Introducing new hens to flock

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Johnthebigcock, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Johnthebigcock

    Johnthebigcock New Egg

    Mar 9, 2014
    Do I need to do anything special to introduce new hens, in particular I'm asking about disease and immunity and quarantine;)
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Many people go to chicken swaps, bring home chickens, and just turn them loose with their flock, usually without serious problems. But occasionally someone brings home a disease that wipes out their entire flock. What you need to do depends on how precious your chickens are to you and how risk-adverse you are. I take biosecurity seriously enough that I don’t do that.

    Some flocks have developed flock immunities. The chicks are exposed to a disease early on and develop an immunity to that disease. Coccidiosis is a really good example of this but there are others. They never show any symptoms but can infect others.

    The normal recommendation is a 30 day quarantine. Chicken diseases can spread many different ways, sharing a drinking bowl, pecking at each other’s poop, or some diseases are spread by the wind. The more you separate them the more effective your quarantine will be. It’s also a good idea to use different feed and water buckets and to even change shoes for the separate flocks.

    A 30 day quarantine should expose any disease those chickens have been exposed to in the last few weeks. Also the stress of the move may weaken their immune system enough so that some diseases they normally tolerate will show up. It’s also a great time to treat them for mites, lice or worms. But it won’t necessarily show anything they have developed a flock immunity to. Don’t forget, your flock may be the one that has the immunity and will infect the new chickens. Don’t get me wrong. This type of quarantine is a powerful tool and is standard. It has saved many a flock or herd.

    I suggest you consider taking it one step further. Pick a potentially sacrificial member of your current flock and house it with the new birds. This should expose anything the new birds are carrying, whether they are immune or not. If the new birds get sick and your “sacrificial” bird doesn’t, you’ll know your flock is the problem.

    There is a lot of personal preference in what you do. Hopefully this will give you some ideas about formulating a plan for your unique situation. Good luck!
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    Ridgerunner has left you with some great advice!

    Welcome to BYC and enjoy all your poultry adventures!
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC - great advice from Ridgerunner.
  6. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2013
    [​IMG] best of luck!
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    welcome to the flock [​IMG]
  8. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by