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How large does a quarentine area have to be for 3-5 chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chixcoop, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. chixcoop

    chixcoop Chirping

    Jul 24, 2015
    Western Mass
    I saw an add somewhere today, and someone is giving away free chickens. As I know that quarentining is the the first step in the procedure to intorducing new chickens, I was wondering how big their area has to be. I do not have another coop, so is it okay to keep them (3-5 chickens) in a large dog crate? (Like a 4x3x3). I'm guessing that not everyone has an extra large quarentine area, so what did/do you do to quarentine a new chicken?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015

  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Your best bet is to NEVER bring in outside birds at all. It's almost impossible to truly quarantine them anywhere on your property, and birds that appear healthy can bring in diseases that will kill all your flock, and stay forever (think Marek's disease). Those free birds can cost a lot in the long run! Mary
    1 person likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    1 person likes this.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Quarantine is not separate but close together. In what you described, they are sharing the same air, and therefore the same germs. To properly quantize, one must separate the birds by 300 feet, you need to care for one flock, change clothes, and care for the other flock.
    Most back yard setups are not possible to quarantine. The thing is, if you can't do it properly, you may as well not do it at all.

    Many people on here have closed, highly valuable flocks, or are emotionally attached to their birds that to loose a flock would be devastating. If that is your situation, do not add the birds.

    Personally, I have added birds many times with no problem. Look at the birds, look at the set up, if they are sick, if they are dirty, if they look sick, do not take them, even if you feel sorry for them. But if they have bright eyes, walk well with good legs and feet, if they have good feathers, clear noses... well healthy looks healthy. They might be an excellent addition to your flock. Physically examine them for parasites.

    Personally, I would never add chickens from an auction or the fair, they have been exposed to many strange disease, even if they went to the fair or auction healthy.

    You have to assess your risk, and what you can live with. It is a real risk. People have lost their flocks by adding birds or not properly quarantining them. It is a real risk. However, many of us have never had a problem adding healthy birds.

    Mrs K
    4 people like this.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I had a closed flock for years, only bringing in day old chicks from a hatchery or hatching my own. Recently, I've started adding adult birds. I'm more along Mrs K's line of thinking.

    I have no quarantine facilities. My property just isn't set up for it. I go by how the birds look. Yes, I'm aware that an apparently healthy bird can carry a suppressed disease, but overall I think the chances are pretty low. I do ask about disease, or use of antibiotics/meds. Usually just chatting with the seller for a little bit can give you answers to how the birds are raised and if there have been any issues. I look at the birds and their environment if I'm at the seller's home. Check legs for mites, clear eyes, bright combs, glossy feathers, etc.

    If I were to bring in a disease that was chronic, it would be a loss for me, but not emotionally or financially devastating, and no irreplaceable bloodstock would be lost. That's my risk vs benefit assessment. If you'd be literally crushed to have your pets sick or chronic carriers or possibly die, it's not worth the risk. If you have irreplaceable bloodlines or very high quality birds...well, you wouldn't be asking this question in the first place, so that's a moot point.

    I would never "rescue" a bird from a bad situation because I felt sorry for it or that it's living conditions were inadequate. I'm not bringing that home to my birds, ever. I may call animal control, but I'm not putting my flock at risk.
    5 people like this.

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