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.

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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Jun 232010
 

chicken breeds Did You Buy The Right Breed Of Chicken For Egg Laying?

Your chickens have become old enough that they are beginning to lay eggs but you might wonder “How many eggs are normal“.  Look back to when your your chicks initially were picked up and brought home.  They were so tiny and irresistible and funny that it was tough to envision them ever being big enough to lay eggs for you. It is truly amazing that these birds can lay eggs so consistently.

As your chickens get older, you may get a little worried because they weren’t laying eggs like they used to.  As egg product decreases, many people obsessed that they are unhealthy or that they are doing something wrong.  Usually, there is nothing wrong with chickens and is normal.  There are a lot of things that can put your chickens off laying whether it is for a short time or in some cases, forever. I found out that there’s not an easy response to that question since how many eggs are normal for your laying chickens will depend upon a number of things.

5 Egg Laying Essentials

* The breed of chicken matters.  Chicken egg laying is almost completely dependent on the breed of chickens that you invested in.  Anyone that is relying on the fact that you are going to get one egg every single day from every single chicken is going to be disappointed.  A large percentage of chicken breeds will not lay eggs regularly and prolifically for you.  If you are concerned about getting a large number of eggs, it is advisable to pick the breed of chicken you because that is not what they were bred to do.

* How old are your chickens? What is assumed to be to be customary “chicken egg laying” for your hens will also depend on the age of your chickens.  Remember, the majority of hens will be the most prolific egg layers through their first year or two of laying.  As your hens become older, they will lay smaller amounts of eggs and they won’t lay eggs as regularly as they did when your chickens were more youthful.  But the flip side of this is that older hens usually produce larger, better quality eggs.  Older hens are also not as  prone to contracting diseases than more youthful hens.

* What season is it? Winter, summer, etc.  Chicken egg laying is dependent on the time of year and the weather.  Most chickens should produce more eggs more consistently during warmer weather and the longer days that come with summer and fall.  During the cold winter months and in periods of unbearable heat, don’t be alarmed if you find that you do not get any eggs at all.

During these times, you will find that egg production will normally be irregular and you will only get an egg if you are really, really lucky  As long as your hens still look healthy and happy, it is perfectly normal and there is usually nothing wrong with your flock.

* Are your chickens moulting?  Any time you note that your chickens are molting (losing a lot of feathers) your egg production will drop.  How do you know if your chickens are moulting?  If you start noticing a lot of feathers on the ground, they are moulting.  Moulting is hard on your hens and can cause your chickens to produce a smaller amount of eggs than is typical for your flock.  Don’t worry though because as soon as they are done moulting, your hens will start to lay again.

* Are your chicken healthy?  The number of eggs your chickens lay will be almost completely dependent on how hale and hearty your chickens are.  If you notice that your chickens show an abrubt decline in laying, then something may be up with them. Carefully inspect the legs and feet of your chickens carefully for scales that are raised or swollen as mites may just be your problem.  You have to get rid of the mites or your chickens will not be able to lay very many eggs.

* Give them enough room. Even if you only purchased breeds that are specifially bred to be laying chickens, they will not produce if they are kept confined in an area which is overly crowded or an area that is not kept properly ventilated and is not clean. You might have to build more chicken coops and chicken runs so that you can split up your flock.

These are some of the common reasons why your chicken egg laying may decline.  Most of the items discussed really can’t be fixed and you just have to live with lower production.

Click on the links to find out more on chicken health and common chicken health problems.

 


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