I need some help! E coli scare!

Jynnx5643

Hatching
Sep 24, 2020
8
0
3
Hello everyone,

So my husband and I are in the midst of buying our first home and we plan on homesteading, that of course includes chickens for both laying and meat in the future. We are new to both being home owners and raising chickens and though I've done a good deal of research and feel pretty confident, of course life threw a wrench in the works.

The current owner of the home alread HAS laying hens on the property, and 2 goats, and she graciously offered to give them to me as it would make moving out easier for her. I was ecstatic at this!

Until....

The water test for the home came back with Ecoli in it and something else that starts with a 'c'. They are treating the water as we speak, but I have concerns about the hens at this point. I know hens have e coli in their gut, but theyve also been drinking this E coli positive water (right along with the owners) the entire time. I am concerned for many reasons:

1. If we move in and I accept these hens I'm afraid they could just prove to be sick and at that point I will have to treat them myself or worst case scenario cull them. I havent even gotten my feet wet raising hens yet and this would scare the heck out of me as well as I'm sure cost some money we would be strapped for having just moved in to the home.

2. Any new hens/roosters/chicks/etc I bring onto the property might also get sick which just makes everything so much worse.

3. That the pens/yard the hens have been foraging and pooping on/ etc could also be contaminated?

4. The eggs (literally the only reason for keeping these 2-3 year old hens) could not be consumed because of the fear of e coli, as well as the flesh if I would be forced to cull a sick animal. (I don't think composting a sick animal is an intelligent idea).


Those are just a few concerns off the top of my head. We close in a few weeks (maybe sooner) and if I'm going to accept these hens and possible goats, I need to make a decision soon so I can give them enough time to rehome or treat the hens themselves. My options are basically:

1. Leave the situation as it is and hopefully none of the chickens prove to be sick.

2. Tell my realtor to notify the seller that we will not be able to take the hens.

3. Leave the situation as it is but re-home the potentially sick hens and notify the new owner or treat them myself before rehoming. (Which is basically not an option because I dont think someone else should have to suffer or inherit someone else's sick animals even after I treat them I'd be scared of making someone sick).


I don't know what to do or if this is even an issue. Obviously I am not there everyday right now monitoring these birds. Part of me thinks that if the owners arent responsible enough to pay for $100 water test each year, the chickens probably arent safe. But I also don't want to agitate the owners because we're still in active contract.

If anyone has some advice I would greatly appreciate it.

Also once we move in (with the hens on the property or not) what do you all suggest I do to make sure that my family and future animals are safe on the property? I don't want to be afraid to eat eggs from the hens I raise. It's a situation I'd very much like to avoid...

Thanks in advance.

~J
 

Jynnx5643

Hatching
Sep 24, 2020
8
0
3
They have already begun flushing the well out and paying for it to be treated by a professional. They also replaced the well cap. Apparently they found a dead squirrel in there. (YUCK) so the water is being treated and will be completely clean I am being reassured, and also they will be re testing the water before we move in.

It's the hens I am unsure of. and the goats.
 

Jynnx5643

Hatching
Sep 24, 2020
8
0
3
Yes we are considering drilling a new well believe me. But for now we are pretty much stuck with what we have. Will the eggs be safe to eat? I should probably wait a bit before ingesting anything from these birds I'm assuming, but is it ignorant to accept these animals in the first place? They looked fine when I saw them roaming around the yard foraging during our inspection last weekend. But who knows if theyre actually sick...
 

Jynnx5643

Hatching
Sep 24, 2020
8
0
3
I mean I'm sure once we inherit the animals I can test them all I want, it's just I want to make sure I'm not being stupid by accepting these animals in the first place now that I know the previous owners were drinking and having their animals drink, contaminated water.

If this is not a huge deal I of course plan to take care of the animals and make sure they receive optimal care, which includes making sure they don't have E coli. My concerns are if accepting these animals in the first place is just not a good idea and will possibly cause more harm than good to my heart and my family's wallet as well as other future birds.
 

Jessie404

Chirping
Sep 12, 2020
107
318
88
North East Victoria, Australia
Have you met the chickens? If so, then you should be able Toby tell based on their behaviour. I think it is just some drug treatment plan to treat it in chickens. The more costly part will be actually getting the vet to analyse them. So if you test them you could just ask for the treatment, instead of wasting money on vet consult.

In regards to whether you should take them, I would again say look at the birds, if they are normal, healthy and active I think you should take them. Healthy birds are easier and more likely to respond to treatment than depressed and lethargic ones
 

Jynnx5643

Hatching
Sep 24, 2020
8
0
3
I was there just last weekend and all the hens looked normal to me. Combs were rosy colored, they didn't seem lethargic at all. They were super friendly and really smart, hastily running to the current owner when she shook a scoop of feed to get them out of the dirt road. They were vocalizing and the sounds were normal (so no like phlegm sounds or bubbles or anything weird.) Their eyes looked clear. I didn't hear any coughing or see any spots on their faces/legs/etc. I didn't see any swelling in the belly/face/ etc. They looked 'normal' but I mean, I am new to this afterall, so I guess I could be missing something.
 

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