How do you know QUARANTINE works?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by feathermaid, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. feathermaid

    feathermaid Egg Obsessed

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    So, you’ve just purchased some POL pullets, or rescued a small flock of somebody’s unwanted chickens. You can’t just throw them in with your current flock because that could be disastrous without a proper quarantine before integration or even attempting see but don’t touch. So… you keep them separated for 30 days and practice perfect biosecurity all while observing the new birds and never seeing any signs of illness. Now it’s safe to introduce them to your flock right?

    But, what if your new birds have previously acquired immunities and are merely carriers of something your current birds have no immunities against? Is that possible? Will your current flock now become infected? Get sick and die?

    In researching various diseases and viruses, I have become quite paranoid about how easily they can be spread. I’ve read threads here on BYC where folks have quarantined and still had illness and death brought into their flock.

    This whole business has me convinced the best way to add to your flock is to buy chicks from a hatchery where the risk of bringing in disease is practically nil. But what if your own chickens are carriers and then you bring in new healthy birds?

    How do you know when it’s safe?
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I believe I saw @ChickenCanoe discussing this somewhere?

    There's always risk involved when bringing in new birds.
    They could be carriers and make your existing flock sick.
    Your existing flock could make them sick.
    New chicks from a hatchery are less likely to have a communicable disease, but it's possible they could get sick if your existing flock has something.....

    These are all possibilities....

    Let's say IF you bring in adult birds and are perfect with your quarantine and biosecurity and all is well with them. Take a bird from your existing flock (canary) and house it with them/cage them with/next to the "newbies" if after a waiting period none of the newbies or the "canary" is sick from anything, then chances are good all will be well.

    Whew!! That's a lot work and worry.

    Do you fear that your existing flock has an illness that can be passed on to other birds?

    I think all of these things do come to mind and can cause worry to any of us at some point. Hatching your own could reduce some risk of bringing in disease as well.
     
  3. PenguinsCraft

    PenguinsCraft Formal Chicken

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    I have yet to have any issues with poultry. Now rabbits yeah did quarantine and lost most of my herd because one rabbit showed no signs until a month after being in with the rest. I learned the hard way to quarantine when I lost all my rabbits when I had not quarantined a new rabbit.
    Now I quarantine any new livestock. No matter who or where they come from.
     
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  4. feathermaid

    feathermaid Egg Obsessed

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    Thank you! @Wyorp Rock that's a great suggestion about using a canary. Would you do a full 30 day quarantine then another 30 day "canary" period? Or split the time differently? That IS a lot of work and worry!

    Well, no. I came across this thread the other day and it just got me thinking and wondering... I believe her birds may be carriers though...? I tried to help her and started researching disease in general and just became overwhelmed with bad news. I will never wear my chicken shoes to the feed store again! And I still don't know the right answer for her.

    Anyway, I was wanting to add a few chicks this spring and actually designed my coop so that integration would be easier. I'd love to hatch some eggs (someday) but right now I'm not in a position to be able to deal with the cockerels. I'm not into breeding or showing so I've been really pleased with chicks from the feed store in the past. I plan to sanitize the brooder area first and I'm hoping that will be good enough.
     
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  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    It's hard not to become overwhelmed with a lot of research/reading. Birds can be carriers of respiratory disease and never become symptomatic. I have not read the whole thread you mentioned, looks like the OP had a necropsy, but no further testing to find out what, if any, disease they might be dealing with. Certain diseases like IB which was mentioned can last for up to year - it's a virus and has to run it's course, if birds are added from unknown sources (rescues, auction birds, etc.) then, imho, that ups the risk of bringing something in.

    It is a very good idea not to wear chicken clothes/shoes to the feed store though and practice some biosecurity, especially if you have friends that own their own chickens.
    Do keep in mind that most of the diseases you read about can be spread by dust, dander, feathers, wild birds, shoes/clothes, etc. So even with strict measures and you do everything right, you can still end up with disease in your flock.

