Chicken Coop Chatter©
I have written in the past, about how imperative it is to use good hygiene around chickens or in fact fowl of any type. This applies to you, to visitors and especially children. This is especially important for backyard flocks, because often you will tend to your chickens, return to the house and then handle food either through cooking or for prepared meals.
Any time chicks are handled, or if you have separate brooders for different breeds of chicks, wash your hands before handling each of them in those separate brooders. Always wash in hot soapy water all waterers, feeders, incubators and brooders and sterilize them between uses. When going from coop to coop, have clean hands if you are handling any of the chickens, waterers or feeders.
Many farms raising fowl will not allow you into their coops and runs or especially their brooder areas, because you can bring in bacteria and pathogens from your clothes and shoes from your own environment that the fowl have no resistance to. They are not keeping you out because they do not want you to see their birds, they are keeping you out for YOUR safety as well as the safety of their flocks. Transmitting pathogens from one farm to another can be a death sentence to your flock and to those at the farm you have visited. There are disposable booties, that you can use if allowed to enter another farms flocks, or provide for visitors that may come to your farm. Having disposable antibacterial wipes or antibacterial soap available will be a reminder to practice good hygiene between flocks.
It is easy to forget on busy days that you must practice good hygiene, but you will save yourself time and heartache, by following the simple rules.
Chickens are especially vulnerable to all types of illnesses, and some of those illnesses can be transmitted to humans if good hygiene practices are not followed religiously.
ALWAYS quarantine new fowl at least two weeks and we recommend even longer (this applies to all stages of growth, and especially from farm, farm store, swap meets or hatchery). Usually if any illness becomes present, it will be within that 2 week interval, but can and often does occur later. Before introducing those new birds to existing flocks, make certain the coops/runs, waterers, feeders are all washed clean and sterilized to prevent pathogens that the new birds may not have resistance to.
If you are showing your birds at your county fairs, or swap meets, be sure they are vaccinated, Most exhibition programs require it, however swap meets and county fairs may not. For your own protection make sure your animals are not just healthy but that they are protected from diseases and illnesses brought into the public environments.
Some of the diseases that can run rampant are Merek's and Newcastle. Once they get a hold on a flock, it will wipe out the entire flock and worse, it will remain in that environment for a very long time, preventing you from introducing new birds to that environment, and yes, we've heard the horror stories, of introducing new birds into the infected environment and within days, those birds do succumb to the environmental pathogens.
We are not telling you these things because we are overly cautious or overly protective, we are telling you this because it is imperative to aid in prevention of illnesses and diseases being transmitted from one farm to another, from one person to another and one flock to another.
New arrivals into this country used to be quarantined, for the very reasons mentioned above. Disease and illness passed from one country to another, person to person. Animals when imported are held in quarantine before the new owners are allowed possession; In my personal opinion, because our country no longer requires this, we are seeing an increase in diseases and illnesses that were irradicated in this country through vaccinations and quarantine. Viruses that have no current antidote are occurring once again, and eventually will lead to a pandemic. All chicken imports from foreign countries have been halted, due to outbreaks of certain diseases, to prevent those diseases from decimating American flocks or flocks around the world. It is vital that you quarantine and vital that you use proper hygiene.
Even if you have not practiced the quarantine or the sterilizing of equipment in the past, I assure you, you have simply been lucky. At some point in time, you will experience the heartache of others that I have spent much time consoling over the losses of their prized birds. Never, ever, purchase from a source where you see sick or dying or dead birds. I happen to have chatted with someone that did just that, assuming that none of the other birds were affected. Wrong. If ANY are sick or you see emaciated or dead, leave and make sure you change clothes and thoroughly wash with disinfectant soap before you tend to your own chickens. Again, we cannot caution you enough about these issues.
We realize there is a movement that does not approve of vaccinations or medications, however, it is at their risk and ultimately at your own risk if your flocks are not treated when there is an outbreak. The best medicine is ALWAYS prevention, however, things do happen and you need to make a clear choice if you are willing to sacrifice your flocks and ultimately the flocks around the nation because you have chosen not to medicate when the need arises. These illnesses and diseases have NO boundaries. They cross farmlands, borders and oceans.
We want you to have a good experience with your endeavors, so we give you our very best advice. If we can prevent even some of you from the heartache of losing your chicks or chickens then we feel we've at least made a good effort on your behalf. We all make mistakes, but this is a mistake that can and should be avoided.
For a good environmentally friendly coop and household cleaner/disinfectant, refer to the link: http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/earth-friendly-projects/concentrated-citrus-household-cleaner
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