In over my head- bought chickens from production farm

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sannabelle, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. sannabelle

    sannabelle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello- this is my first post...I made a stupid mistake and now I need help! Please =)

    I have a small flock of 9 easter eggers that are about 6 months old, I have raised them on 100% organic food, no antibiotics or anything of that sort. On our farm we use no pesticides and our chickens free range during the day and have lots of access to organic vegetables and fruits. I use ACV, home grown herbs and EO's to keep our chickens healthy and have not had any health issues so far.

    We wanted some more chickens and I was perusing a local sales website- I saw pictures of beautiful red sex link hens that were 14 months old for sale, for a very very reasonable price. Without thinking of asking what they were fed or if they were treated with antibiotics, I called the gentleman to set up a time to pick up 10. He said that they were free ranged, very healthy, blah blah blah.

    I have done research on introducing adult chickens into an existing flock, so I already had a separate coop set up for them to allow for quarantine time, etc.

    Anyways.....I got to this farm (three kids in tow), pulled up to the barn, and immediately realized I was at a corporate style factory chicken farm. The chickens were practically on top of each other in this large barn, all missing tons of feathers, beaks cut...it was awful.

    The guy was waiting there for me, and already had my chickens rounded up...I was so shocked by the whole ordeal I just opened up the crate, he THREW the chickens in, and we left. Even if I had been thinking clearly I couldn't have left them there...

    Long story, thanks for bearing with me...now I am lost as to what to do.

    I'm sure these guys have been fed tons of antibiotics- is there a way to safely "flush" their systems?
    What kinds of natural supplements can I give them to boost their immune systems?
    What extra precautions should I be taking before introducing them to my existing flock?
    Is introducing them to my flock even possible, being that they all have their beaks cut?

    I feel like a moron, but at the same time I'm glad these girls are now with me. I work for an animal rescue as a trainer and rehabber of dogs....why not chickens, I suppose. And yes, I know that by buying these chickens I am just enabling this person to continue doing the same thing, I get it, trust me.

    Anyways....all and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Antibiotics aren't allowed in production birds so no need to worry about that. You will want to quarantine them for 3-4 weeks before beginning integration which could take a while. A good diet and the fall molt should make them look all nice again. Plan on penning them side by side for a while during integration, or plan on another coop which might be easier.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    Oh, oops...well, my first suggestion would be 'take them back', but I doubt you'll consider that.

    They just need plenty of space and good food, clean water, and time.
    The clipped beaks may present the need for deeper dish of food in mash or crumble form as they probably can't pick things up like a normal beaked bird can.

    A true bio/medical quarantine might present the real problem if your coops/runs are not far enough apart.
    Some links below on quarantine and integration.



    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1069595/introducing-chicks-to-adults#post_16276224


    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  4. sannabelle

    sannabelle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much! I didn't realize they weren't allowed to use antibiotics- when I told my husband about your reply he was like "Duh, babe." I guess I am concerned about whatever medicated feed they would've been fed as well. I'm not concerned about eggs at this point, but will the eggs be safe for my family to eat? We rarely eat anything that's not organic, and the meat my family eats is all locally grown, grass fed, blah blah blah.

    Thanks so much!
     
  5. sannabelle

    sannabelle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for your response.

    I will read the articles- very helpful!

    The coops are about 2.5 acres away from each other, and I've banned my kids from going in the coop with the new chickens so they don't spread anything back into our original flocks coop.

    The large coop I plan/planned on moving them all into together is pretty huge. Basically like a small barn, lots of ventilated windows, huge roosts. I have a large wire barrier that I can set up when we are ready to move the new chickens in.

    If we have to, we will set up a permanent separate space for them..I really do want them to have a good life.

    Thank you again for all of the information, I was feeling very lost last night and am feeling much better this morning!

    =)

    And as a side note- last night I got a message from one of my rescue friends...asking me to take in neglected chickens from a hoarding situation. HA. I've got enough screwy chickens for the moment [​IMG]
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    This is what I thought. too...but...someone posted their feed bag the other day and it contained bacitracin - which is an antibiotic
    Now maybe that doesn't apply to these chickens, or any other 'commercial' flocks......but it sure made me scratch my head.

    There's also a wormer out there..Rooster Booster(?) contains hygromycin - which is also a an antibiotic.

    Sorry for the babbling thread drift.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I like your babbling. From my experience from being a dairy farmer their are tons of rules and regulations that go along with selling food. If you are caught violating them there are big fines. Most need to be inspected yearly, and product is tested either every tank of milk or so many animals. Now I have never been an official chicken farmer, but I do believe they would probably not want trouble either.

    I see on commercials for chicken products them boasting there are no antibiotics in their birds, which makes me laugh as no producers are supposed to use antibiotics. That's why when they have disease outbreaks they cull everyone as treating isn't an option.

    So I figured odds are good that the birds haven't had any additives in their feed at least recently. That's my logic anyways, especially since they were properly going to be sent to slaughter soon for being less productive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  8. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    I thought it was just hormones that were banned from the poultry industry?

    This is from the US Poultry and Egg Association page:

    What does antibiotic free mean?
    Antibiotic-free claims on egg cartons can be only be made by egg producers who choose not to use any antibiotics in feed or water during the growing period of pullets or while hens are laying eggs. Flocks producing certified organic eggs must be antibiotic free by regulation. Flocks producing conventional eggs may use FDA approved antibiotics and must comply with FDA levels of use and other restrictions. FDA regulations assure that antibiotic residues do not occur in the egg itself. Eggs from hens treated with antibiotics cannot be classified as antibiotic-free, but the eggs themselves do not contain antibiotic residues. The list of antibiotics allowed by FDA for use in egg laying flocks is quite small, only three. Also, it is estimated that only a small percentage of laying flocks producing conventional eggs ever receive antibiotics due to use of effective vaccines and other management practices which minimize the need for antibiotics to treat illness. If any egg laying flock does receive an antibiotic, it is usually under the supervision of a veterinarian and only for a short period of time to treat a specific disease outbreak or for prevention of a recurring disease on that farm.
     
  9. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Thanks for that information. I wasn't sure what was allowed.
     

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