Chicken Meet/Swap? Getting More Chickens? Read Here First, Please!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MissPrissy, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    We all are enjoying all the new members to this forum. You guys rock! So manyof you are such a pleasure to get to know. With that said I have some really good advice to offer and I hope you will all heed my precautions and warnings. I know many of you are planning to pick up new chickens at some of the upcoming swaps and meets. Please read this and take to heart some very simple advice given by an experienced chicken owner. I am posting this only out of concern and the best interest of you and your chickens.

    When you get a new chicken(s) please do not go straight home and put them in with your current flock. Do not put them in a pen inside your existing coop. Do not house them in the same area as your current flock. Be prepared and make a place for them to live alone and away from your current flock for an extended time. If you don't have an area now then please don't get new chickens until you do have a place for them.

    New chickens need to be quarrantined away from your other chickens for at least 30 days.

    Each flock of chickens has their own germs that make them immune to certain things in their environment. Cynthia's flock in Georgia has a far different natural flora and fauna in their system than my flock up here in Virginia. That is to be expected. But Johnny Farmer down the road and Susie Sunshine a few miles farther also have flocks that are immune to different microbiology in their immediate environment.

    To be safe you really need to practice good biosecurity. Keep the new birds away from your flock. Do not handle the new birds and then go take care of and play with your current flock. Take care of your old flock first, wash your hands, then see to the needs of the new birds, then go wash your hands again, make sure your clothes go into the hamper or laundry and the bottoms of your shoes are clean. I have an old coat and a pair boots that I only wear to the barn. No place else will you catch me wearing them. This is not only to keep me warm while doing chores but it keeps my inner clothing covered and I don't drag alot of filth back and forth from the barns to my house. I take my shoes off outside and they have a place where they sit alone away from other things my kids might come in contact with. Periodically I do give them a spray with a disinfectant. I do try to knock off mud and stuff from the feilds before coming back to the house. have I prevented germs from spreading, probably not, but I have attempted to limit what I drag in from the barn on my boots and clothes. My kids have the same precautions, old coats, old shoes and lots of handwashing.

    New birds can also carry germs that you aren't immune to as well. Although it is probably not common by any stretch of the imagination there are germs that once on hands can be transfered to mouths and noses that might cause a little stomach upset. It is a good idea to make a standing set of rules that must be kept no matter how tedious they seem at the moment. Make your children wash their hands before and after handling chicks and chickens and eggs.

    It may be a total pain in the tuckus to go through all of this when you have all those lovely pretty birds out there just waiting to be tended and played with but there have been some very unhappy outcomes in the past by those who just bring home new chickens and put them in with the old flock or house them in a pen inside the coop.

    There is so much more to integrating new birds into your flock.

    There are members of this forum who have experienced the sad facts of life when new birds have died suddenly and spread disease throughout the flock and they have come close to loosing every chicken they have.

    I am not trying to scare anyone new to chickens. I am asking you to stop and think and put the very best interest of the birds first. Pets or farm livestock, they are the same. They are walking, living, breathing breeding grounds for new diseases and illness that can wipe out your entire flock.

    We all are great people and put the needs of our birds at the top of our priorities. For the most part we all have very healthy chickens. When those chickens are all thrown together in one big jumble we would all have some very sick chickens that would not come out the other side alive.

    There are some owners who have put new birds in with an old flock and not had one minutes problem. I am not saying it isnot possible. I am trying to forewarn that there are those times when that is not the case and it is a mess of sick and dying chickens and nothing much can be done when it reaches the height of catastrope.

    So, please -

    - quarrentine for 30 days.
    - observe for any signs of illness or disease.
    - practice good hygeine and wash your hands alot!
    - enjoy your new birds while planning how to best integrate them into the flock at the end of the quarrantine.
    - give new birds a supplement in their water to boost their immune system.
    - give them good probiotics - as simple as giving them a dish of yogurt.
    - you might consider giving them a little extra protein as they will be stressed being in a new place and might drop some feathers or a little weight.

    Please give serious consideration to these simple ways of protecting your chickens, your kids and yourself.

    Please anyone who has good advise that I have failed to note please do so.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Thank you, Priss! You know I completely agree. In fact, I get tired of hearing myself say that over and over again. It does bear repeating! Listen to us, people, please. We want you to avoid heartache that we've seen others experience. I always tell people to quarantine even the birds they get from ME, always, even though, to my knowledge, my birds are completely healthy. That's the key... TO MY KNOWLEDGE. What if mine have just contracted something I am not aware of? See my point? Thank you, Miss Prissy, for being my echo, LOL. I think I may get a new name one day, Speckledhen, the Quarantine Queen.
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    You are welcome.

    I have to be honest and say that I get sick and tired of the same old posts "help my chickens are sick" and when you read you find out a bunch of chickens were dumped in together and simply left to sort out the pecking order in a mess of frightened and ill birds. Often it makes me angry to the point I don't want to even help with a solution.

    Sorry, guys, but it is the truth. Don't get angry with me. Being an owner of any animal, not just chickens, comes with a lot of responsiblity. I do not take that responsibility lightly.

