Marek's, Raccoons, & more...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bowen012, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. bowen012

    bowen012 Chirping

    Jan 13, 2013
    North Carolina
    Started with a flock of 7 easter egger chicks this spring from a local farm. Straight run ration wound up being 4/3 with the heavy side being roosters. After finding homes for a few of the roosters around 12 weeks old or so, I was down to 1/3 roo/hen when marek's disease found it's way into my flock. It took my remaining rooster quickly and a couple of weeks later a hen started showing signs - I had her euthanized and a necropsy done which confirmed marek's. Down to 2 hens who seemed unaffected by marek's.

    Around the time the pullets were 17 weeks old I went out of town for a few days and left my in-laws in charge of putting the chickens away at night. Unfortunately we had one of those days where is way cool and cloudy and seemed to get dark early and by the time they shut the coop door around 8:30 or so a raccoon had gotten in the coop. The in-laws thought the chickens had just gone in the coop and closed the door so when I opened it the next morning I found feathers, bones, and blood. I thought I'd lost both hens but one showed up a week later out of nowhere; really skinny and nervous (understandably so). I'd ordered chicks from Meyers a day or two before this (they ship next week) and just looking for integration tips.

    The chicks are mareks vaccinated so this puts them in quarantine away from the property that is Marek's positive for 14 days? I guess I'm just looking for info on when and how to introduce them to the remaining pullet. I know they're flock animals and don't like being alone, but if at all possible, I'd rather not go out and buy another adult bird when I have new chicks up and coming. Besides having to quarantine the new bird for a month (that conditional on even being able to find a vaccinated bird in my area), I'd rather not bring any potential new funk onto my property. I spent a week trapping and killing raccoon and have added marek's vaccine to the new chicks - those are enough issues for me without bringing whatever stuff a new adult bird could bring in to my land.

    So... my thought is after a few weeks; maybe a month. Build a divider in the coop out of hardware cloth that allows the hen and chicks to see and hear each other for a few weeks (same thing in the run). Then around 8 weeks old physically introduce them to each other. This is all theory by someone who has never integrated flocks before... Advice?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Space and free range always helps smooth integration.
    IMO a lone bird will welcome company so even though they're younger, their numbers will be greater.
    I don't think you'll have much trouble. I admire your willingness to quarantine. Chicks are less likely to have anything wrong with them.

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