keep them a considerable distance from your existing flock, it may have limited effect. Additionally, either his chickens are being over-bred or feather-pecking is going on (or maybe both). Trying to reverse the habit of feather-pecking is not so easy, so you could potentially be bringing a feather-pecking bird to your flock.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Could you show a picture of the birds and their living conditions? Generally, much of the typical biosecurity approach is geared for indoor flocks. Outdoors wild birds and other animals tend to defeat your efforts. I am quarantining a rooster now. He is about 200 feet from other chickens. He is also fed and watered last as I leave the area. Main concern for me is keeping stress under control.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Biological/medical quarantine links:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search
    Ditto Dat^^^
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  6. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @Teila Thanks I figured on the changing of clothes and buying a cheap pair of throw away shoes. I'll definitely bring a mask I hadn't thought about that. I may just buy a painters plastic outfit to use so I can throw it all away lol.

    @CTKen I'm leaning towards possible overbreeding on a few. He did have an old mean rooster that he got rid of in June. Those few probably haven't molted yet. His cockeral is only about 9 mo old so it's still young and stupid with behavior and mounting. IF I were to bring any home they'd be on flock raiser with 18% protein and have access to it all the time, which they aren't used to having. Could that potentially help reduce feather picking if that's what it is?

    @centrarchid I'm not able to get pictures of his setup as he lives about 45 minutes away. I have an acre of property, my coop and run is situated on the back of it. It's built next to our garage so it would block heavy winds during hurricanes. I can move my small hospital/quarantine coop up next to my house about 75 ft away. It would be downwind from the main coop. Only other option would be on the other side of the garage and use tarps securing around it to reduce dander blowing.

    @aart Thanks for the links, the poultry link didn't work. When I got a few babies in the spring the BYC article helped greatly with quarantine and integration.

    Despite the conditions they're living in there's never been signs of sickness. Is it possible the bird I observed yesterday with the slight tremors could of injested some of the gross bread? I truly appreciate everyone's input with what I'm dealing with.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Thanks for letting me know, looks like website is gone, will edit it out of my notes.

    Pretty hard to tell if they are carrying disease or not, many diseases can be carried asymptomatically and could infect your birds even if you do complete a full and thorough quarantine.
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    You've received lots of good advice already. I'd reinforce the idea that bringing any of these birds home with you is a terrible idea! There's no way that you can effectively isolate them on your property, so unless you are willing to risk your existing flock, and bring home a forever disease like Marek's to your property, just don't do it! Any help you can give to them there is great, following all precautions, so you and your birds remain safe. Nobody can do well eating nothing but garbage!!! If you do want some of these poor birds, there is testing that can be done for Marek's, avian leucosis, and Mycoplasma, which come to mind as the diseases you would most want to avoid. His flock history would help a lot; are they random source birds, or all-in from a good hatchery? All the best, Mary
     
  9. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I may be in the minority, but i have read research that points to feater pecking being a displacement behavoir (frustration or stress fits the bill) when chickens cannot exhibit their innate behaviour, or do not get reward from exhibiting such. Protein levels, research suggests has no influence - otherwise commercial operations would not trim beaks or control lighting, they would simply increase protein levels in their feed. A learned displacement behaviour is a toughie to deal with.
     
  10. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    His original flock he got about 2 years ago from different neighbors. There was only 1 problem chicken who turned out to be an egg eater. Which he successfully fixed with ideas from BYC In March he got 13 chicks he ordered from Southern States (it's like a Tractor Supply). He did proper quaranting with them at our families insistence. He means well with the chickens but he's 70 yrs old and thinks if his Momma threw scraps to her chickens and didn't do anything else with em then his should be okay. He was 5 then and I doubt he saw the other stuff she did for them lol.

    I'll take care of getting the area cleaned up properly and taking all the precautions suggested so as not to bring anything home on me. I'll also hold off on taking 2 of the 4 we wanted for now. I was going to quarantine 2 and if that and integration went well I'd take 2 more and repeat. If he maintains the sanitation and proper feeding and I see improvement in the flock I'll revisit the idea of bringing any home in the future. How would I test the specific chickens though? Take them to a vet or just get stool samples?

    Edit: Lovely so even with higher protein and a safe clean environment there's still that chance of it being feather picking. I'm not opposed to using the beak bumper things if that'll help reduce damage done. I haven't used them before so not sure if it would help or not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017

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