Jan 272011

Chicken Health Problems

Common Chicken Health Problems And Chicken Illnessess

When you have a flock of chickens in your backyard, you need to know how to prevent and recognize common chicken health problems and chicken illnesses.

So, you have come home from work and you run out to take a quick peek at your chickens and make sure they are doing ok.  As you are taking care of business, filling feeders and waterers and maybe cleaning up a little, you notice one of your hens hanging out in the chicken coop while the rest of the flock is outside.  You watch her a little more closely to see if she is sick or maybe just broody.  How do you know?

Chickens are pretty hale and hearty birds when kept under ideal conditions.  But, even when kept in ideal conditions, you can still have chicken illnesses, parasite infestations and injuries.

The two keys to preventing common chicken health problems and chicken illnesses from taking hold are to provide dry, draft proof housing and conduct regular checks on your chickens.  Solid chicken housing will help prevent some of the most common chicken health problems.  Chicken coops that are drafty, that leak or that are not clean can lead to a whole host of problem.  Regular observation of your flock will allow you to be able to quickly identify and resolve any chicken illnesses that crop up.

What are the signs that you have a sick chicken or sick chickens. 

  • Make sure your flock is busily scratching around their area.
  • Any chickens that are not moving around need to be watched.
  • Are any chickens holding their wings or tail down?
  • Make sure they are all breathing normally.
  • Look for any discharge from the eyes or nasal passages.
  • Check any odd looking chickens for parasites.

What do you do if you notice that a chicken or several of your chickens appear to be ill?

  1. Capture and isolate any chickens that look sick as quickly as possible.  Separating them from the rest of the flock is vital to helping prevent the spread of any illnesses.
  2. Consult a vet in your area if you are not sure what the problem is.  Birds tend to hide illnesses so chances are that by the time you notice you have a problem, it may be too late to save the bird.
  3. Take precautions so that you do not spread the illness yourself.  Change your shoes and clothes when you leave the area your sick chicken or chickens are being kept in.  Do not go around your well chickens without putting on different clothes and thoroughly washing your hands.

Common chicken health problems and chicken illnesses can quickly get out of hand if they are not handled quickly.  Your whole flock can be affected and in some cases, it can result in the death of a lot of your birds.

Find out what it takes to keep your chickens alive. Click the link below and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Get your FREE report on the 7 deadly mistakes when keeping chickens at home.

Nov 172010

DSCN1009 Common Foot Problems In Chickens

If you keep chickens long enough, you are going to have to deal with some type of foot problem eventually.  Raising backyard chickens is usually pretty straightforward and easy.  As long as you provide clean living spaces, shelter, food and fresh water, you should be on your way to raising happy, healthy chickens.  But there are some common foot issues that you may have to deal with.

Foot problems in chickens are not uncommon at all.  Remember, they only have to legs and feet so if one or both of them have a problem, then it is going to affect the mobility of your chicken.  But, most chickens tend to be able to adapt pretty well to any handicaps that they may have.

What causes the common foot problems in chickens?  Some foot problems are genetic or may be caused by growth that happened too fast. When chickens grow too fast, too much pressure is put on the still developing feet and problems result.  A friend of mine has a hen that has one foot that we are not sure if it is deformed or the toes were broken. They are not normal for sure but she gets around just fine.

But other foot problems in chickens are a result of nutritional deficiencies and poor living conditions.  Scaly leg mites can be a huge problem for example because they dig under the leg scales and make your chickens lame.  The scales are raised and it is very uncomfortable for your chickens.  It can be difficult to treat but one of the best remedies I have found is Vetrx Poultry Remedy – Vet-Py-2Z-X – Bci,2 fl.oz.  If you have this problem, give this product a try.

Old hens are also prone to developing arthritis which can be very painful.  Their feet get very thick and don’t want to bend very well. You will need to make accommodations for these chickens when this happens.  These hens as I said are usually old which means they don’t move as quickly and don’t really want to move around as much as the younger chickens.  What I do to make their lives easier is to separate them from the main flock so that they don’t get harassed by the hens and roosters.  They also don’t have to struggle for food and water.  I have lower perches, thicker perches and I also have nesting boxes with thick bedding that some of them prefer to sleep in at night.

