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Need advice on complicated two flock situation: MG, predators, Oh my!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by geowoman, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. geowoman

    geowoman In the Brooder

    Feb 23, 2013
    Magnolia, TX
    Hi! I'll give a quick back story. We purchased 7 pullets from a breeder last winter. Two of them got sick immediately and were quarantined. I'm pretty sure they had/have MG, but by the time we figured all of this out (being new to chickens) my 3 and 5 yo daughters had fallen in love with these chickens like they had hatched them out of their own eggs. Everyone was given a round of Tylan and we decided to keep a closed flock and just deal with it. In the last year two have died of illness, two from predators and the last three are seemingly healthy and have never shown signs of being ill. They all free range.

    This past spring I may have possibly purchased a few fluffy chicks at the Tractor Supply. Oops. (they're just so cute!) I have been able to keep two separate flocks going for the last 6 months and it's been fine, albeit annoying. The younger chickens have never shown illness and have a nice coop and run but do not free range with the others. (obviously) We had not had any issues with predators at all, but recently the word must have gotten out in the raccoon/hawk/etc. population and it's been all out war on my coops. The old (sick?) chickens live in what we call the Chicken Fortress. It's the product of 6 weeks of work by my engineer husband. The younger (healthy) chickens live in a safe coop but the run needs serious work to keep out the likes of what's been attacking RIGHT at dusk (those mothers!).

    Question is. Do I marry the flocks, hope for the best (that the younger chickens don't pick up MG from the older chickens that may or may not be carrying it), and keep them all in the Fortress? Or do I reinforce the other run and continue to keep two flocks separate (annoying but probably safer for healthy chickens)? In addition, I have never really practiced good biosecurity with the "healthy" flock. They interact between the fence, I walk in and out of the coops without changing shoes, etc. So maybe healthy chickens already would have picked up MG if it were a problem?

    I'd LOVE to simplify and marry the two flocks. But I don't want to risk the health of the seemingly "healthy" bunch. Thoughts?

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep...sounds like they have been physically separated but not medically separated.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I agree with the above poster, when keeping them separate, but not changing clothes, or shoes or washing between, just walking back and forth between them, you have traded germs.

    And many disease are air born, and will float a good distance. I am not sure what your self diagnosis of MG is, but really if they are healthy looking now, I would not worry about it. If you were selling birds to other people, then I think that would not be a good idea, as that could spread a disease to other people's flocks.

    But if you are just keeping them at home for your own use, it is not that big of deal, if your birds are healthy now, put them together if there is enough space in the fort knox coup/run.

    I too, had predators this summer, unreal losses! ugh! I had a mean rooster, and when he had to go, the predators moved in. The only solution was for me to lock them up for weeks. I have two roosters now, one is shortly to be invited to dinner, and I will keep the other roo. I just don't have the set up to keep two roosters. But a year old, mature rooster, will greatly help with daytime predators. It is just getting a good rooster to that age that is the trick.

    Mrs K

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