Poultry Breeders Business Ethics - Poultry Diseases and "Rare" Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by Silk Madness, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. Silk Madness

    Silk Madness Just Hatched

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    My girlfriend is a good woman, she's a little obsessed with rare chicken breeds right now, but she's a good woman and gives people the benefit of the doubt in almost all situations. When I heard what happened to her over the past week, it made me angry, but I'm wondering if this is common in the chicken business. So I'll get to the point. She found a small chicken breeder through social media and was overjoyed when she found out she would be able to buy a hen of this breed (I won't mention which one because I don't think it matters in this situation). When she went to meet the breeder, the cost of the chicken had somehow inflated to three times what she was quoted in an email message. She thought maybe it was just a misunderstanding because in the message the breeder had mentioned that there was a feathered pullet and a chick that was a little over a week old for sale. The pullet was sexed, the chick was not, therefore the difference in price. So she brought the pullet home and it was puffed up like it was either cold or suffering from some sort of illness, and there was something wrong with its eyes. They seemed squinted, or at least one of them did. The pullet was lethargic. She immediately offered the chick high protein (30%) game starter mixed with (20%) chick starter and water that was dosed with a small amount of Bragg';s apple cider vinegar. The chick pooped liquid, amber/tan colored poop, along with other poop that was a little more solid. The container that she brought the pullet home in was soaked with this poop. She photographed the chick and the eye problem and emailed it to the breeder, who said it might be droopy eye. She recommended electrolytes. I made a special trip to the feed store that evening to buy the electrolytes for poultry at Tractor Feed. My girlfriend and I were both worried the the pullet wouldn't make it. But it survived, and is eating and we hope drinking the medicinal water. My girlfriend wanted the young chick that was originally offered by the breeder for much less money, because she didn't know when she would come across this breed again, or at least not locally. They are for sale by designer chicken breeders online for an outlandish price. She hoped that by offering to take the young chick that the breeder might offer the chick for free considering the pullet which she had paid through the nose for was sick. So she went out to meet the breeder but when she got there, the breeder wanted twice as much for the young chick than what she had asked previously. My girlfriend, not wanting a confrontation, especially on the breeder's territory, decided not to protest and to pay for the chick and resolve herself not to do business with the breeder again. When she questioned the price the breeder said it was because of the chick's age, but the price she originally quoted was literally only 2 or 3 days old. My girlfriend is a person who doesn't like confrontations, and being new to this area wants to keep things friendly with the locals. She brought the chick home and it seems to be okay, a little docile but not sick ,like the pullet. She has the pullet under lights and on Poultry Drench, ACV and electrolytes. It still has a droopy eye, and in my opinion is not a very attractive bird. I don't know what all the fuss is about with this breed. They are supposed to be social and docile. To me, it just looks sick. It could be the eyes, but it wouldn't win any ribbons if I was judging.

    My question is should we just chalk it up to experience, we're not used to buying chickens from breeders. I've either hatched my chickens or gotten them from my neighbors, family or the local feed store. Aside from a few problems with roosters fighting, and predators, its been pretty easy and stress free. They are low maintenance livestock. Or, should we leave a negative review so this doesn't happen to other people? We don't want to hurt anyone, but we don't want anyone else to be hurt in this way. I believe like the designer chicken breeders this woman is taking advantage of my girlfriend's desire to have something rare and beautiful. Thanks for reading through all this.
     
  2. RhodeRunner

    RhodeRunner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Droopy eye? I've never heard that one? The pullet sounds like she has CRD, also known as mycoplasma gallisepticum.

    Yes, please learn from the experience!
    • A good breeder always makes their prices well known. Don't buy from someone that is looking to confuse you.
    • A good breeder will refund or replace a started fowl that is sick or dead with 24 hours of the purchase. (Chicks are difficult, because so many people have a knack for killing them. So, I understand if people have a different policy here)
    • Do not purchase from a breeder that has sold you a sick bird.
    • Do research on a breeder first.
    • Be very cautious with imported fowl. These birds are often more susceptible to health problems, as they are not used to our climate and bacteria. They also attract many breeders that are looking to make money vs. breeders that are looking to improve the breed.
    • When buying imported rare fowl, I hope more people realize what they are buying. You are buying a rare bird, not necessarily a healthy, or well bred rare bird.