How can you tell if your chickens are having foot problems? 

The best way is to take some time and just watch your chickens every day for any signs of problems.  Chickens are fun to watch as they scratch around so it shouldn’t be too hard to do.  If you notice any chickens that aren’t moving around like they should or any that appear to be lame or holding a foot up, they need to be looked at more closely.  Look for swollen feet, obvious cuts or injuries, scabs on the foot, etc. Take care of any problems that you notice immediately so they don’t get worse.

  • How can you help prevent foot problems in chickens?
  • One of the best ways is to practice good hygiene in your chicken houses, chicken runs and any other areas your chickens are allowed to roam.
  • If there is a large drop from your chicken house to the ground, then provide some ramps because constantly dropping down to the ground can cause injuries.
  • Make sure that your chicken flock has soft ground, grass or hay to stand on to cushion their feet.
  • Only give your chickens high quality feed to ensure that they are getting the proper nutrients that they need.
  • Provide different sized perches with different surfaces to help prevent arthritis from developing and to make it more comfortable for your birds.

Birds that have foot injuries should be isolated from the flock until the problem resolves itself.  That way your chicken will be to eat, drink and roost without having to compete with the other chickens and possibly injure itself further.

Another thing to keep in mind is that birds with foot problems should not be bred because there may be a genetic component. You don’t want an entire flock of birds with foot deformities or foot problems.

Get 9 tips to help you raise your backyard chickens and find out how your chickens can contract parasitic worms by CLICKING HERE. 

Oct 152010

Backyard chickens are usually pretty hale and hearty creatures.  But if you have your own flock of chickens, you may find that you have to deal with some chicken health issues from time to time.  Cannibalism in chickens is one of those problems that can crop up under certain conditions.

Generally speaking, most chicken health issues can be prevented with meticulous care of your birds living areas and by providing quality feed and clean water.  But, even if you provide the best of care for your backyard chickens, it is still possible for chicken health issues to crop up.

Under certain conditions, your chickens can turn on each other in cannibalistic behavior.  The flock will pick one bird to cannibalize and then move onto another one when that one is killed.  Some chicken breeds like Barred rocks and California Grays are less prone to cannibalism than others.  If you are worried about this problem, you can talk to the hatchery you are going to get your chicks from and ask them to only give you the non-cannibalistic chickens breeds.

While some birds are just more naturally prone to cannibalistic behavior, there are some things that can increase the chances of you having the common chicken health issue. 

  • Overcrowding your chickens is one thing that can really cause a spike in cannibalistic or feather picking behavior in chickens.
  • Not providing enough feeders and waterers for your chickens can cause excessive competition for “scarce” resources.
  • Birds that are malnourished will also turn on each other very quickly.
  • Cages that have wire floors increase the chances that your chickens will become cannibalistic.
  • Using sand on the floor of your chicken house and chicken run will also cause increased incidences of feather picking or cannibalism.  You should only use shavings or straw in these areas.

There are several things that you can do to help reduce this common chicken health issue. CLICK HERE to find out what you can do to help stop this problem.

Oct 112010
Backyard Chickens

Backyard chickens. "Violet" the rooster with two of his ladies.

Keeping backyard chickens is very popular these days.  Chickens are easy to keep, even in a small area and the eggs and meat you get from them taste wonderful. Anyone that is keeping backyard chickens needs to be aware that internal parasites can be a real problem.  Many people prefer to try a natural or herbal chicken parasite remedy before they move to the harsher chemical wormers.

I personally don’t know how effective natural or herbal chicken parasite remedies are at eliminating an existing parasitic worm infestation but I think they can be effectively used to help prevent infestations in the first place.

First, to help prevent parasitic infestations in your existing flock, quarantine any new birds that you buy for at least 30 days.  Do not let them near your flock and take fecal samples to a local vet for testing.  Treat these birds if you need to and make sure that the parasites are under control before you let them around your flock of chickens.

