Opinions of closed or open flocks.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by spook, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. spook

    spook Songster

    Greetings, I have been wondering how you manage your flocks, open or closed? This is for opinions and no slamming another for their choices. I do not believe there is a correct answer or only one way to behave. There are pro's and con's of everything in life- share what you think.
    Of course most of you already have heard about my grumbling about mycoplasmas and those types of conditions!
    ~I would like to hear why you chose to open or close your flock?
    ~Are you concerned with the health and quality when accepting or selling a bird?
    ~Are you NPIP tested (very important)?
    ~Would you have your birds tested if more then one died in the same month?

    Why do you have these opinions that you live by?

  2. sewincircle

    sewincircle Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central New York
    I have a closed flock. Nothing goes in that I did not hatch myself. I think in these days it is a safe way to maintain health, but of course, not full proof. I have never bought or sold a chicken. Everything from egg. That is just how I do it.
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    My flock is closed. Nothing goes in except what I hatch.

    I have worked too long and invested too much money in my stock to let a strange bird in that could be a carrier of disease and potentially wipe out my entire flock.

    I will be certified next month as a Tester for the NPIP program. I'll be able to test other people's flocks if I am asked to.

    I have never had a bird to die that I did not cull myself. I am very fortunate and prove over and over again how handling your birds with precautionary measures is to your advantage.
  4. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing Premium Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Quote:There is a good part of you BYC'ers that already know why I choose to have a closed flock. But for those of you who don't, here you go!

    Last June I set up a swap meet here in my area and someone gave my son a sick chick, that we had no idea was sick. That one chick ended up causing so much grief and heartache by bringing Coryza into my flock. I learned then and there, it is best to not add birds from another flock into my existing flock. After all, most illnesses that existing flocks get infected with, are from a bird that has been brought into the flock.
    ~Are you concerned with the health and quality when accepting or selling a bird?

    I do not accept birds from other flocks, but if I did, I would absolutely be concerned about the health and quality of the bird.

    As for me being concerned when selling, I'm really not because I do everything I can to maintain a healthy flock. I consider myself to be a responsible poultry owner and therefor, would never sell a sick bird.
    ~Are you NPIP tested (very important)?

    I am not NPIP tested, but I can see the benefits in being tested. As in you can legally sell your birds all over the U.S. That would be the single most important reason to be tested. As far as having my flock tested just to have it tested, I don't think it would be worth it. There are so many poultry diseases out there and NPIP testing only covers a fraction of them.
    ~Would you have your birds tested if more then one died in the same month?

    Possibly, but I don't know that everyone understands that by having a necropsy done, won't guarantee that you will find out what was wrong with the bird that died.

    When my flock was sick this past summer, I called the state vet to get help and to have a necropsy done. He actually advised me against the necropsy because he said there are many times they can't figure out what was wrong with the bird even through testing. I think it is much more important to educate yourself so you can recognize potentially serious issues when they do crop up. That way you will be able to make better decisions as to which direction you need to go with your flock.

    Why do you have these opinions that you live by?

    I think that question has already been answered. I have had to experience the disadvantages of not having a closed flock and that was enough for me. [​IMG]

  5. We started off with an open flock. We were rescueing birds that people could no longer take care of or did not want. When we would go get the birds we would cull any that had visible signs of sickness or ailments before bringing the others home. Once here, they would be isolated in their own pen and given a regiment of medications. After a month, if no signs popped up, then they would be introduced to the rest of the flock. We only lost one girl to fowl pox and she actually was our first that came from a reputable dealer. We now have a closed flock to the extent that we hatch all our own to build up our breeders and layers. We do add a special bird from time to time if we are trying to get breeding pairs. We have been very lucky but also take lots of precautions. But because of it, we now have 25 different breeds.
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I consider mine closed. No adult birds have been added to my flock for at least 20 years....maybe more than than. Only 7 day olds in the last 6+ years. Just hatching eggs, which isn't fool proof either

    I'm in the process of being a certified NPIP tester. In my state you are allowed to test your own as well as others birds.

    I don't allow other people to enter my pens which has caused some ruffled feathers with a couple of friends over the years. The one who was the most insulted, her SO drags home birds from every place you can imagine.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  7. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    My flock is closed. There is no bird beautiful or wonderful enough for me to risk my other birds. They are all treasured pets.

    Not long ago, my cousin told me that she had seen the most beautiful chickens ever, and had tried to buy one of them to bring to me. Fortunately the lady didn't want to sell, because I would have freaked out if my loving and clueless cousin had pulled into my driveway with some mysterious chicken. I have of course explained to her why she must never do that to me!

    I am willing to accept the risk of hatching outside eggs. The risk is smaller with hatching eggs, and I don't have a rooster at present, so I must accept that small risk to get more chickens. But, only extremely cool hatching eggs are coming in. And only a very few of those.

    I am not NPIP certified.

    I've never had a bird die from illness. Knock on wood. But if I did start having deaths, I would definitely have the dead birds tested.

  8. Closed. Predation is intense and only the two of us ever mingle with the birds. Only 12 hens, bought at 12 hours. We use sensible biosecurity for si-x- and eight-legged pests too. Described in our page, here. New gov't regs in Canada also encourage this approach. We're at the point where an inspector can enter the premises ans seize/destroy birds suspected of carrying certain viruses.

  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You all know that my flock is closed. Only two birds not from a hatchery or eggs hatched here have ever been added, one was my first rooster and one a gift from a trusted chicken-keeper friend with a healthy flock---both had more than a month of quarantine and were healthy.

    Now that my coops are full, I have no need of hatchery birds and probably wont need hatching eggs from anyone for a good long time.

    The reason my flock is closed is that I did lots of research B4 even starting to acquire birds.

  10. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    Closed here, but I wasn't at first.

    I must say that when I first made the decision to maintain a closed flock (which was this past fall) I had some people give me a hard time. My mom, who I expected to be agitated, was the most understanding and goes so far to respect this decision that she will NOT wear any shoes to my home that she wore near her coops or in her coops! She has a pair of shoes JUST for wearing to my house!

    Last year we went to a swap and bought some chickens. I quarantined them before letting them in with the flock. We are going to be NPIP tested soon, and since I did bring 4 chickens home from that swap, I feel this testing is important to have done. I do not want sick birds on the place, and if any are sick I will cull cull cull.

    This year I have changed things. I am only adding what I have hatched myself or ordered from a hatchery. No buying any birds from swaps etc..

    Now if I can just find someone with bantam columbian wyandottes so I can get some eggs............[​IMG]

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