    I want you all to have healthy stocks and pets. I want you all to learn the very best ways to care and tend for your flocks. i want your chicldren to have a good experience and me horrified when they come out and find disaster has struck.

    Unless you are willing to risk your entire flock for the sake of a new chicken(s) take these simple precautions.
  4. Frizzledhen

    Frizzledhen Spear Gunnin' Coons

    Feb 17, 2007
    Thank you Miss Prissy for thinking of all us new chicken owners. Sometimes our enthusiasm for new chickens blocks our common sence.
    I have a question along the same line. What about buying eggs to hatch. Are there not diseases that are passed from the parent birds to unhatched chicks? If a diseased chick hatches and survives, can it pass the disease on to other chicks and grown birds? Why do some people advertise their eggs come from a NPIP flock? Is it better to buy from a NPIP flock over one that is not? Guess I am asking if hatching eggs can pose any dangers to our existing flocks and if we need to take precautions when buying hatching eggs.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I'm not Priss, but I can answer the question. Yes, there are some diseases that can be passed through hatching eggs, although I would say that it is not as common and there are fewer of those passed and/or contracted that way. Obviously, you can't quarantine an egg and all the washing of an eggshell won't remove a disease carried within it. NPIP does not protect you against all diseases as they only test for a couple of them, pullorum and typhoid and sometimes, I think, avian influenza (the lesser strains). The other ones passed through the egg are not tested for, as far as I know. Buying from NPIP flocks gives you a false sense of security, IMO. To a certain degree, you should buy eggs and birds from people you have some sort of trust in, not just anyone. Yes, you may miss out on some opportunities, but your flock will be safer for it.
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    It is a risk to take but for the most part eggs are sterile and while some things may pass to an egg most diseases common to chickens do not. But there are some that do! Be warned! NPIP does not gaurenttee that you are getting tested eggs.

    Once you hatch eggs and the chicks are in a brooder they are exposed to the germs of your flock simply by means of what can be carried on the wind, other birds, even your clothes, shoes and hands.

    Your newly hatched chicks will begin to develop a healthy immune system based on their exposure to your environment and the current flock.

    It doesn't scare me to buy from non-NPIP breeder. It is all a part of learning who you are buying from. Cynthia is not NPIP certified but I trust her eggs to be exceedingly healthy and robust. I will buy anything she offers if that is what I am looking for with no questions asks. She has an excellent reputation and a very honest nature.

    I will soon be getting a cockeral and eggs from TuffOldHen, who is not NPIP certified either. I have never heard anyone have a complaint about what she has offered from her flock in the past. I trust from what I read and have seen that her birds are healthy. I have a special coop for the stock I am getting from her.

    I am not willing to risk my entire flock for the sake of possessing a blue orp cockeral, therefore I have to quarrentine him.

    It is really all a matter of good common sense and knowing who you are getting your stock and eggs from. Reputable breeders will tell you to quarrentine their birds and use biosecurity.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008
  7. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA

    Yes there are diseases that can be transferred through the egg. Pullorum/thyphoid are two and that is why there is NPIP testing. There are a couple other major disease's that can pass too, but they are pretty rare.

    The two most common are Mycoplasma Synovaie and Mycoplasma Gallisepticum (ms & mg). They only pass through the egg if the hen or rooster has a current infection. That is why it is so important to keep your flock healthy and quarantine!!!!!

    I personally would quarantine for 6 weeks on new birds, but then again I don't recommend buying adult birds to add to the flock. I only add chicks or buy hatching eggs.

    If you are NPIP certified, you must only buy from another NPIP certified flock, it's part of the rules. I personally feel better about it as I know someone that has an avian health background has been to "Joe Blow's" farm and has talked to him and looked around to make sure he is not a breeding ground for disease.

    Try googling the Merck Veterinary Manual, it has lots of info on poultry diseases.

  8. Sparks

    Sparks Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Thank you so much for the kindly reminder. Very much appreciated!!!!:[​IMG]
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Thank you, pips&peeps, for the added information. I knew that MS and MG could pass through the egg, but wasn't aware they had to have an active infection for that to happen. Good to know. A six week quarantine is also a good idea, although to some it seems like overkill. There was someone here on BYC who did a 4 week quarantine and the disease showed up in the 5th week, if I remember correctly, and infected the flock, sadly. My Hawkeye is the only adult bird I've ever bought and he was under quarantine for about 5 weeks.
    Priss, thank you for the vote of confidence and the compliments. [​IMG]
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Over the last 20 yrs I have been extremely fortunate. I have only lost 3 chicks and that was within the first 2 weeks and they came to me in my spring order not quite up to par with the other birds.

    I do not have any experience with diseases nor diagnosing them.

    I have been on the extreme side of fortunate and I think it is a direct result of being extremely careful of who I have gotten chicks from. I have never gotten a mature bird from any one ever.

    The cockeral I am getting from TOH will be the oldest bird to ever come home to roost with me.

    I must repeat over and over and over - Take Precautions!

    You are welcome, Cyn. I studied you a good while here before I ever registered as a user and then it was a while before I even broached the idea of eggs from you. You proved yourself honest and reputable. I think there are MANY here who can and will say the same.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: