Keeping Chickens Healthy.

aid

Why do factory farms pump chickens full or antibiotics?

Why do people think chickens carry disease?

Why do raw eggs pose a salmonella risk?

 chickfarm1

Well my guess is it is because ‘factory farms’ are not the healthiest of places with thousands of chickens crowded on top of each other.

I have never smelled a commercial chicken farm but I can just imagine!

smell

 

It makes sense that ‘ home raised’ chickens, either urban or rural would be healthier just because they are not overcrowded.

Fresh air and sunshine are good for every living thing don’t ya think?

sun air

A small backyard coop is easy to keep clean.

Poop should be removed daily except in winter if you are following the ‘deep litter’ method.  This is when you throw clean shavings on top of the old, allowing poop and old, soiled litter to ‘compost’ on the bottom which creates heat in the coop as well as reduces cleaning time on cold days!

You can read about the deep litter method here:

http://naturalchickenkeeping.blogspot.com/p/deep-litter-method.html

 Allowing your chickens some outdoor time – a large secure run and/or some free range time each day is very beneficial as it allows them to scratch around and nibble at green plants, roots, pebbles and insects – providing a more natural diet. The exercise also helps them have good muscle tone which prevents things like prolapsed vents and egg binding.

free

Many people add apple cider vinegar to the drinking water to provide probiotics and lower the ph.  I don’t add ACV but do add a blend of essential oils that I made after researching poultry and natural ways to prevent respiratory issues.  My chickens have never been sick.

(knock on wood)

knock

Twice a year, spring and fall I give the coop a good, thourough cleaning where I remove all the bedding and scrub the walls, floor, nest boxes and roosts with an all natural disinfectant.  I make and use my own  version of the well known ‘Thieves’ blend of essential oils.  After cleaning I open all the windows and doors to let the coop air out all day.  Then I sprinkle food grade DE on the floors of the coop and enclosed run and cover with fresh pine shavings in the sleeping area and sand in the run.  I finish up with some sprigs of fresh if I have them, or dried herbs such as a combination of mint, lavender, oregano, thyme or rosemary.

herbs

Although I have never had a sick chicken we keep the former Cluck Inn coop as a quarantine area, and I would not hesitate to bring a sick chick into the house and keep in our chicken ‘pack and play’ while recuperating.

I have also never had an injured or wounded chicken but recommend keeping an antibiotic powder on hand, as well as a super glue product to close wounds,  Neosporin or other antibacterial cream (make sure it does not contain pain relievers), splinting items in case of a broken leg and BluKot to keep the other chicks from pecking at an injury.  A supply of roll gauze or other lightweight ‘wrap’ type bandages could come in handy.   Again I would quarantine an injured chicken in the small coop or in the house depending on the severity and amount of watching they would need.

vet

 Vaseline, Preparation H, vitamin and calcium supplements, Epson salts for soaking as well as bandages, clean washcloths, gloves (for you) and an eye dropper for administering water and/or medications should also be in your coop medicine cabinet

Some people bring random stool samples to their vet once or twice a year to check for worms.  Once worms are visible in their poop they have a pretty severe infestation.

Pumpkin seeds will not get rid of a worm infestation but will help prevent one.  Chickens LOVE pumpkin seeds – buy a pumpkin, cut it in half and let them have at it!

pumpkin

A dust bath in a small kiddy pool filled with sand, ashes, and some DE will be enjoyed by your chickens and also will get rid of mites or lice.  If your chickens continue to pick and scratch you can go to your Farm Supply store or order remedies on line.

dust bath

Remember that some medications given to your hens will require you to discard the eggs for a period of time.

When all is said and done, keeping healthy chickens is no more work that a cat or dog and can even provide entertainment!  Healthy chickens provide healthy eggs so you are rewarded in a very tangible way!

egg

What have you done to nurse a sick or injured chicken and how do you keep your gals healthy?  Comment and share your knowledge!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindy
    Jan 29, 2015 @ 17:08:04

    I wish I lived by you, so I could buy some of your happy, healthy, chicken’s eggs. P.S. This was my favorite one of your posts to read, so far!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Barbara Faust
    Jan 25, 2015 @ 15:04:41

    I agree with your theory that Factory CAGED hens are destined to produce bacteria laden eggs due to both vast amounts of excrements and their high stress levels from being caged 24/7. I read that the “Cage Free” is legal to put on egg cartons long as cage doors are opened for some short ridiculous NANO SECOND daily while the hens remain INSIDE THE CAGES.

    I also had illness free horses for 18 years thanks in part to adding Organic Apple Cider Vinegar to their grain. Miss adding the ACV and their urine was a nasty dark shade of brownish yellow–add it and urine became almost colorless.

    Like

    Reply

  3. slcriger
    Jan 25, 2015 @ 14:56:05

    very interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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