Quarantine question


Hi Bug
5 Years
Feb 6, 2018
How long should I keep birds in quarantine? I'm planning to get some adult Muscovy ducks, a few silkies, and maybe some turkeys from a swap meet on the 14th of April. How long should I keep these birds in quarantine and what should I look for when they are in quarantine? In previous years I have not thought once about new birds bringing in illnesses and I would just add them to my flock on day 1, I realized that might not be the safest way to do things.... So can you guys give me some info about keeping birds in quarantine?
I would a week.Look for parasites,healthy vent,healthy crop,sneezing wheezy,any abnormal things.
I would give them natural vitamins like coconut oils,probiotics,and garlic just to be sure and send them in flock super healthy.
I think 3 weeks/one month is generally considered more safe.
also if you would be ok with it you could add a 'canary' duck to see if it shows any symptoms of illness around the new bird.
It depends entirely upon how you feel about biosecurity and how heart broken you would be to lose your entire flock to something brought in by these birds. I'd read up on how to properly quarantine before getting birds from a sale.


If you can't do it properly - 100-300' between coops, change of shoes at least (some people change their clothes, too) between coops, no using the same equipment from coop to coop - there doesn't seem to be much point. You are the only one who can decide how much risk you're willing to take.
3-4 weeks. There are too many things that don't show up right away. During that time, get them dusted twice for mites, worm them, dip their feet and legs in cooking oil for scaly leg mites, and observe them.
This could be a pretty long post so bear with me. Diseases and parasites can spread many different ways: from sharing food or water dishes, from eating each other's poop, just by being next to each other, through certain vectors like mosquitoes grubs grasshoppers or other insects, or even being carried on the air. It depends on what the disease or parasite is and whether or not they are infected to start with.

It is fairly common for a flock to develop immunity against a certain disease or parasite. Although they are infected and can pass it on to other chickens they are immune to its effects. Coccidiosis is a good example but there are several others. This could just as easily be the flock you already have as the newcomers bringing it in.

If the birds are coming from a stable place where they are not meeting new birds all the time then quarantine is not likely to do you much good. They have basically been through a quarantine. That's not your situation though, quarantine is pretty effective for birds coming from an auction or a swap where they have been exposed to strange animals. A lot of people do like you had been doing, just bring them home and turn them loose, usually without suffering any bad consequences. The most likely consequences are mites, lice, worms, or coccidiosis. These are unpleasant but if you pay attention and deal with them you are not likely to lose your entire flock. It's not a bad idea to treat the new ones for mites, lice, and worms while they are in quarantine just as a precaution.

But it is also possible you can bring in some disease that will wipe out your flock. This is the real purpose of quarantine. Usually you keep them in quarantine for about 30 days. Most things should show up by then.

Because different diseases and parasites can possibly be transmitted by so many different ways it is hard to get a real effective quarantine. Most of us are not set up where we can keep wind from blowing from one area to another or keep mosquitoes out. The better you can isolate the two groups the better. There are different degrees of quarantine. Even if you can't do that you can help stop other things from spreading. There is some benefit from a lower level of quarantine.

You could easily be the vector that transmits a disease or parasite from one group to another. Don't store their food together and don't use the same buckets to carry food or water. Change shoes between groups so you don't carry something in them. Some people go so far as to change clothes. How far you want to carry quarantine procedure depends on you and your set-up.

One way to handle flock immunities where the problem is highly unlikely to show up no matter how long you quarantine them is to pick a potential sacrifice from your existing flock and house it with the new ones. If the new ones have problems your existing flock is the carrier. If the sacrifice has problems then it's the new ones. If both have problems then you hit the jackpot.

What do you look for in quarantine other than basic parasites? A chicken acting odd. Most of the time if a chicken is bad sick it will stand around fluffed up, hunched up, and looking lethargic. Observe their poop. There is a lot of different variety in what a healthy chicken will pass but there are charts online that show abnormal poop too.

The degree of quarantine you decide (if any) will depend on how hard you want to work, how you can set it up, and how risk adverse you are with your current flock. Some people consider their birds as pets and almost family members. With others they are more livestock and are more willing to take a risk. But people that keep livestock generally know that healthy birds are productive birds so don't like to bring in diseases or parasites either. After all, they are the ones that developed quarantine procedures.
Based on all this information, I will probably keep them in a separate coop for a few weeks, I have 2 rouen drakes that I hate and was planning to cull this summer with my meat birds and roosters from this easter hatch a long. I think I have found a use for them now though ;) i'm not to worried about mites and parasites like that, this swap requires that adult poultry is brought to a vet and examined, you have to provide paperwork to prove they are healthy. I'm sure this would eliminate mite infested birds from the swap and other common health issues. I will still use the rouens to see if they have any deadly diseases or anything like that... I've got birds from this swap for the past few years, along with rabbits, and I have never had any problems, I usually buy them from the same farmers each year so unless their flock is newly infected then I think I should be good. Thanks for the help everyone!
To do it properly, takes huge commitment. A swap and auction are more dangerous, as who knows what they have been exposed to.

I think you idea is a good one, not perfect, but seldom are they possible. The vet can be fooled, so separating them is a good idea.

If you can only separate them by a wire fence, it is a look, not touch, but it is not quarantine, some people make that mistake.

Mrs K

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