Integrating adult hens - general health question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Toril, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Toril

    Toril Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2010
    Virginia Coast
    Hi all,

    We have had some rapid changes around the coop... First of all, we lost the little white rock pullet I just bought a week or so ago! [​IMG] She refused to go in with the others at dusk two nights ago, and I couldn't get her in. She was still eating, so I figured she would go in shortly, and left a little hatch door open for her. We have not had a single predator attack (except a hawk) in the entire 3 years we have had the chickens, so I felt pretty safe leaving her in the pen. It's very close to the house and the dog run is right next to it, and I think that's probably why we have been so lucky. Unfortunately, this little exuberant pullet was too visible in the dark, I guess, and was most likely taken by a possum. They are nasty - they just seem to kill for the heck of it, he didn't even eat her!

    We discovered her when we brought home the 'chain gang' - my name for the 8 sad looking '09 Rhode Island Reds I got from a guy a couple of towns over. They have been in a too crowded environment and have had their tails completely plucked clean! I've never seen a more sorry looking bunch, but they seem very excited about eating actual green grass and having room to roam. If I had gone myself to pick them up, I might have been a little skeptical to get them, but hubby brought them home and I didn't get to see them until it was dark and he had already put them in with the others in the hen house.

    Now my question:
    Would you do anything preventative when you introduce a new group of adult hens to the ones you already have, for instance deworming them? Or would you wait and see if any of them have any symptoms?

    I spent about 45 minutes there this morning with them to see if any behaved strange, but they all seemed in good shape - eating vigorously, clipping grass, went inside single-file to drink, and seemed to be respectful of the old crew. The rooster enjoyed the new selection of broads... I noticed that one of the hens had a comb that was hanging over instead of standing up, it looked like she was going to church with a new hat! [​IMG] Otherwise I was a little surprised to see that their combs were bigger and redder than my rooster's.... but I guess that's a breed issue. I had one RIR once, but it's a while ago - she passed from old age and was old already when I got her.

    Any input?
     
  2. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

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    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    I would've put them in quarantine anyway, before introducing them. Hopefully they are healthy and won't hurt your flock. Too late now!

    I'd let them settle in and then worm everyone.
     
  3. suzettex5

    suzettex5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2009
    California
    While its too late to prevent all contamination- I would immediatly dust them for mites (and everyone else and the living area), put electorlites in the water for all, and deworm right away (the new ones, and the old ones if its been awhile). You should pick up all the new hens and listen very carefully for any raspy or gurggly breathing, and do a sight/smell test of the eyes and nostrils for any foul odors or drainage. Any hen showing ANY symptoms needs to be quarentined right away, but if I was you, I would still seperate them for at least 2 weeks, just to be safe. Try to imagine your whole flock dying just due to the new chooks. It has happened to others, and could happen to anyone.

    I hope all is well and no one has any issues, but if the new ones were in a bad enviroment, chances are they have something going on, even if its just stress from a bad old enviroment, and then a move to a new home with new flockmates. (how was that for a run-on sentence? [​IMG] )


    I wish you the best of luck and hope everyone is healthy other than some missing feathers!! [​IMG]
     
  4. Toril

    Toril Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2010
    Virginia Coast
    Reading about mites... An article I found says the no 1 symptom is pale comb and wattles, and these girls have large, bright red combs and wattles - to where my own flock suddenly looked sort of anemic in comparison! Is this a symptom I can rely on, or could they have mites and still very red combs?
     
  5. suzettex5

    suzettex5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2009
    California
    Quote:I would have to dissagree- The first sign of mites are the little off-white to yellowish bugs running around on your chickens! [​IMG] They are small, so look near the combs and under the beaks, they tend to hide out in those spots. Also around the vent. I think you would have to have a pretty heavy infestation to get to the point that your hens' circulation is affected. Pale combs and wattles can be a sign of poor circulation due to heart problems and poor circulation from other causes. (or previous frostbite issues)

    Bright red combs are often used as a sign that young pullets are getting to the point of lay. How are all your chickens doing today?
     
  6. Toril

    Toril Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Oct 16, 2010
    Virginia Coast
    Thanks for asking, they seem to be integrating really well, and we got two eggs from the newbies - one had yolk on it, so clearly there was at one point three eggs and I have someone who is in the habit of eating eggs... [​IMG] We will be checking nests frequently throughout the day and give them something to stay busy with in the run to hopefully break that.

    And two eggs from two of the three who already lived here, so they can't be too stressed out, I guess!
     
  7. Toril

    Toril Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Oct 16, 2010
    Virginia Coast
    Wanted to update with a pic of the Chain Gang with our rooster and the old crew. They are very well-behaved, and I think the feathers will grow back.

    [​IMG]
     

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