Getting new chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cmlew99, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. cmlew99

    cmlew99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! So pretty soon I'm picking up two or three 18 week old Faverolles pullets. I already have 1 16 week old Buff Brahma pullet, and another 16 week old Buff Orpington pullet. My father and I are trying to finish up their permanent coop, which will eventually have nest boxes, plenty of space, etc...

    However until then we have been keeping our birds in a little A-Frame coop, with constant outdoor access during the day. This A-Frame, however, does not have nest boxes because we anticipated finishing the big coop before laying time began. But since these new chickens are pretty much reaching that time in their lives, what should I do? Does anyone have any idea how I could make a temporary, fast nest box, without taking away their floor space? I'm worried that if I put down a milk crate or something, that they won't have enough room.

    Also, more pressingly, you're supposed to quarantine new birds, right? Well I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do, because all I have for a chicken shelter is one A-Frame Coop. So where should I put them all day? Or can I get away with not quarantining them, because I have such a small flock. I'm so confused!!

    Thanks in advance for the responses!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Size of flock isn't really a consideration in whether or not to quarantine - but whether or not you use quarantine is a judgement call for you to make for yourself/your flock. Things to factor into that choice are 1) the overall health and conditions of the birds at the source you are getting the new birds from - don't look just at the birds you are getting, look at all the birds at the property and the situation in which they are being kept, 2) the level of risk you are willing to accept, IF it goes badly are you okay with possibly losing your entire flock? 3) your ability to carry out a true quarantine - a poorly done/incomplete quarantine is no better than no quarantine at all - a good number of people who think they are "quarantining" do so in a way that does nothing to prevent the transmission of disease from new birds to old, and what they think is a successful quarantine (because no one gets sick) is really just because the birds involved were healthy.
    I have in the past made the call that I felt comfortable doing a direct integration vs. a quarantine, but that was a risk - it was a risk I was wiling to take based on my own personal assessment of the risk level involved. Only you can decide what is right for you and your birds.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
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  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, you are looking to pick up 2-3 salmon favs (wonderful, sweet breed, btw), and you are needing to quarantine them. How big is your current coop (I saw your pics on your free-range thread, but it isn't easy to tell how much space you are working with. can you post more pictures)? If I were you, this is what I would do. Look for a cheap, used enclosure on craigslist. Get one that is bigger than your current coop if possible so you have space for a nest box (sometimes people give away outdoor dog kennels, or homemade reptile enclosures or aviaries, or even chicken coops). Sterilize it, and move your current chickens into it. Move your new chickens into the A frame coop for quarantine. Really, Ol Grey Mare is right. I have integrated many flocks. Generally, I do not quarantine.

    Additionally, you could always get a role of fencing for now, place a top on it, and keep one group in there with a small shelter. What Ol Grey Mare is saying is that you have to take some serious steps to do a true quarantine. sanitizing your person (Changing your shoes), keeping EVERYTHING separate, make sure the two groups are not within (I think) 100 feet of each other, etc is the only way to maintain a true quarantine

    As far as a nest box goes for your current coop, by hanging it somewhere, you do not use up any additional floor space. I have a nest box "stand" so I don't use up valuable floor space. You could use wire to hang (and secure) the milk crate on the fence of the out door area if you needed to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  4. cmlew99

    cmlew99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll post back right away with some pics. I'm pretty ignorant on this matter. @Ol Grey Mare and @kari_dawn you speak of a "true quarantine". What would the steps to this be? What is the purpose of it? Thanks for the great answers!
     
  5. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    quarantine exists to protect your existing stock (in this case, chickens) from potential infectious agents from new or introduced stock. In the wildlife rehabilitation world, that means when we intake a new animal, it goes into isolation. A separate room (or enclosure) from all the others. It is the last on the care list for the day (the last animal we feed, water, observe), entering its room means changing into a new disposable apron, changing into fresh shoes (or sterilizing current shoes/wearing coverings over existing shoes), sanitizing hands, wearing gloves, all feed stuff and water, as well as the accessories (bowls, bottles, toys, other equipment) are assigned to that isolation unit. They don't leave that room. The food for that animal is stored and prepared in the isolation enclosure. The equipment used to prepare the food, and the bowls for water and food don't leave that room. They are all cleaned and SANITIZED right there. This also means that other equipment doesn't ENTER that room. The process is repeated on exiting the room/enclosure. gloves are removed, shoe coverings are removed (or shoes are replaced/sanitized), apron is removed, skin and anything else that may have come in contact with that animal or that animal's equipment is cleaned and sanitized before leaving that room/enclosure. In my facility, depending on the species, the quarantine period can be from 10 days to a month or more. Since I have moved, I can only take on one or two individuals, and very limited species, so quarantine is not as big of an issue for me these days. I generally refrain from rehabilitating anything unless there is absolutely no other facility that can take it (I am currently a poor, full time student, trying to complete my degree).

