NPIP is different; that's an eradication program that just comes and tests for thyphoid/pullorum. it's required (I believe it still is?) for any selling, showing, etc.
Testing in the context in which I used it was specifically for a disease causing organism. In other words, if you fear MG or you have a respiratory illness and you don't know what it is (and I can guarantee that with few exceptions we don't really know exactly what the disease is if it's respiratory) then you get the vet to do a culture of the exudate (gunk) from the bird. The culture is literally growing bacteria on a plate, then they grow the one that grows out on a plate that has antibiotic dots on it to see which antibiotic works.
They can also test to see if it's a virus (using antigen tests). that way you don't waste your time on antibiotics which don't work on viruses.
So really the only real way of telling what respiratory illness a bird has, if any, is testing. Otherwise we're just making educated guesses.
..... Forgot something.
Don't be afraid of the NPIP program. These diseases are way less common now because the NPIP program is an eradication program, a program of testing and culling that has helped to **almost** eliminate these diseases from being a problem. The very fact that there is a testing program is why we can breathe easier about those two disease. One thing I would advise: Ask your tester to park OFF of your property. Do not let their car (which has been on properties with other poultry) onto your property. Always make sure they wear a fresh lab coat, shoe covers, and gloves. If they don't, politely refuse to have them come onto your property that day. better yet, when you talk to them on the phone to schedule appointment, make sure they know to bring those things for when they come to your place. This is for the purpose of biosecurity. You not only want to enforce biosecurity strongly at your place, you want to make sure they know it!
It also helps, before they come, to have an antiseptic shoe bath at the front of your premises and signage that asks people to please not enter your property without checking with you first.
We had a big scare with poultry and illnesses a few years ago. Your tester will remember who does and who doesn't makes sure EVERYone, including them, adheres to strict rules of biosecurity! This will always benefit you and your flock.
So - I was terrified the first time they came. I had no problems at all. They'll test existing birds once, new birds yearly, turkeys yearly. Waterfowl never.
One year, I actually refused to let a tester onto my place because he wouldn't do it when I was there. I explained that I refused to not be there because I am very strict about biosecurity. He insisted, and so I took off of work. He ended up being a real jerk about it, didn't show up because he supposedly fell in someone's pond and had to change. He said he'd be there AFTER I was gone again back to work. I told him I would not allow him on my property, then called his boss. He ended up losing his job. The BOSSES take biosecurity very seriously. if you get a "bad egg" that doesn't. you make darn good and sure that you change that bad habit of his. You can say 'no' to them - NPIP testing is voluntary unless you sell or show.
Thanks for the info. I am going to try to calm down about all this and wait on the cultures. I freaked out because this would not only affect me. I LOVE all of my birds......I just want to be a good mamma!!!
Thank you all for you support!!!
I wanted to lend my support to Phlyinphebee. I am the "friend" she spoke of in her post. We are all new to chickens and have tried to buy from reputable, long time chicken keepers. We were not up on all the catostrophic illnesses that chicken flocks can get. Rene went immediately to a vet ( a 15 year friend of hers) and got info, learned how to give antibiotic shots and was prepared to do whatever necessary to help her birds and keep the rest of us informed so we could address any spread, if the cultures even prove it to be MG. It is so hard to wait for results. The vets in our area do not treat chickens tho they are helping her and referred her to the state vet for our area.
I am hatching three sets of eggs now from BYC breeders. I researched the feedback on these folks and followed threads and when I was comfortable that they were serious chicken keepers, I bought the eggs. Whatever my hatch turns out to be, I will isolate the chicks until we are certain all is safe.
We are all scared and upset because our super fun chicken adventure has taken a wrong turn. All the help here is invaluable and the support is great. You can be sure we have poured over threads on all things chicken since we joined BYC. We are studying diligently but experience will be the best teacher I'm sure. We will resolve this problem and just pray that it will just be a scare that teaches us to be VERY CAREFUL with our chickens.
Hang in there Rene, this too shall pass and we will be much better chicken keepers from this stressful lesson.
To me it sounds like you're both doing wonderfully. You're the type of fanciers that the hobby needs more of! So I hope you stick with it.
All of this sounds really scary at first. Believe it or not, it's not so bad. Birds are delicate creatures yes - but they can also surprise you with their resilience.
This is just the honey-moon period wearing off.
You'll get the feel of things, learn that most scares are just scares, and that there's so much joy and goodness to be found in raising a flock of these silly creatures that it outweights the scarier times.
I'm a big sop when it comes to chickens. I cry over them, I have nightmares about losing them, I name them and could never ever eat them. Heck - I feel guilty for taking their eggs, though now I consider it their gift to me back for loving them so much.
If I can do it, me the big mushy hearted one, you two can. Thank heavens you have each other as friends to go through this with! That's really neat.
Now you have us, too!
Now - you need to tell us about those birds and what you are hoping to raise. If you lose some, you CAN start over. And the new birds will be a joy and healthier for all of your experiences. Good news is that you have a lot of prayers and good vibes coming your way from those of us on the board.
Focus on positive outcomes! Stay focused, and just have a game plan that you can put on the backburner for the bad.
Thanks Threehorses. Your post is very reassuring. Rene has a variety of pretty chickens that she just enjoys watching and gives eggs to friends. I am headed for max egg laying as I looove going and collecting all those pretty eggs. I have RIR, Barred Rocks, Red sex links, light brahmas, and a few cuties for my grandchildren... a silkie, 2 frizzles and some EE's. I want to have enough fresh eggs for all my family to enjoy. My 9 year old grandson has fallen in love with the chickens and calls them "his girls". He will join 4H this year and we are hatching what we hope will be SQ blue cochin bantams for him to journal their hatch and then grow them to have fun with in 4H. He has loved showing his miniature horse Demitasse and now can't wait to show his chickens. He has a magical connection to animals and the chickens have fallen in love with him. He spends hours in our hot Louisiana summer giving them treats and just playing with them
WE all spend time watching "chicken TV" as we call it when we sit in the shade and watch our funny little chicken community go about it's day. Who would have thought chickens could be so much fun.