how do I safely add new birds to flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 4ee2buff, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. 4ee2buff

    4ee2buff Out Of The Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    Recently I lost 3 of my 6 birds to coyotes. I live in northern VT along a snow belt, basically it's getting cold and I get a lot of snow. I have relocated the remaining chickens, although they are very cramped at the moment , I should finish their new home today or tomorrow. New space is about 8x8 and ceiling is about 6 ft high. It has 4 nesting boxes. There will be an enclosed run off of it. I want to add to the flock so there will be additional warmth from more bodies, (i also would like to have a larger flock).

    What is the best way to add chickens? My birds are about 5months old. I have found a local farm that has chickens that are about 3-4 months old, there is a variety of breeds available. I'm not sure if quarantine is an option for me. I didn't want to get chicks this time of year due to the weather. But now I am wondering if that is my safest option.

    Any advice, ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.

    my original flock was 4 araucanas(one turned out to be a rooster), and 2 Buff Orpingtons. I have the rooster and the 2 buffs remaining

    Thank you in advance.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quarantine is always a good idea, but also a personal choice. They can be carriers without having symptoms, so it does not help in that case, anyway. If you are buying from what looks like a healthy flock, you may decide to take the chance; you wouldn't be the first.

    Here is a great article on adding birds to a flock:
  3. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    The safest way IS quarantine. And I can garuntee you that it is advised with the most seriousness. I've run into two different pairs from two different flocks that I purchased this year, both of them having mites and one of them even having lice, too. I checked both groups before I took them home but found the bugs a few days later. They can always be missed.

    However, quarantine is hard here. The only place I can offer is my unfinished basement, and mom and dad don't like that this is what an extra area in our HOUSE is being used for. But it's all we have. And I use it, sadly, very frequently.

    I try to keep my quarantined birds away from all others for at least a month. In the time I either treat any illnesses or issues they may have, or I keep an eye out and look for any troubling signs. Sometimes you catch things early. Things to look for are sneezes, coughs, paracites (external/internal, or worms), injuries, fatigue, unusual behavior, wheezing, not eating/drinking normally, bumblefoot (dealing with that right now, also not fun), etc. Also use this list to see over every bird individually before you even take them home.

    If after your prefered time you find everything in check, then you can intoduce your new birds to your established flock. Expect fighting, as the birds now need to re-settle the pecking order. But if any birds draw blood, please remove them right away. Birds that are bleeding should be removed from a flock ASAP and keep separate until they are healed. It's not an exact science, but it works for me. Not quarantining means you run the risk of exposing your flock to whatever your new one may have carried. It's your choice. You may very well bring back birds that are 100% healthy. But I wouldn't take that risk, even if the birds belonged to friends that I know well.

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