Thank you for sharing your experience! And for the name drop. I may try to contact him before spring and ask him if he thinks it's worth testing now, or waiting until spring.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.
I meant small, NPIP certified breeders, not local backyard flock keepers (which is how I started my flock). I would hope small NPIP folks are held to the same standards as large hatcheries. I suppose this is another question of flock goals, as many people advise against birds from large hatcheries of the goal is good breeding or show stock. 85% chance isn't too terrible from the big guys, though.
I bet it was heartbreaking. My attachment to my birds is part of the reason I want to make sure I'm understanding this problem as fully as possible. My birds all have names, too, and some of them like to snuggle me and lay in the sun next to me in the warmer months. It would not be an easy thing to cull them. I am so, so sorry that you've had to experience it first hand.