MG-Free Flock, How Realistic?

altair

Songster
10 Years
Aug 16, 2010
205
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166
My current closed flock has tested positive for MG. I'm unsure where it could have come from. I opted to keep my breeder flock, stop breeding, and just let them live out their days eating bugs and being enjoyable. I currently don't live near any other chicken flocks. I don't have a problem with wild birds interacting with mine, though sometimes a sparrow has been caught in our greenhouse (the chicken coop) as they hunt bugs caught in the plastic. I will do my best to end the sparrows' presence before I ever get new birds.

So after finding a MG-free flock and making sure everything's disinfected (I would probably wait 6-12 months and raise them in a different spot on the property), and no wild vectors or new birds come in, how realistic is it to keep a free-ranged flock and not have mycoplasmas?
 

Eggcessive

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Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
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southern Ohio
Sorry about your flock. I think it would depend on if you have many birds who are showing symptoms or not. MG is pretty common in backyard flocks and in wild birds. Certain antibiotics may treat symptoms during an outbreak in a birds. There are mild to serious strains. If I just wanted to have a flock to raise for eggs, I would just close the flock, and make sure that no birds ever leave the flock. Treat a sick bird with Tylosin or denagard, or cull sick birds. I would not add birds or hatch, since the disease can be passed through hatching eggs. There is a vaccine for birds not yet exposed. There may be wild birds in your area who could spread MG to a whole new flock if you cull your flock. I would just be informed about symptoms and treatments. Not all birds will show symptoms, even though they may have antibodies and test positive for MG. You will get many opinions on this subject here on BYC.
 

altair

Songster
10 Years
Aug 16, 2010
205
46
166
Thanks for the advice! I had a horrid time with it. My breeder flock had ILT, MG, and Marek's (all vet-confirmed though my sick bird in question was a hatchery bird and vaccinated for Marek's).

The state ag department quarantined our property against birds in and out, visited to band them all. I was pretty beside myself knowing my breeding plans of years were a waste and faced with killing about 4 generations hatched myself. I ended up keeping the quarantine and stopped hatching.

This year the state reversed my quarantine, citing changing rules, and our property was lifted. I was very grateful not to have culled everything only to get a letter saying 'you're okay now'.

But even though we have state-approval, it's not moral to sell stock and our flock's still closed.

But I would LOVE to be a breeder again just without the heartache and constant worry of 'are they sick??' I don't think I'm going to vaccinate for anything as that often introduces the disease to the property and breed for healthy, vigorous animals.
 

shaw613

Songster
Oct 27, 2019
133
98
101
Northeast Colorado
I just got word last night that my flock tested positive for both MG and MS. I'm pretty sick about it like you @altair ; I hadn't done breeding yet, but was planning to start in the spring. I just purchased some beautiful birds, and have decided to let them live their days rather than cull the whole flock. They're more of a hobby for me rather than a 'business', however I sure do enjoy starting pullets for friends and neighbors. After a good talk with the avian manager at Colo State, she confirmed that in a free range flock it's pretty hard to prevent. My vet is looking into a vaccine to possibly try on some babies I had just purchased; they're only a week old. It's supposed to prevent the vertical pass of the disease. Will see. They're in my basement at the moment, completely away from the other birds here. @Eggcessive thanks for your advice and the links provided as it was sure helpful last week. Hard choices, but I'd rather let my hens run free (we have a 10 acre home place on a very large ranch) and happy than cull, start over and confine them.
 

Eggcessive

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Sorry that you are dealing with MG and MS. So glad that you had seeked testing to confirm that. You may not see that many sick birds, but the other birds will test positive most likely. It is best to handle it the way you are, by closing your flock and considering vaccination, but not rehoming or selling birds for the life of the flock. MG and MS only remain alive on material or in the environment for about 3 days. So it is possible to wait a couple of weeks and start over with healthy birds. I will never buy from breeders or any source but a hatchery in the future.
 

shaw613

Songster
Oct 27, 2019
133
98
101
Northeast Colorado
Sorry that you are dealing with MG and MS. So glad that you had seeked testing to confirm that. You may not see that many sick birds, but the other birds will test positive most likely. It is best to handle it the way you are, by closing your flock and considering vaccination, but not rehoming or selling birds for the life of the flock. MG and MS only remain alive on material or in the environment for about 3 days. So it is possible to wait a couple of weeks and start over with healthy birds. I will never buy from breeders or any source but a hatchery in the future.
I'm not thinking this came from the new birds ... The breeder is npip and has very strict biosecurity. We had a wild turkey hen here at the place this spring and she was at the feeder most mornings. I'm suspicious because of timing that she brought it in and I didn't know they are carriers. There's always something new to learn and I sure wish I'd have removed her from the ranch right off.
 

ZephyrCoveFarms

Songster
May 25, 2020
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I just got word last night that my flock tested positive for both MG and MS. I'm pretty sick about it like you @altair ; I hadn't done breeding yet, but was planning to start in the spring. I just purchased some beautiful birds, and have decided to let them live their days rather than cull the whole flock. They're more of a hobby for me rather than a 'business', however I sure do enjoy starting pullets for friends and neighbors. After a good talk with the avian manager at Colo State, she confirmed that in a free range flock it's pretty hard to prevent. My vet is looking into a vaccine to possibly try on some babies I had just purchased; they're only a week old. It's supposed to prevent the vertical pass of the disease. Will see. They're in my basement at the moment, completely away from the other birds here. @Eggcessive thanks for your advice and the links provided as it was sure helpful last week. Hard choices, but I'd rather let my hens run free (we have a 10 acre home place on a very large ranch) and happy than cull, start over and confine them.
My vet never mentioned a vaccine when I asked. Where is yours getting it? I want to vaccinate my chicks before I introduce them to my current flock. I am sending trachea swabs in for testing next week.
 

shaw613

Songster
Oct 27, 2019
133
98
101
Northeast Colorado
My vet never mentioned a vaccine when I asked. Where is yours getting it? I want to vaccinate my chicks before I introduce them to my current flock. I am sending trachea swabs in for testing next week.

https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=AE64AD79-9B3F-49C8-8A0B-3675EA3EB0F8

This is what I ended up with. My vet tried to get a live virus, Ts-11, and we even spoke with Boeringer Ingleheim's poultry vet. No one had it in stock, so we went with this MB-Bac killed virus from Zoetis, same as @Eggcessive mentied above. It has mixed reviews, but I'm using it and will give a booster after 4 weeks. Good thing is it's kept in the fridge and has a good expire date so I won't waste too much. You'll need to get it shipped with cooler packs. Good luck!
 

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