Can a cage-only flock be introduced to the 'great' outdoors?


DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies
12 Years
Jul 5, 2007
Sevier County, TN
I may be aquiring a flock of bantams that have been strictly indoors in cages. They have been vaccinated and are NPIP certified under the current owner.

My birds have always had coops that opens into a VERY secure sand run, and been allowed to free-range under supervision.

I'd like to transition these birds into their own coop/run, post-quarrantine, if possible.

I'm sure there are immunity issues for exposure to dirt and soil.
Can they be successfully transitioned?
Any recommendations?
They should be just fine. There are lots of things floating around with caged birds so they may be more immune than you think.
Vaccinated for what, Lori? If not for cocci, they could get a case of coccidiosis from the soil, not every having been on it. Other than that, I don't think there should be other issues. You may want to watch for signs of cocci or you could just run 5 days of Corid through them when they hit the ground if you want to be preemptive. I can't imagine what it's like for birds who've always been caged, though many breeders do it.
I had wondered about this. Would feeding medicated feed (chick start) along with regular feed help with that transistion?

I know they had the Marek's vaccine and he mentioned something else I can't remember. *adding that to the list of questions to ask*
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I now have the flock. They are hanging out in the garage while I work with them.

Does medicated chick start only work on chicks? Or could it help me transition these birds to the ground?
Medicated chick starter is okay for them, but it has such a mild amt of amprolium that if they are hit by oocycsts that ravage them too badly, it won't be near enough to fix the issue. I think I'd just get some Corid and wait till you see signs in the poop, or just give it to them starting about a week after they hit the ground.
Thanks Cynthia!

Had a happy accident while trimming nails and examining them: One old hen saw the grass and fought to get to it! So I put them all in the grass as I finished them, and sure enough all the older hens knew what grass was and were seriously happy to have at it!
Methinks those birds have only been cage-bound for about a year and a half, maybe 2 years max. The oldest birds I guess are about 4 years old, on down to 1 year. The youngest was clearly baffled by grass, and she is this year's bird.

I think I will put them out again tomorrow for a couple of hours this time, then during the day later on, and watch them like you said. I've never used Corrid but I have to go to TSC anyway so I'll get some.

These are pedigreed birds but you know what? My Tennessee-roo is still prettier than the 2 boys in this batch. But there are some nice hens there. I'd say the new roos don't stay in TN past spring. Just long enough to contribute some DNA to the spiral breeding program.

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