Is there such thing a truly disease free flock? MG/MS/CRD/ILT/Bronchitis/Coryza/Newcastle (NPIP...)


Jan 4, 2016
I had a beautiful backyard flock (15-20 hens) and wanted to expand this spring to about 60 and try to sell eggs... well I bough 40 year old layers, they had been the only birds on the property of a friend, she had bought them from TSC. I introduced them to my flock after 30 days, they looked beautiful, full feathered, laying well... then my original birds got sick. A couple died, all had runny swollen eyes, lethargy, difficult raspy breathing. I took two to my state lab and they tested positive for MG and Coryza.

Prior to this episode, I had been terrible with biosecurity and knew nothing about poultry diseases and I had never had an issue. Learned my lesson! The state came out and quarantined my farm, I was fined if any poultry entered or left my property for 45 days. They recommended that I cull my birds, so I did, all 60+ (those of my original flock were all named, it was awful). After all of this, I am learning so much about diseases- and how ridiculously common MG/MS/MM is, as well as ALL the diseases listed above. Especially since MG/MS/MM effect laying ability.

Now I am concerned about getting new birds. I want to stick to one breed- Wheaten Marans if I can- but I cant find any flocks that are NPIP certified tested for MG/MS, much less other diseases. Am I being unreasonable? There are so many diseases! I'd be willing to pay a good fee for a breedable pair of wheatens that could produce healthy chicks. Everyone tells me to buy from an NPIP flock, but they only test for Pullorum-Typhoid, and Avian Influenza.

What can I do? Anyone know a Wheaten Maran flock who is NPIP and Certified MG/MS? I know clean birds are out there, because my original flock was clean (out of luck) until I introduced the new birds. TIA!
I JUST joined BYC today to come on here and research the same thing myself. Every time this disease is brought up (or at least MS/MG) or I research it online, it sounds as if it is a VERY common disease, a majority of the US's backyard chickens have it, it's just a matter or whether or not they show symptoms. Otherwise there is no way of telling they have it unless they get tested. In my honest opinion, no one can say their backyard flock is 100% healthy unless they have the paperwork from testing to prove it - and not just NPIP paperwork. Like you mentioned, just because someone is NPIP does not mean their flock is clean of MG/MS or other diseases.

I'm also having a hard time understanding the severity of these diseases, like MS/MG. I've known quite a few people in my area who have had it in their flocks, or illnesses very similar. Most of the time it does not affect egg production and they continue to sell eggs and chicks. So my question is, if people are getting tested and have it, but are not told to cull their flock, do they continue to sell eggs, chicks and birds or no? (I know most will say No, they should not be selling) BUT how is this any different from someone who has had sick birds, treats them to get better, never has them tested and are continuing to sell? That's my biggest issue with this particular disease.
Welcome to both of you to BYC. There are quite a few threads about MG or MS if you do a search at the top of this page. There are also numerous articles on Google about those and other diseases. It is a lot easier to get healthy birds when you get chicks directly from a hatchery than from buying from breeders. There are great honest breeders, but some won't tell you if they have had diseases before. Of course buying birds from strangers is the worst, and always quarantine any chickens for 30-45 days. Use good biosecurity by washing hands, changing shoes, and clothes when handling chickens. Don't let other chicken people in your coop. Cull sick birds if you suspect a disease.

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