    NOW. Is it the end of the world. That is debatable:) A lot depends on your goals. Some diseases, you can "manage" the symptoms, but still any new birds that arrive (chicks or adults) can possibly become sick, they would be carriers too. Those "newbies" can also bring in something as well, then you have secondary illnesses to deal with.

    If you are a worrier, you can think of 1000's of scenarios and possibilities.
    I recommend if you buy chicks from a hatchery, brood them near your flock and see how it goes. IF you bring in birds from other sources, it would be a good idea to quarantine them so you can observe them for illness and lice/mites, etc. Putting one of your own with them will let you know some things as well. The "canary" I believe should be with them for at least 14days.

    What are your goals?
     
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  6. feathermaid

    feathermaid Egg Obsessed

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    Fresh eggs for my family and friends
    Happy chickens that free range most days
    No disease!!
    Compost for my garden
    Pure enjoyment
    Someday hoping for the constitution to raise/process my own meat

    Right now I'm in the suburbs, so my goals are pretty limited. Moving to the country might still be a few years away. I have to be diligent in managing my flock size, so I can't just keep adding... I'll have to rotate out my older birds. I just haven't done it yet. Still trying to decide between selling or harvesting.

    It's important to keep my flock healthy because I will NOT sell or give away sick birds. I know some people are fine with keeping a closed flock, but that's not what I want. As far as I know, all my birds (only 4) are perfectly healthy.... except I have a 42 week old Blue Wyandotte pullet hasn't started laying yet. I'm almost starting to wonder if she has reproductive issues.

    My property isn't big enough to even practice a proper quarantine far enough away, so that's why baby chicks seem the safest. I can easily do "see but don't touch" with my setup. Last spring I integrated 3 chicks (by 4-5 weeks old) with my 2yr old hens and it went perfectly. I later lost one of my originals to fatty liver hemorrhagic disease or ascites (as determined here) but I now have much better feeding habits.

    I really didn't think that contagious disease would ever be a concern for me, but the more research I do, the less sure I am. Especially with wild birds all around, my chickens could pick up something, then I could inadvertently give away a hidden disease and cause an outbreak in someone else's flock. Right?

    :barnie
     
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  7. feathermaid

    feathermaid Egg Obsessed

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    Is this whole chicken raising thing just luck of the draw?

    For as many quarantine stories I've heard about birds still getting sick, seems like there's just as many others that don't quarantine at all and end up just fine.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I wouldn't say it's the luck of the draw. Anyone could encounter problems.

    Sometimes we overthink things. If you are always worrying about what could happen, then you aren't enjoying what is happening now.
    You have some good plans, continue with them, expand and refine them.

    I'm not dismissing your concerns at all. I get it, but in a backyard set-up I don't think most of are us equipped or even have the room to do a proper quarantine. Rotate your flock like you plan, if your girls are healthy now, then consider them healthy. Get hatchery chicks for the time being and once you have more room/property continue with your plans - breed/hatch your own and go from there.
     
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  9. feathermaid

    feathermaid Egg Obsessed

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    You are so right!!!

    I am going to relax now. whew-1.gif
     
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  10. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    @Wyorp Rock is correct. Chickens are simple creatures. However the sky is the limit when it comes to us making chicken keeping complicated. It's best to keep it simple.
    Common sense rules. Purchase birds from hatcheries: Dont buy or take in chickens from bird shows, Craigslist, farmer down the road, certain breeders, rescues etc...
    When you go to a feed store, dont wear the same shoes when walking into an area where your chickens are located when you get back home, simply change shoes and put on your chicken shoes.
    I know the temptation is there but if you MUST HAVE a bird from a breeder, quarantine it a good distance away from your existing flock for at least 4 weeks and dont go nowhere near your existing flock until you change clothes and shoes, and wash up. This will give you time to inspect the new bird(s) for external parasites and treat accordingly as well as worming them. Most poultry diseases will show symptoms in the 4 week quarantine period. If anything, the stress of quarantining will set off disease symptoms, then you can cull.
    Look for anything out of the ordinary when acquiring birds from a breeder. Dont be afraid to walk away if there's a single issue. It'll save you heartache and money, not to mention playing nurse maid to a bunch of sick chickens.
     

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