New chickens inspection and quarantine

Hollywood Chickens

Songster
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
1,664
13
161
Florida
Hi,
I am getting 6 new chickens and I have been reading up on the quarantine methods. I have decided to carefully inspect the birds, and then let them free range with mine and then sleep them separate.
But in the inspection what should I look for?? I have only had one sick chicken and I still do not know what she was really sick from.
 

Hollywood Chickens

Songster
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
1,664
13
161
Florida
frow.gif
 

SundownWaterfowl

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 16, 2008
9,764
78
293
Southern Columbia County NY
If you are going to quarantine, you cant have them anywhere near your birds. Letting them freerange with your birds, can get your birds sick if these new birds carry some disease. I quarantine for a minimum of 30 days. During that time I treat them for mice and lice, just incase, and worm them. Also, take care of your old birds first, then move on to your new birds.
 

Hollywood Chickens

Songster
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
1,664
13
161
Florida
one member said in a different thread "if you are not going to cull a bird then there is no point in quarantining" it is against my religion to "cull" an animal, if I see anything I will try to treat it.
 

MuranoFarms

Songster
10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
2,335
28
246
Boyers, Pa
Quote:
Well that seems rather silly! You wouldn't cull a bird with scaly leg mites, but you would want to quarantine so it doesn't spread to the original flock.

You can look over the new guys as close as possible, but still miss if they have worms or something else internal. The quarantine period is to give those 'issues' time to surface so you can deal with them without spreading to the original flock. If you're going to let them free range together right away, you might as well let them roost together at night too. If there's anything contagious, they'll spread it to the original flock if they free range together. Your best bet is to set aside their own space for a few weeks...sleeping and free range (fenced run style).

Good luck!
 

Hollywood Chickens

Songster
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
1,664
13
161
Florida
Ok, I am going to fence them of for as long as they will stay or 4 weeks, and sleep them in a separate area, but what disease should I look for???
 

MuranoFarms

Songster
10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
2,335
28
246
Boyers, Pa
Quote:
Ok...I typo all the time......but when I read "treat them for mice" I just about spit my coffee out!
lau.gif
Reminds me of that picture of the cat with the baby mice on his head. lol


Sundown is right...mites, lice and worms. Then watch very closely for any signs of other problems. You want them to get used to you, so you'll want to spend time just hanging out by them and observing. Oh...and ALWAYS visit the old flock first, then the new guys, then wash up! You can transfer anything contagious to your old flock from the new....so you want to feed the old first, then new. Clean old first, then new. Everything you take out of the new pen needs cleaned. I use the bleach solution method. Better to be safe then sorry.
 
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patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
336
341
Ontario, Canada
Honestly if you are not familiar enough with the detailed appearance of HEALTHY chickens and with seeing the most common problems (mites, lice, scaly leg mites, respiratory problems), then it is quite the gamble buying started or grown ones, as there is a very high chance you will miss signs and end up incorporating sick birds to your flock. We hear that sort of story SO SO often on BYC, I just feel like I have to point it out.

That said, a basic health examination for a chicken would involve the following:

-- look closely at eyes, nostrils and rest of face for any (meaning, ANY AT ALL) sign of discharge, crustiness, drippiness, bubbles, or puffiness. Also listen for any sneezing, wheezing or little "snick" as they breathe. If a bird looks suspicious at this stage of the examination, IMHO the smartest thing would be for you to say thanks-but-no-thanks and walk away altogether. (oh, and make sure the pupils of the eyes both look correct, not grey or misshapen or cloudy)

-- if no obvious signs of anything respiratory, look at the other end of the chicken. While there are some harmless reasons for diarrhea and poo stuck to the feathers around the vent, there are some definitely NONharmless (and in some cases incurable) things that can cause it too, so you would want the vent feathers clean and the vent itself to look pink and intact and 'happy'. If the hen is supposed to be laying, it should be large and darker-pink and a bit sort of floppy looking; it will be smaller and paler and tighter in a nonlaying hen or young pullet. Also notice whether there are any signs of mites running away on the skin as you raise the tail to inspect the vent (see below for mite description)

-- look at the legs for any enlargement or bulging of the scales. A real bad case of scaly leg mites makes hte legs look almost like tree trunks; a mild case may have only a few areas with raised rough scales. Scaly leg mites are definitely treatable but also definitely contagious and aggravating if they get into your flock so you really, really want to KNOW about them even if you still buy the bird.

-- look at the feet, including footpads, for any swellings or enlargements or 'boils', suggesting bumblefoot (a sometimes-hard-to-fix infection).

-- now look for mites and lice on the body and feathers. Both are tiny (like, pinhead-sized) - mites are darkish and extremely quick-moving, whereas lice are pale and slow. They will be on the skin and/or on the fluffy parts of the feathers near the skin. Lice are not challenging to see as long as you have good vision, but mites are FAST, scary fast; you have to part the feathers (with a hand or by a puff of breath) and look IMMEDIATELY for things scurrying away. Look all over the chicken, but especially on the neck, under the wings, around the vent, and the top base of the tail. Also inspect your hands after you have been touching the chicken as sometimes you will notice mites that way, after they've gotten onto *you*.

Passing the above health checks is *by no means* any guarantee the chicken doesn't have something wrong, potentially something contagious, but at least you will filter out a lot of obviously-sick birds that way.

(edited to add: it would be a real good idea to get in the habit of performing the above health-check on your existing flock, too. You can do it by headlamp at night when they;re on the roost, if they cannot be caught, although daylight is better for seeing things.)

(edited to also add: mites and lice are treated with a poultry dusting powder, you just have to make real sure it gets EVERYWHERE on the chickens [except in their eyes/lungs] and to repeat at the interval that it says on the canister)

Good luck, have fun, be cautious,

Pat
 
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speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 3, 2007
79,156
13,598
1,236
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
I believe you were quoting me above so I will comment here. Quarantine is not going to fix anything that has made the new bird a carrier so if your new bird is quarantined for awhile, then you see that it comes down with symptoms of something like Coryza or Mycoplasma, if you are then just going to put it in your flock after treating (remember, viruses cannot be treated--antibiotics will not touch a virus), then there really is no point in quarantining. A carrier bird will always be a Typhoid Mary. Many chicken diseases are herpes type viruses. You need to understand that completely, no matter what you decide to do. Not telling you what to do, but the very purpose of quarantine is to keep disease out of your flock. Can't do that by adding carrier birds and you can't ethically sell them, either.
Pat has explained what to look for very well.
 

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