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Chick Quarantine

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kathy Golla, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Songster

    Jan 2, 2017
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Hello everyone, I am new to BYC. I will be a newbie to backyard chicken raising in Spring 2017 and am currently doing some planning.

    I have a question I have not found the answer to in Internet reading, so I've come here to the experts.

    We plan on getting 6 chicks (what the city ordinance says we can have) in March. We do not have an existing flock, these will be our first chickens.

    We have some good friends/neighbors who have two hens and would like to add two hens to their existing flock. Since we are managing 6 chicks/brooder in March it seems to make a lot of sense to raise two extra chicks for our friends with our chicks.

    One thing Im not understanding is there is lots of advice to quarantine birds for at least 30 days if you take in new birds and want to add them to an existing flock. That they can be healthy but be disease carriers and the stress of moving can allow a disease to flare, etc. What about the instance where they are raised from chicks together with no existing flock? Would you suggest our neighbors quarantine the 8 week old chicks we would raise for 30 days before introducing them to their existing flock?

    Also, another question I had is we plan on moving the 6 chicks we would have from the brooder to the coop at about 8 weeks old (we live in CA) and I'm assuming we dont want to confuse the two neighbors chicks by moving them to first our coop, then to the neighbors coop? We want them to go to their own coop or brooder at that point (?)

    Any other drawbacks Im not thinking of?

    Thank you so much in advance, this is a great resource.

  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    [​IMG] 8 weeks might be a little early to put chicks that age in with adults. It might work or they could very well get picked on or ganged up on. Just MHO, others may disagree, but the new chicks probably won't carry anything to the adult birds if they have been inside, but it could go in reverse. They could pick up something from the adult birds.
    Is there any way your friend could cordon off a part of his pens so the birds could see but not touch each other? Or could he get a large dog crate, cover it and put it against his coop? The idea, is until the birds are used to each other, don't let them interact. Then when you do let them out it is better if they can free range so they can get away if need be and that they have enough feeders and waterers out so the younger ones aren't kept away from food.
  3. ejcrist

    ejcrist Songster

    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    Personally I wouldn't put eight week old chicks in with adults - could be very hazardous for the little birds. I'd wait till they were at least 16 weeks at a minimum and the more the better; the closer to the size of the adults they are the better it'll go. There'll be a lot of scrappin' no matter what you do but if the new birds are bigger they can better defend themselves. Adult birds sometimes end up killing the little guys/gals. If you have to do it give the little birds their best shot by making sure they have plenty of places to get away and hide if necessary, and provide two feed troughs and water founts or else the big gals might never let the little gals get any nourishment. Life for chickens, even backyard chickens ain't no picnic.

    As far as quarantining, I wouldn't worry as much about what the new birds are bringing as dekel18042 said. You can trust anyone from Pennsylvania. Seriously though, I haven't quarantined new birds I've brought in because they've either been from a hatchery, which all the big ones are NPIP, or from breeders I know. I'm not saying not to do it as a safety control, but I'd be more inclined to do it if buying a bird from an individual I didn't know from Adam.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  4. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Songster

    Jan 2, 2017
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Thank you so much for the replies, that helps a lot.

    One follow up question: I agree about the chicks being older to introduce them to our friends hens. Would you recommend I keep raising the two chicks in my own coop until they are older and then hand them over at 3 months or so (they would be coop trained to our coop), or hand over the two 8 or so week old chicks (8 -10 weeks is when I plan on moving our chicks to our coop) to the neighbors and have them keep them in their own brooder until they are 3 months or so to introduce them to their hens?

    Im wondering what the cons would be of the poor chicks getting coop trained to my coop and then being asked to do it all over again.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    [​IMG] The first question I have for you is how big is your coop? That depends on whether you have enough room for those extra chicks. If your coop is big enough to accommodate 8 birds (32 s.f.) you could hold them until they are a bit older before sending them to your friends. While chickens don't do change well, IMO they will do just fine going out to your coop, and then moving along to your friends coop. No matter when they get them, it will be hard for 2 young birds to join an existing flock of mature birds. Check out Azygous "panic room" method of integration. Many of us, myself included have found that the old fashioned "don't integrate till the chicks are full sized" method actually DOES NOT WORK AS WELL AS INTEGRATING THE CHICKS WHEN THEY ARE MUCH YOUNGER. But to do so, you need the right set up, and to have enough room. Chicks are not perceived to be a threat to the pecking order the way birds that are close to or have already approached sexual maturity. I like to get my birds integrated while they are still peeps. When they start finding their "cluck" (when their voice starts changing, signaling the onset of chicken puberty) integration is more difficult IMO.

    My next question is: Why are you planning to keep them in the brooder so long? Have you built your brooder? What are you planning to use for a heat source? Have you built your coop? Many of us brood our chicks right in the coop and find that it is better for all concerned. Better for you b/c you won't be filling your home with chick dander. They are dander machines. Their dander is like a fine oily silt that settles on all surfaces, including vertical ones. Forget the smell. Dander is your worst enemy. Check out this article: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors No matter what method you choose to brood them, they can be out doors without any heat at all just as soon as they are fully feathered. Usually 4 - 5 weeks.

    IMO, skip the brooder. Build your coop. Brood your chicks right in the coop. One less transition for them to deal with! Avoid the pre-fab coops which are poorly constructed and neither meet the needs of the human or the chickens adequately. The manufacturers mis-represent their product, and many BYC chicken people are taken advantage of when they believe the claims that "this cozy little coop will provide good housing for 6 chickens." NOT! Many threads are posted every summer that go like this: "My chickens used to be friends. They got along well together. Now one of them has had her scalp ripped off by the Alpha hen..." While a small coop may seem big enough initially, as the birds mature and reach sexual maturity, they simply need more room to satisfy the pecking order protocol.

    Wishing you the best with your new adventure.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
    nerfworthy likes this.
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    chicken math ( LF= Large Fowl) :
    4 sq. ft. per large fowl adult bird(LFAB) inside.
    10 sq. ft. per LFAB bird outside.
    Large fowl chicks (LFC) : 1 sq. ft. per LFC to 4 weeks.
    ( after this age they are housed in what's called a "grow-out" pen.
    It's a larger version of a brooder where heat is not needed.
    I use a triple thick cardboard watermelon corral. It is 15 sq. ft. of
    inside aea. Will grow out 7 LF chicks to 3 months.I put a cheap tarp down.
    Place the corral on it. Add 3-4 inches of while bale( not yellow)
    kiln-dried wood shavings fro tractor Supply. Add a chicken wire "cover"
    with weights to hold it down. Place feed and waterer on raised platforms
    and viola!! Grow-out pen!)
    1.5 sq. ft. per LFC till 12 weeks
    . 2 sq. ft. per LF bird after that.
    Then 4 sq. ft. per LF bird inside at adult.
    Point is by the time they are ready to assimilate per your plan,
    they will already need 1.5 to 2 sq. ft. per LF bird.
    1/2 all these measurements for bantams.
  7. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    Moving them doesn't seem like a problem to me. Mine start in the brooder then to a grow out coop. Depending on the number I may move the cockerels into a bachelor pad then later the pullets are integrated into the main coop. How many moves is that?
    I can't think of any friends moving theirs directly from the brooder to the main coop. They always go into a grow out coop and at the point they are allowed to free range with the main flock and are accepted they can be moved over.

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