    Simply placing a new animal in a cage by its self and observing it for a few days without observing the above stated bio-security measures, or something similar, accomplishes nothing but stressing out the new guy (less so if the animals came in as a group). I rarely choose to integrate individuals that I did not acquire as day old chicks into my flock, but when I DO integrate older birds, I try to do it at least in pairs, and I choose not to quarantine the majority of the time (new birds look robust and healthy, feathers in great shape, eyes bright and clear, comb and wattles free of suspicious blemishes, good color to the legs, wattles, and comb, facility that they came from is clean and hygienic, etc). Instead, I set up a pen inside my coop with the new birds inside. I leave them in there with food and water for around a week depending on flock behavior, then I make sure there are lots of hiding places when I am ready to open the door. I sit and observe, and make sure stuff doesn't get too out of hand. I leave them to their own devices, I just watch. They usually sort everything out themselves pretty fast.
     
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  6. cmlew99

    cmlew99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some pictures of the A-frame we have. Wow, thank you for that explanation. From that, I guess it will depend on the condition of the flock, and the birds themselves if I decide to quarantine them.

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  7. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    okay, so it looks like you might be able to sneak a nest box into the "rafters" of the A frame...I cant *really* tell from the pictures, but it *might* be possible to make that work for now. Alternatively, if they always have access to the outside run, you could still wire a milk crate to one of the T posts holding the outer wire up. That way, it won't take up any of their square footage to move around, or if you were okay with putting the milk crate outside the base of the A frame on the ground, or attached to the outside of the side panel of the A frame. That could be a workable temporary solution for now...but any of these suggestions would be super temporary.

    How far away from completing the final coop are you? Are you in a position to finish the permanent one BEFORE you get your new additions? That might be best. It still allows you to use the A frame as a quarantine zone if you choose to go that route, and you don't have to worry about anyone being too crowded (or un protected). Your current coop and run are fine for keeping the chooks in, but if a predator discovers the coop, it would be very easy for him to get in the run, at least.

    I have integrated many many many birds into my flocks over the years. The majority of the time, my introductions have been day old baby chicks, but not always. I used to work as an ASO, and I brought home many rescue chickens from un-known origins. I was the only one that had facility to keep these girls, and at the time, I really had no way of doing a genuine quarantine. The only losses I have sustained were from predators. I have integrated more than my share of adult birds of unknown origins into my flock, and I have never had a problem. Some of my rescues turned out to be my very best girls. That being said, it is possible that I was just very lucky. The decision to quarantine is yours. You just have to decide if you can accept the consequences of that kind of gamble. You also have the advantage of choosing WHERE your new birds come from. You get to see how they are kept, how they are cared for, and the condition of their flock mates. You have an advantage over me here.

    When you DO decide to go get more girls, look at their flock mates VERY carefully. Know symptoms of diseases like coryza. There are some diseases like coryza that are contagious, and can be deadly. survivors can be carriers for life. You can read up about it, and I think you can even see pictures of it here on BYC. I didn't know about coryza when I was integrating all those rescue hens into my flock. I am not sure it would have changed my approach much. I did always isolate new flock members for a few days to observe them before I began introductions. I am not trying to scare you. I am just trying to make sure you go into this with all the information you need to make a decision that is right for your situation. If you visit a flock, and you feel AT ALL like you would NEED to quarantine a bird from there, move on, and pick a different seller.
     
  8. cmlew99

    cmlew99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again for all this information. I'll try the nest box idea- I didn't even think of that! I'm not sure waiting would be possible... I'll have to ask, but the person I am getting them from said that she would be leaving for Maine after next week. Perhaps I can watch them for a day or two, and see if they display any symptoms of diseases like coryza. Can I do anything to boost my two chickens' immune system before and during their arrival? Perhaps give them all yogurt, scrambled eggs, and electrolytes in addition to their grower rations?
     
  9. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That may be a good idea. I don't know much about coryza oher than it is highly contagious, and carriers can show symptoms when stressed :/
     

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