How far apart?

CountryFried

Songster
9 Years
Mar 6, 2010
280
390
221
SE AL
We have finally moved back to our homestead and I have poultry plans, but I have some concerns.

1. We had a horrible problem with mycoplasma 6-7 years ago and had to cull our flock. There’s been no poultry on our land in at least 6 years, though of course wild birds are around all the time. I don’t want to repeat this.

2. I’m taking in a small flock tomorrow from a hurricane victim that can no longer keep them due to losing their home in the storm.

3. Next year, I plan to have several flocks, 3-4, of different breeds of chickens. I also plan to have quail, geese, ducks, guineas (possibly several flocks), and maybe turkeys at some point in the future.

Bio security is at the forefront of my mind and I thought I had time to read up and make plans, but the hurricane flock is coming and I want to make the best decision I can on where to place them.

How far apart should I keep the flocks for optimal bio security? I would like to become NPIP certified down the road. I also want to minimalize my losses should I ever run into something like my mycoplasma situation again. I do not plan to free range the hurricane flock, I’ll make them a large run soon and I have a chicken play area for them until that’s done. (Some spring thing my mom gave me haha. I haven’t looked at it yet.)

Appreciate any advice, I really don’t want to have a bad chicken experience again
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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How far apart should I keep the flocks for optimal bio security?
IIRC... 100-300 feet downwind is optimal.

Every state has different NPIP testing requirements(even tho it's supposed to a national program) as to what they test for. I believe it was created to reduce the spread of the pullorum strain of salmonella, so that's all many test for...so that's all it would guard against, if that, as testers training is minimal and there is little to no oversight.
The 'NPIP' label is 'feel good' but false security, IMO.

Taking in birds from someone else always runs the risk of bringing pests and disease,
hatchery day old chicks are about the safest bet.
You won't know if this first group of birds are carriers of something until they either get sick or you have them swabbed and tested by a reputable vet/lab.

As far as adding more birds down the road, here's some info on quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
BYC 'quarantine' search
 

CountryFried

Songster
9 Years
Mar 6, 2010
280
390
221
SE AL
I know NPIP isn’t what it should be, but it makes buyers feel good, and it’s a starting point for trying to keep my flocks safer. I have several acres so the 300 feet downwind is easily do-able for the hurricane flock. The rest of my birds will probably come from hatcheries, and I plan to do what I can to minimize the risk between my future flocks. They are coming with their own coop so I will keep it isolated from where the other coop and barn is. The state vet says it’s entirely possible that the mycoplasma my birds got before came from wild birds, so I do know perfect bio security isn’t possible.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,502
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Southeast Louisiana
First an excerpt and the link it came from. Hopefully you will get some comfort from this. You probably already know this.

M. gallisepticum
infection is caused by an organism classified as a mycoplasma. This organism is similar to bacteria, but lacks a cell wall. This characteristic makes MG extremely fragile. They are easily killed by disinfectants, heat, sunlight, and other factors. They only remain viable in the environment, outside the chicken, for typically up to 3 days. For this reason, MG is fairly easy to eliminate on single-age, all-in all-out poultry farms. If a laying flock is infected, complete depopulation of the farm at the end of the laying cycle and providing down-time prior to reintroducing chickens will be successful in eliminating MG. However, complete depopulation must be performed to break the cycle and prevent re-infection in subsequent flocks on the premises.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps034

The National NPIP program was set up primarily to combat Pullorum. It used to be a fairly common disease among chickens so the Federal government set up a voluntary program the individual States could join if they wish. From memory 48 of the states have, Hawaii and one other opted out. It is one of those government programs that worked, Pullorum is pretty rare now.

For states to get federal money to help with their individual NPIP program it's pretty basic. Some states do the minimum to receive that money, others add more requirements like maybe testing for bird flu or something else the feds do not require. They are organized differently too. The false sense of security comes from people not understanding what NPIP is meant to do or how the individual states practice it. It's not a failure in the program but a failure with people not understanding it.

I totally agree, perfect biosecurity is not possible. We just have to do the best we reasonably can. I trust mailed hatchery birds as far as biosecurity goes as much as any other source. The only way I bring in new blood is to get hatchery birds or hatch the eggs myself.

It is possible the flock you are getting has a flock immunity to something that you will never see no matter how long they are quarantined but they could pass it on to another bird that does not have that immunity. Coccidiosis is a great example but there can be others. To test that you might house one of your hatchery birds with that flock after they reach a certain age and see if any get sick.

My goals and set-up is different from yours. I don't separate into different flocks. But my thoughts on keeping a healthy flock is not to try to keep the in a sterile environment. Instead I think they develop a strong immune system by exposing them to their environment at a very young age. A broody hen raising her chicks with the flock automatically does that. With my brooder-raised chicks I feed them dirt from the main run where the adults are pooping to introduce anything they need to work on immunity from. Get those flock immunities started early. I start giving them dirt their second or third day in the brooder and repeat weekly. That not only starts them on their flock immunities but gets any probiotics the adults may have and grit into their system.

The other way to keep them healthy is to keep a closed flock. Limit exposure to any outside chicken you don't trust. That's why I limit it to hatchery chicks or hatching the eggs myself.

Good luck with it and welcome back to the adventure.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
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Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Whether the NPIP is what it should be or not is immaterial. The pullorum strain of salmonella is absolutely the most destructive type of chicken disease going. I draw up in a little ball when I read on these pages about someone having a problem with Pasty Butt. Pasty butt is the most reliable symptom of pullorum salmonella. Those chickens need to be tested for pullorum. Before pullorum salmonella was called pullorum salmonella this illness was known as "White Bacillus Diarrhea"
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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I draw up in a little ball when I read on these pages about someone having a problem with Pasty Butt. Pasty butt is the most reliable symptom of pullorum salmonella
Pasty butt in young chicks is usually due to 'start up' issues on those tiny digestive systems.
To say pasty butt is "the most reliable symptom of pullorum salmonella" could be easily misunderstood as all pasty butt indicates PS.
 

Soon2BChixMom

Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens
Jan 8, 2017
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If I Remember Correctly.
Go by prevailing winds.
Ah. Ok about IIRC. I've seen you post that abbreviation a few times lately. I couldn't think of what it could mean. :D
According to my wind vane, the wind changes direction almost daily.
Prevailing winds also change according to the season - plus then you might have to take into consideration the dominant winds of your region. Sounds like we not only need to know chicken-ese, but also need to know meteorology too. :p
 

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