What to look for post-quarantine

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Pickled Egg, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Pickled Egg

    Pickled Egg In the Brooder

    Dec 16, 2008
    Perth, Ontario
    I have a fairly large flock: 3x each Buff Orpingtons, Jersey Giants, Golden and Silver Wyandottes that are 5 months old and just integrated with very little fuss with the rest of my flock, which is 10 Barred Rocks and 10 Black Sex Links...plus a Chanticler hen and rooster.

    A month ago I purchased 4 Araucana hens and a rooster. The hens are about 5 months old and the rooster is roughly a year and a half (I fully expected to get a 5 month old, figuring it would be easier to integrate him with our current rooster...no such luck!). These birds looked rough when I got them (it honestly felt like more of a rescue than a purchase). The pullets are extremely fearful (hiding in the corner of their coop) and are missing lots of feathers (full tails gone, bald spots on their backs). The rooster is also missing feathers in spots (moulting perhaps?), but most concerning, he has a very red and bald back end. This has not changed at all in the 4 weeks.

    My main question is, now that they have been quarantined for 4 weeks what do I look for? Aside from not looking very pretty all 5 are active, eating, drinking, and excreting normally.

    My second question is, should I do anything special when introducing the roosters? They are the same age and have spurs. Our Chanticler rooster is very attentive and protective of his hens, (I have experienced his spurs on more than one occasion!!) and I fully expect them to fight. I am not sure how to handle it if/when this happens.

    Any advice on these issues would be appreciated.

  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    You can introduce a "sacrifice" bird to the new ones. If it doesn't get sick with something the others may be carrying but not showing symptoms of in another few weeks time then you're pretty safe to introduce them to your original flock.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I had a rooster like the one you described. He was mostly bald and his skin was bright red. He had been the bottom rooster of 3 roosters at a neighbors ranch. They picked on him pretty badly. It took forever, before the feathers finally started to grow in.

    My point is that, if your rooster was that beat up, he probably is not real aggressive, while your other rooster seems much more aggressive. How does the featherless one act around you, and around the girls you got him with? Were they bare feathered due to too much rooster attention?

    if it were just the hens, I would just put them in at night, and things would probably work out fair in a few days. But the rooster, may be a bit tougher.

    I am not sure quite what the above post was talking about with the sacrifice hen, but if the roos are nearly the same size, you could put them next two each other, but with a fence, for a bit and see how it goes. I am with you, I would be nervous about introducing a 2nd rooster, as the first rooster, is bound to be pretty territorial, especially as he already is pretty aggressive, even to you.

    Another idea, is to put them in the coop after dark, but then beat it down there pretty early in the morning, literally the crack of dawn, and let them free range immediately. A lot of space often helps. MrsK
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    A "sacrifice" bird is a bird you won't mind losing (dying)if it becomes ill with something the birds in quarentine have but are not exhibiting symptoms of.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010

  5. Pickled Egg

    Pickled Egg In the Brooder

    Dec 16, 2008
    Perth, Ontario
    Thanks for the advice, on both counts!

    I think I will try the "sacrifice" bird with one of the older hens we were planning to cull this winter - I suspect that these Araucana are healthy, but I have a nice flock and don't want to be the cause of its downfall. Would a week or two be enough time for any symptoms to show up in this bird?

    I know the farmer we bought the new birds from has a fairly large flock and he does not allow them any access to outdoors. It makes sense that the new rooster's red and featherless bottom is a result of less than kind living conditions more than it is a sign of illness. He was easy to catch to get into quarantine and when I go in to feed and water them he is somewhat protective of his girls (he lets them hide behind him) and he is not aggressive towards me.

    I've used a chicken wire barrier to introduce other birds before and its gone well, so we'll see how things go with this lot. I'm hoping that these Araucana hens come out of their shell (so to speak!) once they have access to free ranging and overall better living conditions.
  6. We always do the sacrificial bird. alot of issues don't show in quarantine.

  7. DAFox

    DAFox Songster

    Nov 7, 2009
    SW MO in Vernon Co
    When introducing the roosters, you might want to create a neutral fenced area with a temporary coop for the 2 of them. First separate them by chicken wire in this temporary area so they can get used to each other for a few days. When you do let them together, feed them and have a garden hose ready. Don't interfere with a blast of water unless you see blood. I have used this method. The important thing is to not have them with the hens when you do this. Give them a week or so together without hens and see how they do. If you think they might get along with the hens, then let them all free range together before putting them in the chanticler's coop. See how that goes.

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