Help, We've made a huge mistake!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mabsdb7, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. mabsdb7

    mabsdb7 New Egg

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    Oct 15, 2013
    I need some advice. We are new to owning chickens and so we live and learn. The situation is this...we have some lovely free range chickens around our house that we've only had for a few months. One rooster and 4 hens, only two laying so far. We bought 4 more young hens at auction (not laying yet) and they are still away from the others for a month until we know they are healthy and safe. We got unfortunately anxious for more eggs now and lost all good judgement... Long story short, we now also have 30 supposedly 15 month old laying Rhode Island Reds who are molting or starting to molt and thier beaks have been trimmed which means they were in some type of confinement. They smell from being confined. They are far away from our other chickens in a field, however they are near other animals like geese and goats. In reality I have no idea where these chickens originally have come from. We got them from someone who just got them. Have I contaminated our farm? Can I cleanse these birds with time and care and feel safe about eventually eating these eggs? What should I do with these poor chickens?
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    If they have pests or disease, you've already brought it to your property.

    If you plan to keep them, I'd put up a seperate run and coop and keep them enclosed for several months while you watch them for signs of disease or infestations
     
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome to BYC. Since you already have them, I would second the advice you are getting from the MYF forum, keep them quarantined as best you can and watch them closely for any signs of disease. You might want to take some closeups and post some pictures in case anybody on BYC can see something you should be concerned about disease wise. When you care for them etc, always do them last, do your other chickens first, and try not to wear the same shoes etc to care for the new birds, don't use the same food and waterers etc. I personally would worm them and treat them for mites/lice just to be on the safe side. The beak trimming probably means they were in a commercial flock (I would also hope they are only 15 months old and not actually spent hens somebody is replacing before winter), the good news is most of those places practice pretty good bio-security so the hens maybe in pretty good shape except for the problems having to do with being caged.
     
  4. mabsdb7

    mabsdb7 New Egg

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    Oct 15, 2013
    Do you have advice about how long to wait before using thier eggs?
     
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    If you are going to worm them, most people recommend a withdrawal time of 2-3 weeks depending on the wormer used. Other people just keep on eating the eggs, especially if the wormer used is one that is used on humans.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    It's unlikely they have a disease that would prevent you from eating their eggs. Actually, if the only problem is they smell, they may not have a thing but worms and perhaps lice/mites. I would agree with worming them, just because worms are in the soil and most chickens pick up at least some worms. You can see whether they have lice mites (i'll give you some links.) If they are heavily infested with worms, you may see some sign in the poop, or they may simply become underweight from the worms getting so much of the food they eat. Feel for their keel or breastbone and see if it sticks out, feels sort of sharp. Of course they could be thin at this point from not getting a lot to eat, so just time may change that.

    Do they have any sign of a "cold," such as runny nose, watery or matted eyes, sneezing, etc? Chickens don't actually get colds, they get much more serious respiratory diseases. You didn't describe anything other than the smell that makes it sound like they have one. Coryza is the one disease I know of that has a smell, and what smells is the mucous from their runny nose and eye discharge. If the smell is simply "chicken smell," perhaps feces matted on their feet and dander and dirt buildup on the skin, etc., then time and dust bathing, and perhaps a molt, should take care of it. It sounds like someone sold their "spent hens" to you. Hens lay well for the first 2 years or so, depending, then molt and don't lay as much. I imagine you will see a molt then start seeing eggs, though not one per day. However, older hens lay larger eggs. I have 9 hens between 2 and 4 years old who lay 4 to 6 eggs a day. Not as many as they used to, granted, but many here would not make soup of them or sell them because of it. Not that it is wrong to do this, don't misunderstand me; there are many ways to manage livestock. To me at least, the only thing "wrong" is things that make their life unpleasant, such as confinement in cages, not giving enough to eat or fresh water, etc.

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/818674/are-these-some-kind-of-egg-clusters/0_20#post_11897957

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...ll-seeing-live-worms-in-poo/0_20#post_9315842

    http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html
     

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