Opinion on Quarantine situation

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jessanne, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. jessanne

    jessanne New Egg

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    I understand the importance of a 30 day quarantine when introducing new members to a flock but I'm wondering if I might have a situation where this not necessary. Someone in my town took in two pullets in November and is currently unable to care for them. They were her first chickens and she does not have any others. Since these two have been in somewhat of a quarantine situation on their own right now, do you think my personal quarantine is still necessary? Or would a thorough observation be enough before starting the introduction process? Thanks for any input!
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Well the thing about respiratory disease is that sometimes it will be "silent" until they are stressed. Then all of a sudden you have a runny nose chicken or one who is gasping for breath. Also mites/lice/worms are good to consider treating for (and repeat the treatment appropriately), if they haven't been under your care, as you don't want any of that to spread to your other flock members.

    Some people end up having to destroy their whole flock because of inadequate quarantine. Some diseases can pass quarantine, as it is possible for chickens to be asymptomatic carriers of certain diseases, as well. In that case some people put a "sacrificial" chicken in with the new ones, to see if it gets sick or not.

    All in all, I highly recommend purchasing baby chicks and not adult started birds, unless they are from a reputable source. Even the baby chicks really should be from a reputable source, as there are diseases that pass through the egg to the chick.

    Now I have had success with buying started chickens, and I have been burned before. So please consider carefully as I wish I could go back in time and just not do it. It is really a gamble!

    I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  3. jessanne

    jessanne New Egg

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    Thank you, I hadn't been thinking about the stress factor with possible illness!
    I'm not actively looking to take on any new birds knowing the risks of introduction, but my mind started churning when a local person was reaching out.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    She's had them since November. I would think they would have been stressed when she brought them to her house, too. If it were me, I wouldn't worry too much about taking them since she doesn't have any other chickens of her own and they have shown no sign of illness in the two months she's had them. Just my opinion.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I would setup for a quarantine for the experience as well to prepare you for getting birds from a higher risk source in the future. Additionally the diseases of concern need not have come from contact with other chickens.
     
  6. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    It is a lot of work to add grown chickens to your flock because of the need for quarantine. Its a gamble - you could add them to your flock right away and not have any problems, or you could add them right away and be sorry for the next decade.

    The difficult thing with quarantine is if the hens you are adding are carriers - without showing symptoms - and you won't know even if you quarantine them for 2 weeks. Thats why you might quarantine the strangers for two weeks (and this means always always always handling/feeding your flock first, and the quarantine flock secondly, and practicing biosecurity regarding clothes, shoes, hands, feeding pans, waterers, etc) and then add in that sacrifical hen and give her two or three weeks with the quarantine to see if she picks up anything from them - that is when you will see the devastating respiratory diseases.

    I had a flock killed by a dog digging under the fence - left one sole surivor. I picked up a few adult hens to keep her company til spring when I could add new chicks. Those few adult hens brought in scaly leg mite and I spent the next two years trying to get rid of it.

    This fall I did bring in 5 pullets from a family that had gotten chicks in the spring and couldn't keep them through the winter. I found out that a) the chicks were kept in a brand new coop on land that hadn't had chickens in the past b) the chicks were from a reputable hatchery that I was familiar with and had been vaccinated, and c) a really good look at the pullets - listening to breathing, checking body weight, comb, shanks, feathering, looking for mites, etc showed that they appeared very healthy. SO I took a risk, quarantined them for a few weeks, added them to the flock and all was well.

    It could have turned out differently, I could have lost my entire flock.

    So, you have to decide what the risk factors are and how much of a chance you want to take.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Centrarchid, what specific disease sources are you concerned about? Wild birds as opposed to other chickens? That can happen during quarantine.

    I understand the potential stress issue. And I understand that, yes, as long as it has been a closed flock they have in essence been in quarantine. But a couple of other things I’d consider. First, would the owner recognize a disease or parasite infestation if they saw it? Not everybody does.

    It’s also possible that either flock, yours or the two chickens, have developed flock immunities. They may be carriers for something but since they are immune, they will not show symptoms no matter how long you quarantine them. Coccidiosis is a great example but there can be others. I understand the stress issue, but ”might” does not mean “will”. The traditional quarantine is more for animals that have recently been exposed to other animals, like cattle bought at a stock auction or chickens from a chicken swap. The traditional quarantine does not protect you against flock immunity.

    I’d certainly inspect them for mites or lice and treat them if necessary. Worms are another consideration, you might want to isolate them and treat them even if you don’t see signs. But I suggest if you do decide to quarantine them that you add a potentially sacrificial member of your existing flock to them and see which, if any, get sick. This will protect the rest of your flock from flock immunities and will tell you if your flock has some flock immunity of its own.

    Personally I practice a closed flock. The only way I bring in outside chickens is to either get chicks from a major hatchery or get eggs and hatch them myself. I take biosecurity seriously. But unless you put one of your chickens with them to test for flock immunities, I don’t think a traditional quarantine will do you much good. As you said, they have already been through that.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am afraid of everything. Viral and bacterial pathogens most problematic when birds stressed and movement to new location is stress enough many times. The quarantine ideally helps manage stress as well so birds not so apt to pick up new "bugs" when brought in to your facility. If a bird becomes infected and symptomatic with pathogen / parasite acquired on your place, that bird could initiate an outbreak by promoting higher frequency of disease exposures to the balance of the flock.

    With my "outreach birds" like shown below, they can come into direct physical contact with anywhere from 25 to literally 1,000 people in a single day. The birds seem not too stressed from that component but those kids can be "buggy" and the transport itself can be a stressor. I now let birds sit unconfined in passenger seat to keep them relaxed. The being confined even to a dark box is a stressor. A ride in a feed sack is even worse.

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    I resorted to a continuous use quarantine unit that keep my outreach birds more than a 100 yards from the birds not so treated. My flock is closed but those birds coming on and off me present many of the same risks as importing birds. I think it is good practice to at least try controlling risks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I just want to make it clear that the above is only my opinion, and I would probably have taken the chickens if it were me But I'm a little more casual in my chicken keeping and have probably been lucky not to have had problems with my flock. I don't take chickens from just anywhere, don't go to swaps or trades, but I do have a friend that has wanted to get rid of a couple of chickens a couple of times and I've taken them . Ridgerunner and Centrarchid are definitely more experienced and serious flock keepers than I am and I do respect their opinions and advice.
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    It is a gamble. And a big consideration is the value of the flock you currently have. A couple of birds is just not as big a gamble financially as a flock of 100 or more. Some people on here would grieve terribly, and that makes it a bigger gamble too.

    I belong to another chicken group, and they make my blood run cold, getting birds from swaps and auctions, where you bring a bird (stress of transport) put them in cages next to strange birds (exposed to God Knows what) have countless people walk by, who one would assume, many have birds of their own, and who knows what is on them..... These are bio-security nightmares, and the chance of exposure to disease is skyrocketing. There are a lot of people who do this, and are risking a great deal.

    On the other hand, if my friend has chickens 30 miles from me, none of her neighbors have chickens, she is an experienced poultier, and takes reasonable care of her birds. She has a reasonable set up, yes I am taking a chance, but nothing compared to the risks above. I have often added birds with no problems from these types of set ups.

    Many people pretend to quarantine, but if you are not doing it right, you are just pretending, it is not like horseshoes or grenades, close does not count.

    If the risk is too much, then don't add birds, unless you can keep a very strict quarantine.

    Mrs K
     
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