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Purchasing disease free birds and CRD

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Andi, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Andi

    Andi Songster

    How do you know if birds are coming from a disease free place? Is trust all I have to go on?

    I'm in the process of considering purchasing 2 pullets from someone that informed me that they had in the past had issues with M. gallisepticum, which causes Chronic Respiratory Disease, or CRD. A couple weeks ago, round abouts, they vaccinated for the first time. Its greatly appreciated that I was informed. I never would have know otherwise.

    I was strongly urged to do some researching to make an educated decision on whether or not to vaccinate my small flock of 4 pullets, and was informed the vaccinated birds would not transmit MG to my birds once they were introduced.

    I did some researching and discovered through 5 different places that once birds get it, they are carriers for life and carriers often times show no symptoms. In addition to that, transmission is not only horizontal (bird to bird), but is more frequently transmitted vertically (at the time of hatching from an egg from an infected hen. I'm thinking these pullets that I'm considering are infected just because of the likelihood of the vertical transmission, despite the good intentions of vaccinating.

    The Mereck Veterinary site also made note that treatment only lasts for the egg laying season, which leads me to believe the vaccination will need to be administered at least annually. Seeing the symptoms are worse in the Winter when they are cooped up, shouldn't it be administered before Winter rather than before the egg laying season? What about chickens that lay year round?

    I'm strongly questioning whether I should get these birds. Would I be right in assuming that by purchasing these pullets I'm going to be expecting to need to treat for M. gallisepticum in all my girls for the rest of their lives?

    I can't believe having just a few chickens would get to be such an ordeal. This same bacteria is also causing problems with wild finches and a few other song birds that I like to see in the yard. I don't want to be spreading it to them, too.

  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I don't have alot of reassurance to offer you. To a degree, trust is a factor. Even NPIP breeders can have things in the flock that NPIP does not test for. I only buy hatching eggs from certain breeders, not just from anyone. My birds are disease free (respiratory disease) but I have a strict "no started birds" policy here. True that some diseases are passed through the egg, but more often, they are transmitted horizontally. And I would bet that, even though wild birds can carry disease, that is not going to be your main threat.
    Buying started birds is the main way most disease comes into your flock, even with strict quarantine procedures in place. But, then, if you read The Chicken Health Handbook before getting chickens, no one would get them, ever! One day, I may experience serious illness in my birds, but for the moment, all is well. No birds acquired at swaps, no flea market birds, no started birds of any type are allowed here.

    I dont know anything about vaccinations. My birds have never been vaccinated for anything, so I can't advise you there.

    ETA: I would also appreciate the honesty that seller has shown you. I would be livid if I bought the birds blindly. And if it was me, no, I would not buy them, knowing for sure that MG has been an issue in the flock, but that is entirely a personal decision you must make. Some sellers just don't realize what they can do to someone else's flock by selling birds that they think have had "colds".
    These are excellent questions, Andi. I'm sure you'll get varying opinions.
  3. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Songster

    Jun 17, 2009
    West Central WI
    However, we are also advised to go to shows to meet breeders. I assume you do not advise we buy their started birds at these shows and instead try to talk them into hatching eggs or chicks?
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    My "no started birds" policy is just that, my policy. I can't advise you not to buy a bird from a show. Many do, successfully, but it's not a chance I want to take for my flock. I limit myself tremendously, but to me, it's not a burden at all. Takes longer to hatch chicks and grow them out, surely, but I feel safer doing so.
  5. Chef

    Chef Chicken Connoisseur

    Dec 16, 2008
    So seeing that there is a vaccination for CRD is it possible for a natural immunity to be built?

  6. herechickchick

    herechickchick Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    Quote:I am not a vet but in my reading you can vaccinate for CRD and you can treat CRD but the bird will always be a carrier of the disease. So if that bird is ever introduced to another bird that is not vaccinated then it can catch the illness even if the host bird shows no signs of the illness.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong.
  7. If the seller KNOWS that what went through the flock is MG, then I would stay away from the birds.

    MG is very managable, BUT when you introduce a bird to a MG infected flock it is going to get sick to some degree. Some do very well and some DO DIE.

    Remember though, wild birds DO carry this and they CAN infect an entire chicken flock. Vaccinations are limited with MG as it is really not a virus or a baceria.

    There are MANY articles about this disease in commercial chicken farms.

    Providing a clean, healthy and nutrision savy program to your birds is the best way to keep this disease to a minimum.

    MG is ALSO transmitted through eggs and chicks can and do acquire the disease. Most do not.

  8. HBuehler

    HBuehler Songster

    Jun 30, 2009
    Lebanon TN
    Stay away from ones you do know have had something..just not worth it.We also now have a closed flock it must come in here in egg form.
    Now I do vaccinate my entire flock for Corzya and CRD NOT because we have had it but because we don't want it. We have lots of wild birds in our fields...live on the river and one of the Southern flyby's is real close...so even though I now have a closed flock it is never truly "closed" because of the wild birds.The risk my be low but the cost of the vaccinations is much less than my flock of birds.Still no guarantee they won't get it but it can help.
  9. Andi

    Andi Songster

    I so appreciate all the discussion on this topic. I hope this thread will be helpful to others down the road.

    My state requires a Certificate of Veterinarian Inspection from the state of origin for any eggs or poultry coming into the state as well as a permit to bring them in. For non-commercial hobby type backyard flocks the only thing that needs to be checked for on the CVI is Pullorum–Typhoid, so CRD isn't even checked. I suppose that makes sense seeing its so wide spread.

    We've decided to not get the birds, which has me really bummed out! I was so excited! We even altered the coop to accommodate for them.

    The decision was based on the fact that there is a possibility that our birds don't have it and the likelihood that the 2 new ones introducing it is quite high. By introducing them we would have to expect that all of the birds would be living with suppressed immunities and we would have to repeatedly need to vaccinate because of the introduction. By introducing likely carriers we potentially put at risk the 4 turkey farms that are within 3-4 miles of our home, as well as the turkey farms that my brother-in-law works at (when ever we visit their house or they visit ours). The final deciding point was made when I learned that I'd need to have the place we were intending to get the birds from to get a Certificate of Veterinarian Inspection from their state and have to apply for a permit to bring them into our state. It just wasn't worth the hassle for birds we really don't NEED.

    I so wish I had known all this before buying the birds we have now. I would have gone about this so differently.
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I commend you for doing your research and making an informed decision, Andi. Wish everyone would take that time. There will be other birds for you. Maybe you should do some hatching and become addicted like the rest of us. [​IMG]

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