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Just rescued a lot of chicks from chicken houses....Help, please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by petitesphinx, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. petitesphinx

    petitesphinx Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    Hi, all!

    Hubby and I just got the ok to drive to one of our local chicken houses and catch the ones that were too "small" to take to butcher. WOW!! I have never smelled anything like that before in my life!! It was like swimming in a kitty litter box!!! (I think I'll need to burn our clothes) heehhee

    So...there we were, our friends/neighbors and our kids chasing these little poor chickies in these super large houses..it was a funny site! 2 of the little guys were deformed or badly injured (I can't tell), but my thoughts being that EVERY living thing deserves a chance at life--we take the 2 little boogers home and put in a separate cage.

    They are 6 weeks old, how long before we can let them out? They have most of their feathers, but underneath are bald. We also have them separated from our chickens and put anti-biotics in their water. Is this ok? How long until we can let them with our chickens?

    They look pretty rough and most people wouldn't have taken them--just let them get killed. But they're still living and feel the same pain and joy as my pampered "fancy" chickens--that's what I feel, anyway. So, every so many months, this might become a habit-rescue-expedition..hahaha.

    I'll send photos tomorrow; but they are sure rough looking right now.

    Please say a prayer for us that we are able to care for them, get them where healthy chickens should be and they enjoy their new lives here on the farm in Alabama.
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Are they meat birds? From your description they sound like broilers being dispatched frequently.

    If so they grow faster than their feathering can cover. They also usually won't last a year as their hearts give out from stress. A few have made it longer but it is not common. Also broilers can go lame from their legs not being strong enough to support themselves when they reach a peek. Sad but true.

    Broilers or not - this applies to all.

    Be EXTRA diligent in your biosecurity. Tend your old flock first then the new birds. WAsh your hands, lysol your shoes, change your clothes when you have been in contact with the new birds before going to your old flock. You can pass disease from your shoes and clothing. That stench is bacteria, virus', poop, decay and all sorts of things your birds won't have an immunity to fight off. It may take up to 4 week for the stench to leave the birds themselves.

    Keep them separate for 30 days to 6 weeks. If you see any signs of illness act fast because the stress of moving them to a new place will bring out some nasty bugs they could be carrying.

    I know you mean well and want to do right by the new chickens and will do what you want to do in this area despite my advise on the subject. I feel compelled to advise this. Routine antibiotics in the water is not a good thing. You weaken their ability to develop a strong immune system as well as help create bacteria that are resistant to certain antibitoics. Virus' do not respond to antibiotics. Broad spectrum antibiotics when not specifically in need will be less likely to help them over an illness when they actually need it. This is one reason we have so many super bugs that are hard to control and no longer respond to the drugs made to kill them.

    You would do better to load their water with raw organic apple cider vinegar, 5 drops of liquid baby vitamins without iron by beak daily for a week or two and add yogurt and kefir to their diets.

    Good luck and read, read, read https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=70782
  3. petitesphinx

    petitesphinx Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    Thank you!!

    Yes, they are raised in the houses, then sent for our grocery stores.

    I couldn't help myself, they looked so sad and in need. My neighbors here have chickens from the houses and they're large and free-ranging happy birds, so I'm hopeful for a positive outcome.

    So far they "act" like healthy normal chickens, but the being bald underneath is sad.

    Have you seen or heard of any luck with these types?? Or is my neighbor just a rare case?

    Thank you, thank you!
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    They can live a while but they won't live a long propserous life.

    They are driven to eat. You will have to restrict their feed and let them range to exercise and slow down their growth.

    Don't be surprised when you find one deceased or one drops in front of you. They just are not bred to sustain a long life.
  5. petitesphinx

    petitesphinx Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    Oh, how sad... We'll let free range when they're safe to let go....at least they'll enjoy a little bit of freedom. Even if ever so fleeting.

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing 11 Years

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Thank you for your kindness and for giving them a chance at a good life for however long they have. [​IMG]
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Judy, you got there ahead of me...

    But I share the sentiments...

    10,000 Good Karma points for helping the little eating machines...
    We need to think up little Weight Watchers menus for them...
  8. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Just a word... usually people butcher these birds at 10 weeks at the oldest. They are eating machines...if you give them just a little food and let them roam (they may not get the idea of what grass is...) you can increase their life span. They are geneticallt bred to just eat and eat and eat and get big and bigger and bigger...

    Good luck!!
    Oh, and even though you do everything right and nice for them, like Prissy said, they may just fall over dead of a heart attack...their systems cannot tolerate a long life the way they've been bred [​IMG]

  9. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    [​IMG] Good save. Thank you for working so hard to give these birds a good life.

    My neighbors here have chickens from the houses and they're large and free-ranging happy birds,

    You might want to talk to these neighbors and find out what they did when they brought their birds home. And also ask how old the birds are now, this should give you a good idea what to expect. imho​
  10. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    I admire your drive for freedom for all living things. But Miss Prissy's advice is vital here.

    Not only the safey of your own flock is at stake, but if you overuse antibiotics, the lives of all birds, and all people too, are at stake. We are rapidly losing the efficacy of the precious discovery of antibiotics - remember, only sixty-five years ago we didnt have em at all, and granny can tell you what that was like.

    Please follow good advice on this subject and use ACV and yogurt. For people, when possible, too.

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