Mycoplasma and management - Advice, experience please!

gmjarvi

Songster
Feb 11, 2020
693
3,536
183
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
From what I’ve gathered and read about Michigan State University on poultry diseases MG/MS ARE reportable diseases in the state as you’re putting native species in danger as well as spreading the disease to other flocks. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdard/Reportable_Disease_List_668347_7.pdf

I honestly dislike the ignorant people who claim that they’ve “cured” their birds of these diseases or don’t believe that they’re as serious as they are. Honestly, they are the reason these diseases continue to spread. I try to teach others the truth about MG, MS, ILTV, IC, IBV, NDV, AIV and even FC, but they never believe me and ignorantly put others birds in danger.
From my devastation and experience, if I ever have a bird express ANY sort of respiratory symptoms, it’ll unfortunately have to be culled. I’ll never buy from locals again and only stick with reputable hatcheries. I will from now on, have strict farm biosecurity and won’t allow ANYONE to just come over and visit my flocks.
Thank you for your clarification! For some reason I've not been able to find that MG/MS are reportable diseases in MI. I have been looking, but apparently in the wrong places. This is useful information that I'm grateful to have.

It may bear clarification that I understand these are /chronic/ diseases, meaning that they are not curable even with treatment. Asymptomatic is not the same thing as cured, which is why I specifically stated asymptomatic. I'm not sure anybody anywhere on this thread claimed they had cured MG/MS. You may just be speaking from personal outside experience, but I thought that maybe needed some clarification.

I also don't allow anybody and everybody on my farm to ogle at my egg laying flock, especially nowadays when I dont even let people in my home due to COVID. I had been allowing my /nieces/ to interact with my flock, who havent been over since the summer months. Why were they allowed to interact with the flock? MG/MS hadn't crossed my mind yet, to be honest. It bears noting that their chickens came to them as rescues from an egg production facility and were already ill when they received them, which was roughly the same time that I started my flock. I'd mostly be worried about them spreading disease to my flock once it's a clean flock(if MG/MS are reportable in MI as you've helpfully pointed out, then my decision may be made for me! I intended to test already, but wasn't sure what to do once results were received). Whether or not it's a reportable disease may have no impact on their flock management decisions, and that's beyond my control so I'm not prepared to spend energy being mad about it. I'll have to figure out a way to keep kids from contaminating the clean flock while also teaching them about communicable diseases :idunno . Maybe I'll need to buy coop clothes and boots for them to wear and keep at Auntie's house. Sharing my chickens with them is part of the joy of keeping chickens.

After you cull a symptomatic bird, do you have a necropsy done? Or test the whole flock? From my understanding not all birds are symptomatic, so MG/MS absolutely can be present in a flock without symptoms. I don't believe a bird has to be symptomatic to spread the bacteria.
Or is this a hypothetical situation? If so, what would be your course of action? In my mind, if these diseases are as serious and rampant as claimed, testing one bird and getting a negative test result would not be enough to guarantee MG/MS status, and one symptomatic bird would require me to test all or a mathematically significant portion of the flock. Culling one symptomatic bird would not be enough as they could have spread it to others that are not yet symptomatic. Hopefully with your biosecurity protocol you'll never need to deal with it, but I'm interested in hearing what your plan of action is. I think the "oh sh*t" plan is probably just as important as the prevention plan.

Thanks for your input!
 

gmjarvi

Songster
Feb 11, 2020
693
3,536
183
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
I’ll never buy from locals again and only stick with reputable hatcheries.
oh! Can you also explain/share your experience in guaranteeing that hatcheries are MG/MS, etc. free? I have read conflicting reports on this topic, making it hard to sus out the truth.

I understand chicken breeders regardless of scale have to be NPIP certified to distribute poultry across state lines, but it also seems that NPIP certification requirements differ from state to state. Do you straight out ask them how healthy their breeding flocks are and what their protocol is? I have a hard time believing large facilities are as clean as they claim they are, and I'd hazard a guess that smaller NPIP breeders may be more reliable and also more transparent as they have maybe hundreds vs thousands of birds to manage. I'm honestly less inclined to purchase from large hatcheries if I'm going to be concerned about biosecurity because the seeds of doubt have been sown into my head! Smaller NPIP certified operations seem a safer bet with proper quarantine protocol?
 

gmjarvi

Songster
Feb 11, 2020
693
3,536
183
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
My understanding is that it is virtually impossible to keep a free range flock free of mycoplasma. Does anybody do 4H (or shows) or breed their birds and also free range? Is your flock mycoplasma free? What are your biosecurity measures? Realistically, is it even possible to have biosecurity measures for a free range flock?
Would it be enough for them to have their own clothes and barn shoes here, and to wash their hands before and after handling birds? I've read that humans can carry MG in their noses?!
ow realistic is it to keep a flock mycoplasma free?
This is a polarizing topic in poultry that tends to get emotional. I'd just like to post a reminder of my original questions. I'm seeing some assumptions and generalizations being made about flock owners, and that's not why I'm here. Judging other flock owners doesn't help or answer my questions. I'm looking for your experiences, advice, and recommendations.