Second, if you think you have a parasitic worm infestation in your established flock, take fecal samples to your local vet to find out what types of parasites you have to treat for. 

Whether you use natural or herbal chicken parasite remedies or chemical remedies, you have to remember that all parasites have a life cycle.  Even if you manage to kill the adults with your first treatment, there will still be eggs inside your chickens that will hatch and start the cycle over again.  The typical cycle of most parasites is 2 -8 weeks so be sure and treat more than once during this period of time.  Then take more fecal samples to your vet to be sure that the parasitic worm load is under control.

There are some natural remedies that many people swear by.  I still worm my birds once a year with chemical wormers but I do also use the more natural or herbal chicken parasite remedies throughout the year.

Garlic in your chicken’s water is touted as being very effective at controlling internal parasites when used in conjunction with worm repelling plants like wormwood and mintPumpkin seeds that are chopped up or ground up are supposed to help control tapeworms in hens.

Effective pasture management is the only way to effectively control parasites on your land at the moment.  The best way to keep chemicals out of your pastures is to rotate your chickens from field to field. That will allow the parasites to die when your chickens are not in these areas. 

Planting natural plants that help repel parasites can also be done.  Wormwood is a decent sized bush and peppermint is a creeper.  You chickens will use both as natural hiding places.  They will also pick at the leaves and brush against these plants which will help get rid of internal and external parasites.  Citronella or lemon grass grows in large clumps that have great smelling leaves. It is supposed to help keep flies, fleas and mites away. 

Other plants that are recommended for your chicken areas are:

  • Dandelion
  • Yarrow
  • Sage
  • Nasturtium

 These are just some suggestions to help minimize the parasite load in your chickens.  My belief is that natural or herbal chicken parasite remedies have their place in parasite control.  These plants provide cover for my chickens, add color and scent to my yard and help fight the battle against chicken parasites.  But, they only grow in the warm months so the rest of the year you are left without their parasite protections.  For that reason, in my opinion, it still makes sense to ensure the health your chicken flock by using a chemical wormer once a year.

To learn more about chicken keeping issues, CLICK HERE.

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Oct 042010

There are a number of chicken health problems that can crop up seemingly overnight.  Common chicken health problems include chicken fleas and mites which can suck the life out of your chickens.  Many people commonly misdiagnose the two.

I have a friend who has been raising chickens for years.  She called me the other day completely freaked out and said there were tiny parasites in her hen house and she didn’t know what they were.  When she went out to clean the bedding out, the parasites were crawling all over her, her kids and upon close examination, her chickens. 

She doesn’t do well with bugs so she asked me to run out there and take a look at them and help her out because she was so grossed out by the parasites.  When I got there, we caught a few of the chickens and we figured out that they were covered with chicken fleas, not mites as she first suspected. So we had to figure out how to get rid of them. 

The important distinction here was that these parasites were chicken fleas because they live on the birds themselves, not just in the hen house and chicken run.  Red mites only come out when it gets dark to feed and they pretty much hide out in the hen house.  Where as chicken fleas crawl around all over the place and will crawl all over you when you get within range which is how they spread.  I had to be very careful that I didn’t take them home to my flock!

After some research, we found out that we had to do a complete kill of everything; the hen house, the chicken feeders, chicken waters, the perches, the chicken run, etc. with malathion.  We used a flea bomb first in the chicken house and we gave the chickens a malathion bath.  This is just what we decided to use however, there are several products that you can use to kill the chicken fleas.  They have a lifecycle that you have to interrupt so you have to treat for them every four days until they are gone.

She was lucky in that her husband is very handy and it was warm outside.  He put up a quick, ugly temporary “shed” for the birds for a few weeks.  It was made out of some old plywood and chicken wire that he had.  Then he tore it down after the chickens were moved back to their original home.

The key to preventing chicken health problems is to regularly dust your hen house, chicken run and your birds so that you don’t get this type of infestation.

Click Here  to get more information on common chicken health problems and raising healthy chickens.

Do you want to build your own chicken coop?   Click Here to get more information on chicken coop designs and chicken coop blueprints.

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