Despite the most attentive chicken keeping, one of your birds will get sick sooner or later. It’s essential to have the ability to recognise the signs of illness and act fast — chickens are good at hiding their symptoms, so by the time you notice, they are generally very sick indeed.
If you believe that your chicken is ill…
A veterinarian always gets the best possible way of helping your birds and will have the ability to diagnose any issues with far greater details than any online source.
This article is a useful guide, but merely just guide — your vet is your best solution!
Diagnosing chickens is a huge challenge: they hide their symptoms, and could not let you know what’s wrong even if they wanted to. Furthermore, lots of the external symptoms aren’t specific to any one illness.
–Not drinking or eating
-Weakness or lethargy
-Pale comb or wattles
-Diarrhea or abnormal droppings
-Fluffed up feathers
-Other unnatural behaviour
If any combination of the above describes your chicken, she might be sick, and you need to take her into the vet ASAP to get specific diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of respiratory disease
Respiratory illnesses manifest unique symptoms in contrast to most other ailments.
Again, it’s practically impossible to get a backyard keeper to recognize the specific illness in question. You have to take your chicken to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. This will often involve antibiotics that your vet may prescribe.
General treatment choices
If, for some reason, you can’t bring your chicken to the vet immediately, then there are a few simple things which you can do to improve her probability of recovery.
–Isolate her from the rest of the flock to avoid any possible spread of illness and decrease bullying from healthy chickens.
-Keep her in a well ventilated and dry location.
-Provide a lot of water and food. Give treats if she will not eat her normal food-eating anything is better than nothing.
-Give a teaspoon of yoghurt for a few additional probiotics. Do not overdo it as this may lead to diarrhoea.
At times, a little TLC might be a chicken wants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. After you’ve gone to the vet, it could be worth checking your coop setup — windy dust and loopholes are a common cause of illness, and repairing these issues will help keep your flock healthy.
Some disorders have particular symptoms (in addition to those described above) which can help with home identification.
Coryza: [respiratory] Extremely swollen eyes, and a very rancid odour.
Coccidiosis: Occasionally leads to bloody faeces.
Avian flu: [respiratory] Dark, reddish spots on legs and comb, and sudden death. This disease can infect people, so be extremely cautious if you suspect it. Report any cases to the community government immediately.
Impacted harvest: Swollen crop (a pouch in the front of the body), which is very tough to the touch.
Sour harvest: Swollen harvest, which can be mushy to the touch, and a rotten odor from the mouth.
Botulism: Tremors of increasing intensity, end in death.
Bumblefoot: Infected wound .
Egg binding: The bulge of a stuck egg at the exit to the port.
Frostbite: Pale, slightly blue comb or thighs.
Pasty butt/vent gleet: Droppings caked over the buttocks.
Mites or lice: Pale comb (from blood loss), and compact insects among feathers.
Worms: Proof of worms in droppings.
If your chicken is acting strangely, but does not appear to be showing signs of illness, they might just be broody.
They may not look very appealing to me or you, but from a chickens point of view mealworms seem as yummy as a home cooked meal prepared by someone you love. Even though they have the feel of crumbly corn chips, these tasty little morsels will drive your flock wild with temptation. Only a small part of these previously wiggly wonders is enough to enhance your chickens’ health and well-being so that they can live life in their flip-flappity best! Stick your beak into this easy to digest article with the top 7 reasons to feed mealworms to your hungry feathered friends.
1. Just a couple mealworms goes a long way.
Be sure to don’t create an entire meal from your mealworms alone. Generally speaking, adult laying hens should have a diet of approximately 16% protein. Younger chicks and pullets of course have additional protein in their chicken feed, or extra mealworms in their diet for that matter, to help them as they grow big and strong. Your laying hens will obviously eat the entire bag if you allow them, but make sure you limit their intake to the recommended serving size. Moreover, do not go overboard when you feed your hens with mealworms.