    If your friend wants to leave a negative review, other poultry shoppers would appreciate it. However, it isn't a task for the non-comfrontational. Most breeders bite back, when you say something they don't like. If she can't do it, word of mouth is slow, but it gets around too.

    And yes, breeders like this are more common than any of us would like. But, once you learn how to protect yourself from them, you don't tend to run into them as often. I had a similar experience when I was eighteen, and a breeder sold me sick fowl. The illness ended up killing half my flock. I called the Department of Agriculture on her and myself (I wanted to know what it was), and they went out and tested her fowl and mine, the very next day. I haven't seen her advertise since. Now, I've been very particular on whom I buy from. So far, my caution has served me well. It was a hard lesson to learn, but a good one.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  3. Silk Madness

    Silk Madness Just Hatched

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    Can someone report a breeder to the Department of Agriculture anonymously, or will they keep your contact information confidential? I'm sure the woman will know its my girlfriend that reported her, because she will remember the details because she is a small operation. We looked for reviews on her operation and could find nothing. She is an NPIP breeder that information is online, though she didn't provide any paperwork because she said it would only be needed if we were doing 4H. Another thing I didn't mention was that my girlfriend told her that she had been advised to cull the bird,. because she had spoken with someone she knows that raises poultry in a different state. So she knew she sold a bird that would have to be destroyed. This disease you mentioned, is it something that can be carried by a bird after the symptoms clear? BTW, we live in a small town and people tend to stick together and look down on newcomers (we've lived her for 3 years, not long enough to be with the in crowd). Frankly, as much as we'd like to do the right thing, the thought of retaliation and becoming a pariah is not worth it. Especially these days.
     
  4. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Hopefully what happened to you is not very common. But unfortunately it does happen. Less is better. I just wanted to ask if you have other chickens than these two? When you buy chickens it might be better to get a minimum of two or three at once as chickens are flock animals and even when introduced to others it seems easier on them if they face the new ones with a friend.
    I don't see where you are from but I do know if you ask on BYC you might find someone who has what you want and my guess is you would have less problems.
     
  5. Silk Madness

    Silk Madness Just Hatched

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    I believe my girlfriend found this breeder through a group of poultry fanciers, centered around this breed that is popular because it is small, social and very hardy. It is typically hard to find this particular breed during the late Fall early Winter period. It is in demand because it has good characteristics, and an heirloom breed that they are trying to sustain. She thought herself extremely lucky for finding someone who had a pullet. But maybe the breeder had these left over for a reason. Of course we are disinfecting everything that may have come in contact with the diseased bird. She kept it in quarantine from the beginning. I have heard others complain about finding diseased birds on Craigslist. For that reason, we avoid that.
     
  6. Silk Madness

    Silk Madness Just Hatched

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    There is no discharge by the way, and no respiratory distress as described in the Merck manual. This is what makes me think that it is some other form of conjunctivitis.
     
  7. RhodeRunner

    RhodeRunner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have no idea, as I didn't try to be anonymous. Like you said, she would possibly know even if they didn't tell her.

    Symptoms can really vary amongst each bird with CRD. Some just get gooey eyes, some sneeze and have discharge from the eyes and nostrils, the worst birds rattle when they breath. But, as you said, it may be something else. Most chicken sicknesses have similar symptoms. But, yes the disease is carried after the symptoms clear and is passed onto their offspring too. It can reoccur in them and their offspring any time stress occurs. (Moving to a new location will do it.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  8. Silk Madness

    Silk Madness Just Hatched

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    Well this should be warning to chicken hobbyists who fancy a rare breed. Some inexperienced breeders risk starting an epidemic when they breed and sell these chickens with little regard for their health, and the health of their customers' flocks. Its too tempting for them to ignore a chance to make a quick fortune, but these are living things and the repercussions are enormous.
     

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