Backyard Poultry Forum • View topic - A word of advice for EVERYONE new to poultry

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:45 pm 
Old Mother Goose
Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 5577
Location: St georges basin (NOWRA) nsw
I would first like to welcome any new members to backyard poultry, very glad to have you join us and I wish you all many years of enjoyment and success with your birds.

A common problem many new to poultry purchasing have, is how to determine the health of a bird before you take it home.

We have a forum here the good samaritan medical centre, and if you have a problem with a bird you will find dedicated and caring members more than happy to help you. We might not be vets here (some might) but what some have is experience with poultry health and treatments.

If you are concerned enough always contact The BREEDER or SELLER of the bird and a suitable veteraniarian that treats birds and or farm animals.

Now, it is normal for someone new to poultry to often panic and get upset if they aquire a bird that is ill, or becomes ill shortly after purchase.

The first thing you need to do is to stay calm and contact the breeder or seller from where you aquired the bird.
Explain to them the problem and symptoms.

A. They may not have been aware the bird was ill.

B. Birds hide disease extremely well from even the most experienced eyes, and there are MANY illnesses a bird can carry without showing ANY symptoms until it becomes stressed by moving, change of diet and so on.
Some illnesses have a very short incubation time and when a bird is purchased it will be under immense stress and can pick up a germ on its way home, or in its new environment. It may have had germs living it its body for months or years that never made it ill, but the moment the bird is stressed by a move the germs can take hold.
This can happen within hours or days of purchase, so it may appear to the in - experienced that they were sold a sick bird on purpose.

B. None of the birds may have shown any symptoms of illness prior to purchase on the breeder's property.

Now, by contacting the breeder you can determine if the seller is genuine and reputable or just dosn't care.

A reputable seller would show concern, and either off to take the bird back, provide medication or advice or give you details for a vet to see, depending on how long since purchase.
A breeder may just offer a replacement or refund and cull the bird or advise you to do so so as not to bring a sick bird back near their own flock.

Ok so first contact the breeder and try to work something out.

Please do not automatically blame or shame a breeder if you get a sick bird, it may well not have been their fault, a breeder is not god, and cant always control everything.

It also lets the breeder know about a problem that may not yet be present in their own flock, this also gives the breeder a warning so they can treat their other birds.

It comes back to the issue of good ethics.

So what if you contact the breeder and they do turn out to be not so caring ?

You then have sick birds on your hands and don't know what to do.

Contact a vet, and in the time being post your problem in the good samaritan medical section of the forum.

Naming and shaming anyone is still not advised publically, defamation (sorry if spelling is wrong) could land you in serious hot water if the breeder takes legal action, and you may also find that reputable breeders may refuse to do buisness with you in the future.

You won't be making many friends in the poultry world with a chip on your shoulder.

I myself have been through all of this, and have learned some hard lessons.

I have also learned much about poultry disease through all of this and hope that my knowledge may now help others.

I wish you well, and may your birds and you have long happy healthy lives together.

When you go to purchase your birds, I strongly recomend a responsible adult accompany a child to a breeder for many reasons.

Most importantly for safety with strangers.
Secondly children are children and woud benefit from an adult to help them check the birds they want to buy.

There is already much good advice on here regarding what to look for in a bird.

The eyes should be bright wide open and clear of any cloudiness or disscharge.
The nostrils should also be dry.

I always give the nostrils a gentle squeeze to make sure as the bird can try to hide symptoms.

Have a look in the mouth of the bird to make sure there is no mucous, smells and that it is healthy looking and pink.

Check the vent area is clean, have a good look arround the yard at the other birds and the droppings.

They should be active, alert, and their feed and water should be resonably clean and easy for the birds to access. Chooks are messy so dont expect perfection, so long as there are no terrible smells of amonia, excessive amounts of built up droppings etc. Common sense plays a big role here.

Avoid buying birds from dirty overcrowded conditions or where the hygiene of the breeder is questionable.

The legs should be clean and free of crustiness, and check through the feathers above the tail, under the wings and around the neck and head for signs of lice or mites. Any white or grey to beige crusty deposits on feathers may be lice eggs. The lice can usually be found at the base of feathers near or on the skin.

The bird should feel heavier than it looks, you should be able to feel the breast bone, but there should be plenty of meat around the breast so the bone isnt poking out and the bird should feel 'plump' not heavy or too hollow.

There are more detailed descriptions in posts on this board and if you have any doubts at all, do not buy the bird.

I hope this is helpful advice for anyone new to chooks and poultry.




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