Need Advice - living near commercial poultry barns

elizabethb

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 29, 2014
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I've been trying to learn as much as I can about how to keep my chickens healthy. I've had chickens before, but always in dry, warm climates...and away from other chickens. One thing I have noticed in reading around is that lots of poultry diseases are airborne. We just moved to an area where there's a number of commercial poultry barns and as luck would have it, the place we found is next door to two large poultry barns. Should i be concerned about the possible diseases that my birds will catch from the commercial broilers? If there's a high likelihood that my chickens are going to contract something from the neighbours, then i'm inclined to think that it's fruitless to add more chickens. I would be better off to wait until we move again, which won't be for another year or two. Is there anything I can do to help prevent them from picking up some contagious disease like Mareks?

TIA
 

ChickenCanoe

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I would say it's a big concern.
You can vaccinate day olds for Marek's or breed for resistance.
Commercial farm biosecurity levels are low medium and high. To be within 1 km. of another farm is considered low biosecurity, 5 km, is considered medium, 10 km. is considered high.

A 5 km. barrier between farms will reduce cross infection by 50%.

Know that a large broiler operation is vaccinating for as many as 10 things and there's a good chance they are giving antibiotics as a matter of course.
 
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seminolewind

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Yes, being that close I would be at least add to your flock with day old hatchery chicks that had a few vaccinations they offer, especially Marek's, and quarantine the chicks for 3 weeks or longer.

If in fact you lose a chicken and don't know why, you could send it for a necropsy for the benefit of your flock.
 

elizabethb

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 29, 2014
6
0
45
Would you consider it a high likelihood that my current flock is going to catch something?
 

seminolewind

Flock Mistress
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I don't think there's any way to tell what the chances are , Only like if the barns were 10 miles away vs. 2 miles away. On a scale, the most common way of getting Marek's is bird to bird. The least common are wind, wild birds, bugs, and using chicken shoes to go to the feedstore. But this is only most likely and least likely.
 

Eggcessive

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Apr 3, 2011
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Actually, I think the nearby commercial poultry operations will be more concerned that your chickens may bring in disease to theirs. People who work in commercial poultry operations are usually not allowed to own their own chickens at home due to the risk of bringing in diseases from backyard chickens. Most commercial outfits have an all in, all out operation to lessen the chances of disease spread to multiple age groups. Backyard flock owners will try to medicate their sick birds whether than cull sick birds, and that can be dangerous to commercial people. I have read instances of where BYC people were asked to get rid of their flocks by local big poultry farms. In reality, diseases such as MG and coryza don't really travel that far in the air, but infectious bronchitis and Mareks may travel farther with wind and wild birds. I would do some research about how the common diseases are spread, and try to find out how to prevent your chickens from getting sick. I'm just wondering, do the commercial poultry trucks drive near your farm, say on the way to a processor? That could be a slight risk, I think.
 

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