Mixing hatchery chicks with "home grown"

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chickie seal, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. chickie seal

    chickie seal Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 19, 2010
    Baton Rouge
    I purchased three 12 week old pullets from a feed store where they were raised from 1 day olds. Presumably they were inoculated with whatever they give chicks before shipping. I want to add 2 more 9 week old pullets from someone who hatched and raised his own. Should I worry about mixing these young ones? What about that inoculation?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Vaccinations cost money. I’d assume they were not vaccinated for anything. You can always ask at the feed store but I’d bet a lot of your money and a little bit of mine they have not been vaccinated for anything.

    The issue with adding outside chickens is that they could be carrying a disease. I did not just say they will absolutely without a shadow of a doubt be carrying a disease, just that they might. It may even be yours that have the disease.

    Chicken flocks can have flock immunities. They are exposed to something like Coccidiosis at an early age and develop an immunity to it. They never show any symptoms but they can give it to other birds that don’t have that immunity.

    A lot of people go to chicken swaps, get birds, and just mix them right in without a problem. Sometimes the problem is something like mites, lice, or worms that are pretty easy to handle. But occasionally someone brings in a disease that not only wipes out their flock but infects the ground so it may be years before they can safely keep chickens again.

    A common method to guard against this is quarantine. These diseases can be spread many different ways, from them eating each other’s poop, sharing drinking dishes, or just spread by floating on the air. In quarantine you separate the newcomers for about 30 days and observe them. It’s also a good time to worm or treat for lice and mites. The idea is that if they have a disease they will show symptoms before you mix them with your flock. A proper quarantine keeps them far enough away so they cannot infect the other birds. Also, you need to use different feed and water containers to carry feed and water and having one specific pair of shoes for each area is not a bad idea. This should expose anything they have been exposed to in the last few weeks plus the stress of moving may cause then to come down with something their immune system had been able to fight off.

    This does not offer perfect protection if they have something and are immune to it though. That’s the weakness in this system, though this system is widely used. It really helps. Something in addition you can do is to pick a potentially sacrificial bird from your current flock and put it in quarantine with the new birds. That way if either flock has an immunity and the other does not, it should be exposed.

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