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Quarantine new chickens to watch for illness??

 
pioneer
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Location: Douglas County, WI zone 4a 105 acres
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Looked in archive, but only found posts mostly related to "socialization" of newbies. I'm worried about DISEASES! Googled it and am now panicked, since all say to separate by 30ft for at least 2-4 weeks.
Cannot figure out how to do that in my circumstance - just now working on old "shipping crate" to refit into coop. Have nothing else to house the 5 that I want. The 3 I now have are living in the brooder, which will be needed in few weeks for broilers, and I certainly don't want to introduce any disease into that + it's too small.
Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated .... I haven't tromped thru snow to the barn all Winter to now lose my 3 wonderful hatchlings!
Regards, Mary Beth
 
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I think it matters most where you get the new ones.  If you buy locally from a person that raises them outside, not over crowded, in clean conditions, you probably have little to worry about.  Even if not, if you get them someplace reputable, you will probably be fine.  I have never quarantined mine except in the case of really young ones being introduced to adult birds, and then I house the new ones in a pen inside the adult pen, so they get used to one another without having physical contact.
 
Mary Beth Alexander
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Forgot to mention that we have a large, female German Shepherd, who TOTALLY doesn't mind me and was fed raw chicken for many years! I cleaned out the brooder pen in the barn a few weeks ago, and one of them got loose. Hildi was NO help as I tried to let it settle to catch it. She catches mice and ground squirrels all the time - will pursue for HOURS. Getting extra sturdy electric fence for coop/run, but had no way to protect "quarantine" birds separately.
Thanks, Trace. I'm thinking about some relatively nearby - sounds like they've been well raised, but I will pass if I don't like their circumstance.
Anybody else like to weigh-in?  TYVM
 
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I guess I come from a different angle on this. If these are your pets or are an important food source for your survival... don't listen to me. Also, for anyone who considers chickens friends and pets instead of livestock, please ignore this post as you might not like it.

Otherwise, if the chickens don't look sick when you get them, I don't think you have much to worry about. Yes, chickens can get sick, and yes they can carry diseases to other flocks, but so can people. And up until recently, we did not quarantine new people until we were sure they were not sick. You trusted in the immune system that God gave you. If you are keeping your chickens in a healthy environment, and the new chickens do not look sick (even if their circumstances are not great), I would take normal precautions around introducing new chickens in general, but I would put them right in and not worry about disease. Your chickens could infect the new ones just as likely as the new ones could infect your current chickens. Chances are, they will both be fine, and if one of their immune systems is not up to the challenge, you should probably cull that chicken, because who knows what other diseases might be brought in by wild birds, or your shoes when visiting other farms, or... the list just goes on. You will never protect your chickens from every disease, so just give them the most healthy environment and food you can, and leave the rest to the immune systems God gave them.
 
pollinator
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Howdy!
It sounds like you're introducing chicks to slightly older chicks? I may not be understanding this type of problem as well as I might.
Anyway - in my experience -
           If you trust your supplier and have kept the 3 new additions safe while you've trudging through the snow all winter, it should be fine. Sick birds look like sick birds.
           If the 5 you want to add are from the same place, or they have been kept from possible exposure to Bad Things, and you can see that they would be either ill or healthy within a few days.  Or you have a spot where you can stick them for a few days until you have a chance to evaluate them, (I would stick them in a tote, to be frank.)
 
Mary Beth Alexander
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THANKS ALL! Of course, the advice was exactly what I wanted to hear, lol, but I trust you "permies". Actually, my 3 hatched first of August - one roo and 2 hens - some sort of White Australian mutt I think - got "surprise" eggs in a table-top incubator from a neighbor, and he doesn't know breed.
Anyway, girls started laying right on the dot of Dec 1 and almost fully daily all thru the Winter! Roo seems nice - no pecking me, and seems to care for the girls. The hens are rather smallish, but he seems normal size.
I'm looking at 2 different groups of hens on CraigsList that are less than 1yr-old. One group is slightly younger and look like smaller size, but no breed mentioned ... other group has just started laying, but no pix and sound like "larger" but supposedly "calm and laid-back" ... "breed of leghorn and cross with sexlink. They are known as a Production Red that lays lots of eggs".
Busy with garden after long spell of cold and no rain till upcoming week ... got to pick up pace with coop!!
I guess I'll make contact and see if I can look them over and find out if they'll keep 'em a little longer. I read plenty re "symptoms", so I guess I will have sense enough to recognize illness.
Best of luck to all of us in 2021.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Mary Beth Alexander wrote:
I'm looking at 2 different groups of hens on CraigsList that are less than 1yr-old. One group is slightly younger and look like smaller size, but no breed mentioned ... other group has just started laying, but no pix and sound like "larger" but supposedly "calm and laid-back" ... "breed of leghorn and cross with sexlink. They are known as a Production Red that lays lots of eggs".

Best of luck to all of us in 2021.


Wow! I mean the ads sound great and I know you will make a decisions that will best suit you (I was the local depositor of Random Chickens with my very first flock. I learned a lot about chickens very, very quickly).
Do you know why they are up on Craig's List? I know it's one of the few ways you can actually get money from chickens - growing out an extra group is easy enough once you're set up for it, and many people don't have the patience to have  a dozen or so chicks growing through all the fuss that happens when they are small.

I would offer caution about anything called a Leghorn, Leghorn cross, or "Production" Anything. Those aren't what I would suggest as a "starter flock" for anyone. If you are okay with a challenge, and willing to ask questions and deal with very "spun tight" birds, then you'll be fine. There's nothing wrong with any of those descriptions, except ....
Leghorns are egg layers. Period. Oh, you can eat them. You can eat any chicken. They make up the bulk of the chicken industry, still, because they are good at what they do.

Leghorn Crosses are pretty much "Leghorn Light" - all the issues (for values - high strung, flighty, aggressive, ... ), less eggs.
Again, this is a broad generality and every single bird is different, so I may just be over-reacting a bit. You'll be able to see the different birds and how they react to their person/handler, you, and each other. No worries.

"Production" Anything means one of the newer hybrids or breeds (I keep losing track as to what is currently gene stable and reproducible for the home grower, and what is a hybrid and therefore not fully reproducible). Outcrosses could be good. If you're looking for a nice bird that is going to lay and give you something to stew up later, that sounds like a decent way to go.

Calm birds, in my opinion, are bomb-proof birds. Champions. I would take 6 English anythings over 12 Production Leghorns any day for personality and a pleasant yard. Orpingtons, Cochins, even many American breeds and the great Aussies out there, are amazing birds to have around. They make for a nice day in the chicken yard, are friendly, and just get on with the business of being a chicken. (You will have a favorite chicken breed and chicken at some point. It happens. Like any other opinion and butthole, everyone has one and we don't need to talk about them in public.)
Leghorns, in my opinion(see comment), are more difficult than they need to be, generally. But they are chickens and every bird is different.

I'll take my Dorkings and Cochin and Orpington, and all my Ameraucana and Easter Eggers, over the Production Reds I have ordered for later this year. (I know. I'm awful. They're Golden Buffs from Meyer Hatchery - 5 to round out the minimum order and they'll lay brown eggs. They're a sex-linked hybrid that I will be using to keep my eggs available for sale up in reasonable numbers for the winter. I'm a hypocrite and I admit it. ) I hope I'll be wrong about the birds you get to meet and the chicks that will be showing up shortly for me. You never know what's going to happen.

Happy chickening! I hope you find many future eggs!
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