2. Power your hens with protein.
Protein is a vital part of any living creature’s diet, especially chickens. Not to mention chickens will need to have plenty of protein so that they can develop lustrous plumage to keep them warm in winter. Therefore, it only makes sense that any poultry owner needs to make certain that her hens have loads of protein in their diet. Mealworms are usually the natural choice, as every meal worm is nearly 50% protein — HOLY HEN!
3. Mealworms will help your hens through moulting season.
During moulting season, which generally occurs throughout autumn and spring, it’s essential that each and every chicken owner boosts their flock’s protein intake in 1 way or another. Mealworms are an especially good option, as they are a dense source of protein, which will aid your chickens grow their feathers back in no time. It’s also important to be aware that your flock’s immune system will be reduced throughout moulting season, so it is critical that you fortify their diet with a few tasty mealworms, to help them through this challenging season.
4. Bulk up your eggs with mealworms.
Naturally, when your chicken has enough protein in their diet, they’ll have the ability to produce eggs at their best. There have been many accounts of chicken owners noticing an improvement in size and flavour of their eggs after they began to feed their flock the recommended serving size of mealworms. Remember, eggs are almost entirely protein, so mealworm are the perfect extra treat in any laying hens diet.
5. Will help to flip the bedding in a deep litter system.
This may seem slightly left of focus but anyone who uses a deep litter system is always looking out for a simpler way to turn the bedding. Let me clarify, chickens absolutely love mealworms — actually it sends them a little loopy with enthusiasm. By scattering an appropriate serving size of mealworms blended in with feed within the deep litter system, your chickens will start to scratch and peck in the bedding, consequentially mixing it through. Long story short, you won’t have to get out the scoop and blend that hot and heavy bedding through.
6. You will love watching your chickens munching on the mealworms.
You think your hens are excited when they lay an egg just wait until you see how they act when they find out they’re having mealworms for dinner. Like many chicken enthusiast has stated before,”if my hens are happy, I am happy”.
7. Your chickens will love you for it.
As many poultry owners already know, chickens are very responsive to food. There are countless anecdotes of chickens charging across the backyard when their doting owner comes out of the house holding a feeder full of poultry feed, with maybe a few mealworms blended through. Food is just one of the great joys in any chickens’ life, so it’s only right that any chicken lover should provide a few snacks and variety in their diet. Mealworms are simply something that all chickens will love. Do not be a scrooge. Be sure you treat your hens to mealworms every now and then.
Are your flock looking a little itchy? Possibly their feathers are ruffled for no cause. Mites and lice are annoying, bothersome problems to have with your backyard flock, and should be dealt with quickly as it can spread out to all the other feathered good friends. For the fastest way to eliminate these pests examine out our guide. For more comprehensive information, we chatted to Claire Bickle, gardening and poultry specialist to get the tough realities about how to get rid of these mites, should they become a problem with your chickens.
Let’s begin off with some common FAQ’s about these parasites:
What’s the difference between lice and mites?
Well, both are extremely annoying and rather small. The distinction in between the 2 is that mites endure by eating the blood of your chickens. Some survive on the chickens, some live in their housing and come out to feed at particular times.
Lice however do not feed on the blood– rather they survive by consuming the skin scales and particles in their feathers. They also live their entire life on the chicken.
Both lice and mites, if left neglected are harmful to your chickens’ health, so you must definitely do something about it as quickly as possible.
How are they transmitted?
Lice and mites are usually transmitted by wild birds who bring the parasites entering into contact with the coop, or your chickens. Keeping an eye on animals like turkeys and other native birds is important for your flock’s health.
Can they be sent to other animals such as my animal dog or cat?
There’s no definite response as to whether lice or mites will transfer from chickens to other animals. Evidence recommends that the animals like to hang out on other mammals, so it’s worth examining your animals to see whether they’ve got a mite or lice problem. If they do, check out their bedding and their fur– if you presume any activity, give them a good clean and a warm bath.
