Buying adult birds and biosecurity???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hawkeye95, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, so I have a question. What are your thoughts on bringing adult birds in and adding them to your flock? Currently my "flock" is one turkey. [​IMG] We're building a coop (nearly done!!) and my babies are being shipped next week to me. So very soon, I'll have my birds. However, I've been hunting for a specific bird and found them, but they were hatched last spring. So they are considered adults. I've been reading good stuff about the current owner of these birds. But that aside... is this a good idea or bad idea? I see people on here all the time buying up adult birds on the auction site here and shipping them out. So there must be a lot of you that think it's a good idea. I know you're supposed to quarantine for 2-3 weeks. After that... ?? Can I throw them all together? Is this very chancy with having new baby birds that will be growing up? Now, I understand my babies won't be able to be with any adults for several more weeks--- so this will give me a good chance to keep the new adults by themselves. As you can imagine, I have never dealt with disease nor have had sick birds on this property. I would like to do this deal, but BYC has made me SUPER paranoid about biosecurity!!! So, now I'm really torn!! [​IMG] Is it ALWAYS best to buy chicks or eggs?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    In my opinion, buying chicks from a hatchery or hatching the eggs yourself is best from a biosecurity viewpoint, but best does not mean the other way is bad. I may think that chocolate ice cream is better than strawberry, but both can be real good. Chicks from a source other than a hatchery should be treated as suspect. You really don't know how biosecure they are.

    I think quarantine is a great tool when used right in the right circumstances. Used right means truly separating them. Some diseases are spread through the air, so you need to keep them far enough apart so the wind cannot transmit a disease from one to the other. You need to use different tools and containers when working with them. Don't carry food or water in the same container and use separate food storage containers so you don't cross contaminate. Wear different clothing or at least different shoes with the different flocks. You could go so far as to clean a wheelbarrow wheel before going from one area to the other. Not doing all this does not mean that the quarantine is totally ineffective, just that it is less effective than it could be. And based on your circumstances, you have to use common sense. Theory is great, but sometimes it is not totally practical. Just do the best you can.

    Tbis section may sound like I'm arguing against quarantine. I'm not. But a few things to consider. Some flocks have diseases that they are immune to. They are infected and can infect other birds, but no matter how long you quarantine them, they will never show any symptoms. Coccidiosis is a great example. They may have it and can infect other birds, but they are immune! If a flock has been closed for a couple of months, they have effectively been in quarantine already. A closed flock means they have not come into contact with any possibly infected birds. One argument against this is that the stress of moving and quarantine may weaken their immune system enough for some symptoms to show. It depends on what the infection is. But in general, if the flock has been closed for a while, a quarantine won't do a lot if good.

    If the birds have been exposed to other birds, then obviously a quarantine is a great idea. This exposure could be from new birds introduced to the flock or they may have been to shows or swaps. A lot of people do not quarantine under these circumstances and don't have problems. Just because a bird might be infected with a contagious disease does not mean it is infected. But when one is, the results can be catastrophic.

    One more point. It is possible your turkey is infected with something but immune to it. Your turkey may infect the newcomers.

    I'm not going to try to tell you what to do. My circumstances are different than yours. I only hatch eggs or get chicks from a hatchery because of biosecurity. I do take it seriously. But many people take it a lot less seriously and do OK. Quarantine is inconvenient and many of us don't have the facilities to do it right. Hopefully this helps you decide what is right for you. Good luck!!
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Some flocks have diseases that they are immune to. They are infected and can infect other birds, but no matter how long you quarantine them, they will never show any symptoms.

    Ridge is correct. This is why I never buy started birds. All are hatched here and any eggs not from my own birds come from flocks of breeders I know personally and trust their culling/disease prevention practices. I realize that is not what everyone wants to do, but it gives me peace of mind.​
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    This will obviously not work if you only have one bird in your flock, but a way around this is to take a "sacrificial" bird from your flock and put it with the newcomers. This way, if the one bird gets infected, you know you have a problem without exposing your other birds. Or if the new birds come down with something and the sacrificial bird does not, you know your flock is carrying an infection. To me, this is part of doing quarantine right.
     
  5. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I have a horse barn with an empty stall. Was thinking I could put the quarantined adults in the horse stall. The babies will be in the garage and then go to the coop- which is quite a distance from the horse barn. Well, you gave me a lot to think about. My issue is that my boys are getting into 4-H and I was wanting more of a 'show' quality bird for them. I figured the hatchery stock might not be up to par with what we were going to try to do. From what I've been told, you can't figure out how well a bird is going to look until you have an adult. I've been searching locally for chicks, but to no avail. I just was really hoping not to pay for shipping. This person I found is a 3 hr drive from me. Doable... but not totally ideal. Sigh. OH- and the other thing is that buying adult, they are sexed which is nice not to have to buy 5 chicks to get what I was looking for.

    Anyone else have an opinion? Can I get show quality birds (or just really decent looking) out of hatchery stock for our 4-H projects? This whole biosecurity thing is depressing.
     
  6. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Yeah, that sounds really smart. I don't think I want to sacrifice my one and only bird, though. [​IMG] But if I had a bunch and one I was willing to give up- this seems like a really smart idea. I'll keep this idea in mind for another time.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:It depends on what categories you will show in. You are not going to get show quality birds from a hatchery. Their business plan is to mass produce birds for the backyard flock, not develop show quality birds and their prices show that.

    However, there may be some categories that hatchery birds will work well for. Talk to the 4-H advisor about the categories and possible sources of birds. 4-H is set up so that you don't have to spend a fortune and have a PhD in chicken genetics to participate.
     
  8. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    Quote:Ridge is correct. This is why I never buy started birds. All are hatched here and any eggs not from my own birds come from flocks of breeders I know personally and trust their culling/disease prevention practices. I realize that is not what everyone wants to do, but it gives me peace of mind.

    I agree with not buying started birds. I did this last time around, and even after quarantining, one still got sick, it spread, i lost my whole flock of 22. I had hatched 9 of them myself so it was horrifying. Now i have a closed flocked, only way out is through my kitchen table [​IMG]. Only way in is through my own eggs...if they ever lay them lol!!!! Everyone will have their own thoughts on the subject though, you just need to decide what is best for you!
     

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