Merging flocks from a known source?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chooksaurus, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Chooksaurus

    Chooksaurus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2009
    NW WI
    I am familiar with the idea of quarantining any new additions to a flock for 30 days or so to eliminate possible contamination. But, what about when you know the source and are reasonably sure that the birds are 100% healthy?

    We split orders of chicks with my parents so that we each ended up with parts of each shipment. They are from the same hatchery and are all about 8 months old. My parents are looking to cut back on the number of birds before winter, and 15 layers is too many for them because they do not take advantage of selling the extra eggs.

    On the other end, we have people lined up waiting for our extra eggs, and I'd like to take in 8 or so of her hens. Not to mention, it would help keep our coop warmer in the winter. From all visible signs, they are healthy, so the only thing that I think could be a problem is the establishment of the pecking order. We also have 6 bantam chicks that are 6 weeks old who stay right in the coop with the big girls, so there is a little concern about whether the new hens would realize they are part of the flock or harm them.

    What do you folks think? Are there any major problems that I might be overlooking? Our coop is 10x12, so we should be able to handle 30 full sized hens going by 4 feet per hen. With an addition of 8 hens, it would put us at 17 large, 3 laying bantams, and 6 bantam chicks (2 of which are male and will be leaving us later). We should be able to support them space-wise.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. chicken master

    chicken master Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2009
    South carolina
    I think it would be fine.
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    To me that is a sort of in between situation -- it is not worst-case (like, buying chickens at a general livestock auction or flea market, or getting chickens from a poorly kept flock with obvious symptoms of illness) but it is still not *as* safe as if you could quarantine them. There are diverse ways that your parents' part of the shipment could have caught something in the past 8 months, and they would not *necessarily* show it until/unless stressed by the move.

    That said, if you just cannot quarantine them and really want those chickens, I would say the odds of a disease problem being introduced with them are probably pretty low (although, ask your parents if the flock has *ever*, at all, had sniffles or sneezes or crusty eyes or that sort of thing). Many might decide the risk is acceptably low to do it. (I don't know what I'd do, actually. I would be torn, that's for sure)

    Good luck whichever you decide, have fun,


    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    I have only ever [well at least in the last 40 years or so] bought birds from a source I knew & believed the birds to be healthy. In that time I have never isolated new birds & have never had a bad result. Maybe I'm just unusually lucky, but I have yet to win the Lottery.
  5. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    I would ask questions as Pat Suggested. then depending on the answers:

    (all Clear)-I would think it is ok.

    (any problems)-QUARENTINE!!!!

    However you should move them in at night! That way the stress of introduction is lessened.
    and they will not fight as much. Also add Electrolytes/ACV to the water for the first Day or so after getting them to help reduce stress.


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