Why Do We Quarantine Sick Chicken?

If you want to increase your existing flock, then it’s essential to take appropriate measures during the process. Proper quarantine measures must be taken to ensure that both the existing and new birds stay safe and healthy. If you ignore this, there are high chances of your entire chickens dying from parasites and diseases.

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The primary reason for this isolation is to contain any diseases and prevent them from spreading to healthy birds. Chickens can transmit illnesses quickly through direct contact or shared resources like food and water.

Additionally, isolating sick birds allows for closer monitoring and more targeted treatment, which might not be feasible when they are among the rest of the flock.

Another important aspect is the reduction of stress for the sick chickens. In a communal setting, they might face bullying or additional stress from other birds, which can worsen their condition. Quarantine provides a more peaceful and controlled environment for their recovery.

When introducing new chickens to your flock, a quarantine period is equally essential. The recommended duration for quarantining new chickens is at least 30 days. This timeframe is crucial for observing any latent symptoms of illness that might not be initially visible.

After the quarantine, a thorough health check is advised to confirm that the new chickens are free from diseases before they join the existing flock.

What exactly is quarantine?

In simple terms, quarantine means the complete isolation of new birds from other already existing birds to ensure that they don’t transmit parasites and diseases upon interaction.

Fun fact

The word “quarantine” has it’s origine in Venice, Italy. The Ships arriving in Venice were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing in efforts to keep The Plague out. This was “quaranta giorni” which mean 40 days in Italien.

…sort of the same thing we do with our chickens to make sure the don’t “land” any diseases.

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Why do we quarantine sick chicken?

If you have a sick chicken or come across one that has signs of sickness, you should quarantine them immediately. Below are some top reasons why it’s important to quarantine sick chicken:

1. Prevent the spread of parasites and diseases

The major reason why sick chicken must be quarantined is to prevent the rapid spread of parasites and diseases. Just like any other organism, birds are usually attacked by some paradises and diseases that have negative effects on their health.

Therefore, failure to isolate sick birds from your flock can result in rapid transmission of these parasites and diseases and thus affecting all birds. This can even lead to the death of your entire flock if the transmitted disease is very contagious and dangerous.

2. Ease stress on the affected chicken

Sickness is a major cause of stress in chickens.

Therefore, if you’ve got sick chickens, it’s essential to quarantine them alone from the rest of the flock and treat them. In this case, the sick chicken won’t be much stressed by the other birds while recovering. This peace of mind leads to a quick recovery.

3. Proper treatment

For the proper treatment of a sick chicken, isolation is essential to give the space required. If the sick chicken isn’t isolated from the flock, it means that a lot of time will be required to get the bird and treat it. If multiple birds are sick, a lot of time will be required to get every single bird for treatment.

4. Quick identification of parasites and diseases

If you quarantine a sick bird, it’ll be easy to identify the kind of parasites and diseases attacking your chicken. You’ll also easily see some signs and symptoms of various parasites and diseases.

How to quarantine birds

Bird experts recommend that new birds from different locations such as farms should be kept away from the existing flock for quite some time. The period recommended is at least two weeks although a period between one and two months is perfectly fine.

Within this period, some tests are usually done to ascertain whether the birds are free from parasites and diseases before being introduced to the main flock. The birds should only be introduced to the existing flock if only they look healthy. However, for quality quarantine, four aspects should be considered, which are distance, time, isolation, and observation.


Experts recommend that the minimum distance that new birds should be kept must be at least 12 yards. This is because of the existence of some bird diseases that are airborne such as mycoplasma gallisepticum.


For effective bird quarantine, the time taken must be long enough to ensure that no possible threats are available. The longer the quarantine period, the better the results, and vice versa. If you quarantine your new birds for long, then you’ll have the opportunity to check for possible disease outbreaks and give the necessary care and attention before introducing them to the existing flock.


For quality isolation, ensure that new birds are confined in a separate and dedicated pen that’s located far from the main flock area. You should never use the same equipment such as feeders, waterers, clothes, and human wear when handling both of the existing and new birds since this can result in a quick exchange of parasites and diseases from either of the flock.


When you quarantine new birds, you’ll have the chance to observe various signs of illnesses which include lack of appetite, unusual droppings, depression, sneezing, coughing, discoloured combs among others. Once you notice any of these signs, you need to take appropriate measures to ensure the birds regain their usual comfort and health before incorporating them into your flock.

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How long should I quarantine new chickens?

The required period to quarantine new birds should be 30-60 days.

In most cases, adult chickens have high chances of carrying infections to an existing flock. On the other hand, chicken from hatcheries tends to be disease-free. However, regardless of the source, it’s essential to quarantine the new birds.

Bring your birds in separate coops and observe them for quite a while. In case you’re a beginner in rearing chicken, it’s advisable to call a bird specialist who’s experienced to help you in accessing the condition of your new birds. At this time, you should ensure that your new birds are well fed to ensure that they’re strong and healthy before introduction into the new flock.

Introducing new chickens

When you buy new birds, you shouldn’t have a rush to introduce them to your flock. Regardless of whether the birds are free from parasites, diseases, or come from a source that you’re familiar with, never take the risk. You’ll bring a lot of fights within your flock.

Quarantine the new birds properly before you introduce them to your flock. If you free-range your birds, the ideal way of introducing them is by first letting the new birds out, and after some time, let the existing chickens out for the interaction to start. If you keep your chickens in pens, you should first put the new birds in a pen and later introduce the existing ones to meet the new ones.

Remember that during the first stages, pecking begins within the birds. You should ensure that it doesn’t exceed to prevent the new flock from injuries that lead to bleeding or loss of eyes. Excess pecking leads to bird stress and thus low production and even death.

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