New hen, but same source--quarantine?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by watchix, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. watchix

    watchix Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2016
    I'm debating whether to add a new hen to my flock, but I wonder if I can cut down on the quarantine a bit. I added 4 pullets to my existing flock back in August, and this new hen would be from the same breeder/farm. Would that mean that my flock is already exposed to most of the microbes/bacteria carried by the new girl?

    I'm growing out new chicks and with the temps dropping, I'd really rather not have 3 separated groups for too long. Thanks so much for your advice!
  2. chickluvinfreak

    chickluvinfreak Chillin' With My Peeps

    You are right that your flock probably has already been exposed to the same microbes and bacteria. But it is still a good idea to quarantine so you can watch your new hen for any diseases such as a respiratory illness, fowl pox, mites, exc. And some illnesses can take a few weeks to manafest. It would really suck if you put her into the flock and a week later she had everyone sick.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Are your existing flock and the 4 new pullets still separated?

    Adding a single bird can be tricky.

    Adding new birds without quarantine is a risk you'll have to assess for yourself,
    probably lower risk coming from same place but no guarantees.

    You might want to hold adding 1 bird really worth the risk and juggling you'd have to do with temps dropping? Being your first year, you might want to get thru the winter while planning for additions next spring.
    1 person likes this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi. [​IMG]

    I would quarantine personally. They could have added new birds to their flock. Or stuff just happens, a wild animal could have tracked something across their yard. [​IMG]

    Plus on top of that she needs a little time to adjust to the stuff in your soil, I would think. Plus my property has different issues different times of year. During summer, no cocci. Spring is another story though.

    Why do you want to add ONE more pullet?

    Best wishes!
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree it is a personal decision. Quarantine is a great tool when used correctly but let’s look at what quarantine accomplishes.

    Flocks, herds, or packs (any group of social animals) can develop flock immunities to certain diseases and parasites. With chickens Coccidiosis is a good example but there are others, some of them a lot more serious than Coccidiosis. The animals can be carriers and infect others but won’t show symptoms. You can quarantine these animals all you want and not be able to tell if they carry the disease. As with everything there is an exception to that general statement, on occasion with certain diseases the stress of relocating can weaken them enough so they will show symptoms, but that is pretty rare. What quarantine is really looking at is diseases that the animal has recently been exposed to. It’s extremely valuable for chickens coming from chicken swaps where they have been exposed to a lot of new chickens or say cattle from an auction barn. If they are coming from a closed flock or herd that has not been exposed to new animals quarantine is unlikely to show anything. Does that breeder take chickens to chicken shows where they are exposed to lots of other new chickens or bring in other adults? Or do they have a closed flock where they are not exposed to other chickens?

    One way to check for these “hidden” risks is to select a potentially sacrificial chicken from your flock and house it with the new chicken for a month. If one of them gets sick there is a pretty good chance flock immunities are involved. It could be your flock infecting the new chicken.

    The more isolated the new chicken is the more effective the quarantine. Diseases can be spread by sharing food, eating each other’s poop, sharing drinking water, or by air. Marek’s can carry a long way on the air. An effective quarantine means housing them for enough apart that they never breathe the same air. You need to change clothes (at least shoes) when you go from one to another, and use different feed so you don’t track or carry diseases from one to another. The better your separation the better your quarantine. Just doing part of this has some benefit.

    If your chicken is coming from a closed flock and that breeder would recognize a disease if they saw it, the chicken has essentially been through quarantine. The most likely things the new chicken would bring in anything if they do at all is something like mites or lice, maybe worms, from some wild critter but the same is true for your flock. If the breeder is any good they should know if their flock has those and if they have integrity they should be willing to tell you. These are treatable and are generally nuisances, not life threatening if you treat them, but they are a nuisance. Yes, it is possible they could have some devastating disease that could wipe out your flock, you are dealing with living animals, anything can happen, but the odds of that are in my opinion really low. I would not worry about that at all, especially since you already have some chickens from that breeder.

    If that breeder does not keep a closed flock then all this changes and the risks go way up.

    As I said, a personal decision. I certainly cannot make that for you. Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  6. watchix

    watchix Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2016
    Thank you all so much for the advice! It's really helpful. Because I also have chicks that I hatched and am slowly hardening off to go into a grow-out pen, I think it will be too much work to keep everyone apart for now. The addiction is real! It's so hard to say no to new birds, but I need to do it right.

    Thanks again!
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    A lot of depends on the whole set up. If you can't quarantine properly, you may as well not quarantine at all. For the most part, healthy looks healthy. A lot of people on here pretend to quarantine. It is quite labor intensive and it takes discipline and a great deal of space. You really need to change clothes, use separate feed and water. The birds need to be separated by 300 feet. Most of us in a back yard situation, can't set that up.

    My point is, it depends on what you are risking. If you loose the flock, and you have lost 100 head, that is a financial loss. If it is a couple of head, not so much. If you suffer an emotional decline over the loss of your birds, then you ought not to risk bringing in new birds. A lot of people just add fresh chicks so that they don't risk brining in a disease.

    It is a real risk adding birds to a flock. However, if you have seen the set up, seen the flock, and they are all looking healthy, while it is not 100%, it is probably going to be fine. Now, if you are getting totally unknown birds through a swap, that have been to an auction and exposed to who knows what, that makes my blood run cold.

    It is up to you, but many of us have added with no problem. DO NOT ADD ANY BIRD you feel sorry for! That is a train wreck.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    @Mrs. K I didn't realize 300 feet, that's quite some distance. It's true I haven't quarantined birds yet as it is a learning curve and like you say, quite labor intensive. And with the detail you describe is probably something I won't achieve, changing clothes and such.

    And a valid point about the size of flock you might be risking or value thereof, including your own well being. [​IMG]
  9. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    x2 with Mrs.K.

    Unless you quarantine properly, it can be useless. Infectious Bronchitis travels in the air for quite a distance.

    I didn't know that when I quarantined 2 birds of a coveted breed from a reputable breeder who never exchanged at swaps as she didn't want to risk her birds. Her carefully monitored birds brought in IB to my flock.

    I lost 2 and had weeks of poor egg production.

    I've moved my quarantine to the opposite side of my property and behind a fence so that air flow is much restricted.

    I have a quarantine coat and quarantine shoes, and a complete set up of food and water with separate spigot for quarantine.

    It is a pain.

    I finally decided it is simply best to hatch my own and bring in chicks than pullets.

  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    I don't know why, but today you make it sound easier to accomplish, and now I think I can! [​IMG]

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