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One biosecurity question and one age question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by roz, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. roz

    roz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2010
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    I got 27 day old chicks last Sunday, we have 5 more coming at the end of the month. My first question concerns health. We have a flock of 7 hens outside now. They will be in a separate coop and run than the chicks will be in, but is there something special I need to be doing to transition them outside in tems of biosecurity? Will they get sick from my older flock because the chicks will be introduced to their germs( for lack of a better word)? I did lose 3 hens last year...one unknown cause, one Polish Created to blood sucking lice (it's been a huge learning curve), and one that had roundworms, recovered (or so we thought) after treatment, was never "right" after that and finally passed away a few months later.
    My other question is about the 5 baby chicks coming later this month. They should be roughly 17 days younger than the ones we have here, and at the time when I ordered them it didn't seem like a big difference, but this being my first time with chicks (our other flock was already grown when we got them), I now realize how quickly they grow! I want the two baby chick batches to live together, but do I need to worry about putting the day olds with the older chicks, and if I can put them in with the older ones, how do I manage the different heat requirements?
    We only plan to keep 10-12 of the 32 baby chicks ( we had a hard time coordinating the different breeds we wanted, thus the two delivery dates) too. Not sure if that matters. I may be trying to rehome 14 of them this weekend before we even get the other baby chicks.
    Thanks for any advice you have.
    Not sure I'd breed info is necessary for my second question, but we have Salmon Faverolles, Blue and Buff Cochins, W.C. black Polish, and Ameracanas. The 5 coming at the end of the month are 2 Blue Splash Marans, and 3 "assorted" Marans. I tried to go for the docile breeds. mcMurray did throw in what I believe is a Blue Andalusian which is flighty...we have a hamburg outside and were not looking for another flighty chicken.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    You don’t ask easy questions. I hope you understand that. :oops:

    Some people will tell you that they put chicks with that age difference together and had no problems at all. Others will tell you they tried and the younger chicks got killed. They are all telling you the truth. You really don’t know what will happen when you try.

    I don’t know what your brooder looks like or how big it is. If I were to try something like that, I’d try to split the brooder with wire, giving both sides access to the heat. House them side by side for about a week then remove the divider. This does two things. It lets them get used to each other without letting the bigger ones kill the younger ones. It also lets the young ones age a bit so they are more active and better able to get away from the older ones. It’s a pecking order thing. The older ones will rank higher than the younger ones. If a young one gets too close, the older might (or night not) peck the younger one to remind it of its place in society. If the younger one runs away then all is well in the brooder. But if the younger one does not run away, it is a challenge to the pecking order. So the brooder needs to be big enough for the younger to leave the immediate area and the younger one needs to be active enough to run. It is possible the chick will get cornered against the wall or in a corner and it is possible the older will chase it anyway, but many people are able to integrate chicks with this age difference.

    The health question. The chicks are going to be exposed to anything the older ones have at some point. That is possible diseases or parasites and it is also possible probiotics. With your history, it is possible the older ones will give the chicks something fatal. There is no easy answer. If you know a specific disease your flock has, it would help to decide what to do. Older chickens are more resistant to certain diseases than chicks, but for some things, the chicks can develop immunities to whatever the flock has much better if they are baby chicks. Coccidiosis is an example of this. I purposely take dirt from the run that has fresh adult droppings in it to expose the chicks to whatever the adults have to give them a better chance of developing these immunities. I can’t say that is the best thing for you to do because I don’t know what diseases, if any, your flock may have. It’s just my approach.

    Probably not a lot of help. I can’t give you any guarantees for sure. Good luck!!!
     
  3. roz

    roz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh boy. I read about people having multiple flocks or multi age flocks all the time. How do they do this without hurting the chicks healthwise? I have 2 separate coops set up, and I've been tending to my older chickens while taking care of the babies as well. While I do wash my hands after handling the older girls outside, I'm guessing I am still carrying their germs on me, right? If, knock on wood, the chicks are thriving right now, shouldn't that mean they can share yard space and not get sick? Ugh! Now I'm nervous. I was hoping for a different answer, but I guess there is never an easy button. Ridge runner, you said you bring dirt in for your chicks, so I'm guessing you have or have had more than one flock at a time? Have you ever lost a chick or hen to disease?
    As for the chicks, my brooder is a 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 old square play pen. I am planning to rehome 13 of the current chicks, and I can definitely put a divider in, but what temp would I set it at since the plunger ones will need a higher temp?
    Thanks for your help.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    I've lost chicks but not because of that and never to a disease. I think mine get better immunity because they are exposed early, just like if a broody hen were raising them. They are someday going to be exposed anyway when you integrate them. I don't see where you are helping them at all by waiting to expose them.

    The temperature problem is really simple. Heat one area of the brooder and let the rest cool off as it will. They will play all over the brooder and come back to the heat as they need to. I have a 3' x 6' brooder in the coop and only heat one area. The rest cools off to ambient, whatever that is. Last Fall at night that was down in the 40's occasionally. But they always had a warm spot they could go to. They will find their own comfort zone.
     
  5. roz

    roz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So at a week old, do you think it is ok to bring in a little dirt from the run that the chickens are in outside? I didn't do it when they first arrived so will this be shocking them? How much should I bring in? I'm a nervous wreck now.
     
  6. ROCKIN R FARM

    ROCKIN R FARM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rhome, Texas
    I am doing the same thing right now. This is how I do mine.
    I have 2 month old White Ameracauna's that will be going to a grow out pen that is in the barn and the run is outside. I have 1 month olds that are in a cage right now and 3 silkies that are about 3 months guessing sense we bought them. I will take my silkies and put them where my Wht EE's where and sense that side of the cage is empty I will be putting my chicks that will be hatching out soon where they were. Of course I will be cleaning out each cage and the water and feeders that are in it.
    Does the coop that your 27 year olds going into made from chicken wire. Just want to make sure they cannot get threw what ever wiring you used for the coops. When I have to put my chicks n a big coop next to the bigger ones I put them in a cage the kind that everyone can see each other. This way they chicks and full grown ones can get used to one another with out trying to hurt the smaller ones.
    You will be just fine having your 72 day olds out where the bigger girls are. And with you washing your hands you are already doing the right thing. Or you can just put on hand sanitizer as well.
     

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