I'd like also to remind everyone that if I weren't concerned about CRDs in chickens, I certainly wouldn't be exploring this topic in depth. I think it's important to explore all of the possibilities in order to be as informed as possible.
 

gmjarvi

Songster
Feb 11, 2020
693
3,536
183
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
@Nendei when your birds had symptoms for ILTV, did you confirm with necropsy after culling? Also, I'm really sorry you had to experience that! It must have been devastating. I realize above i forgot that you were the same poster that had experience with this particular disease.
 

jwehl

Crowing
Nov 3, 2020
3,784
11,590
383
Atlanta GA
I think having a set of chicken clothes and boots for your nieces would be a great plan for biosecurity. I have heard MG/MS can travel on your person, but I'd have to verify that. You could go one step further and have them shower after they get to your house if you are concerned about that. Is it possible to create a biosecurity plan that you both follow for your individual flocks? That way if both flocks were MS/MG free and both flocks were taking the same biosecurity precautions, you and your nieces could travel freely between flocks. (Like if both households were seeing nobody else during Covid and following the same standards of protection, yall could safely see each other)
 

gmjarvi

Songster
Feb 11, 2020
693
3,536
183
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
I think having a set of chicken clothes and boots for your nieces would be a great plan for biosecurity. I have heard MG/MS can travel on your person, but I'd have to verify that. You could go one step further and have them shower after they get to your house if you are concerned about that. Is it possible to create a biosecurity plan that you both follow for your individual flocks? That way if both flocks were MS/MG free and both flocks were taking the same biosecurity precautions, you and your nieces could travel freely between flocks. (Like if both households were seeing nobody else during Covid and following the same standards of protection, yall could safely see each other)
I think I will have to strike a balance somehow because I can see their parents rolling their eyes at me if I tell them their kids need to shower when they get to my house 😂. I have heard that MG/MS can travel on your person, too, and even in your nose! So it could be spread by droplets, i would assume, even if it doesnt infect people. This is one of the reasons I'm wondering how realistic an MG/MS free flock truly is.

I think this may be a good learning opportunity for the girls and their parents, though, and I like the idea of having the same protocol so we can travel freely between flocks when we are free to visit again without COVID concerns. I kind of think that starting with a fresh flock will be a hard sell for their parents, though. No eggs for 6 months! Even though a healthy flock will lay better anyway...
 

jwehl

Crowing
Nov 3, 2020
3,784
11,590
383
Atlanta GA
I think I will have to strike a balance somehow because I can see their parents rolling their eyes at me if I tell them their kids need to shower when they get to my house 😂. I have heard that MG/MS can travel on your person, too, and even in your nose! So it could be spread by droplets, i would assume, even if it doesnt infect people. This is one of the reasons I'm wondering how realistic an MG/MS free flock truly is.

I think this may be a good learning opportunity for the girls and their parents, though, and I like the idea of having the same protocol so we can travel freely between flocks when we are free to visit again without COVID concerns. I kind of think that starting with a fresh flock will be a hard sell for their parents, though. No eggs for 6 months! Even though a healthy flock will lay better anyway...
Technically you could not have birds for 3 weeks (I think that's the length of time it can survive outside a bird), raise chicks to egg laying age, cull your nieces flock, wait three weeks and give them your pullets, and then they'd just be 3 weeks without eggs :p
 

gmjarvi

Songster
Feb 11, 2020
693
3,536
183
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Technically you could not have birds for 3 weeks (I think that's the length of time it can survive outside a bird), raise chicks to egg laying age, cull your nieces flock, wait three weeks and give them your pullets, and then they'd just be 3 weeks without eggs :p
That's not a bad solution, actually. And something their parents would be more open to than if I asked them to go 6 months without their egg flock 😅
 

Nendei

Chirping
May 30, 2020
240
219
91
@Nendei when your birds had symptoms for ILTV, did you confirm with necropsy after culling? Also, I'm really sorry you had to experience that! It must have been devastating. I realize above i forgot that you were the same poster that had experience with this particular disease.
No, I didn’t cull, they died themselves, so I sent them off for a necropsy to MSU. They called and sent in papers diagnosing that my flock had ILTV, MG and MS. If I ever get symptomatic birds again with respiratory, they will be culled and sent off for another necropsy. Dr. Mick Fulton at MSU is very knowledgeable and will help you.

As for not buying from locals and instead from hatcheries, it’s about 85% certain that you’re not getting sick birds compared to locals who just sell for money where you have a 50% chance of healthy birds. I don’t think hatcheries are allowed to sell chicks from a sick flock. Almost all or most hatcheries keep their flocks indoors and practice strict biosecurity to prevent outside diseases.

I probably have or have not said this, but I loved my birds, every. Single. One. When we had to cull, it broke me and my family’s hearts to do it. My birds had names and all different personalities, they weren’t just animals, but our pets that we loved dearly. I personally will never want to make my birds suffer with a chronic disease that makes them more susceptible to other diseases or issues.
 

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