Ok, now lets get into the various types of lice and mice that can impact your flock.
1. Red Mites (also called ‘Chicken Mites’)
Red mites are a few of the most common mites that affect chickens, and among the most annoying.
Red mites are typically spread out by wild birds coming into contact with your chicken coop. From here, they hide in the dark areas of the chicken cage throughout the day, and after that come out in the evening to feed upon your feathered buddies, as soon as again pulling back when the sun turns up.
To determine whether this mite is the culprit of ruffling feathers in your flock, have a close look at your chickens plumes and skin– if you can see red and black little spots, then these are more than likely red mites.
How they affect your chickens:
The mites can cause your chickens to become anaemic if left untreated. If further without treatment, death may happen, so act quickly!
How to avoid Red mites:
As mentioned previously, wild birds coming in contact with the cage is one of the most common ways red termites can be transferred. Taking measures to prevent birds from sitting on your cage is recommended. In addition, if you are presenting new birds to the flock, quarantine them initially to ensure they don’t move any mites to your existing feathered good friends.
How to deal with Red mites:
Contrary to some drastic techniques, the chicken coop does not need to be burned– it will take a few treatments to get rid of all of the termites, however it will be well worth it!
Ensure you are treating your chickens during the night, as this is the time when the mites will come out from the coop and are active. You can provide a dust of Pestene (a sulphur and rotenone powder), which must dehydrate the mites and effectively kill them (this is likewise safe to the chickens). You need to take on the coop– this is what will get rid of the mites.
Keep the chicken cage very clean– roosts, nesting boxes and the yard! Ensure you thoroughly deal with the bedding also, do not conserve it for the garden compost. When the cage has been scrubbed tidy, spray it with a high pressure hose, guaranteeing you pipe out every crack and corner. Let the cage dry in the sun for a couple of minutes, and after that give it an excellent spray again.
Then, provide the cage’s dark nooks and crannies a generous spray with some Absorbacide (a natural insecticide) or diatomaceous earth. Ensure that when you apply these, that they do not get damp– they will not be as effective. Using a set of gloves and also dust masks is advisable– these powders aren’t poisonous, however it is a stong powder, so may offer you a sneezing fit!
Other coop treatment options consist of Coopex, Pestene and Hydrated Lime.
2. Northern Fowl Mites
Northern Fowl mites are comparable to the Red mite, in that they eat your chickens’ skin. Unlike the Red mite, the Northern Fowl invests its whole life on the chickens. This indicates that the negative impacts of the mites will be much faster, so it’s really crucial to treat them as quickly as they’re discovered.
How they impact your chickens:
The Northern Fowl mite will also cause anaemia in your chickens by feeding upon them, and if unattended will cause death.
How to avoid Northern Fowl mites:
Keep the cage clean, and avoid wild birds and rodents from penetrating the cage and spreading the mites. Clean up spilled feed and anything that might bring in undesirable weird crawlies!
How to deal with Northern Fowl mites:
Right away treat your chickens with a safe insecticide– attempt diatomaceous earth, absorbacide or Pestene. A couple of days later on, deal with the chickens once again– this will get any staying eggs and mites. If none of these insecticides work, contact your vet who might have the ability to recommend you another poultry insecticide.
3. Scaly Leg Mites
These critters are so small that they can not be seen with the human eye– however, they can easily be spotted by the results they leave on your hens.
How they affect your chickens:
Scaly Leg mites weasel their way into your chickens scales on their feet, where they feed and likewise leave droppings. This will make your chickens legs appear crusty and scabby– and if left unattended will infect the remainder of the flock and trigger them terrific discomfort. If left without treatment for a very long time, they may cause death.
How to avoid Scaly Leg mites:
Keep the coop spotless. Likewise quarantine any new birds you may be contributing to your flock, and ensure they aren’t currently affected with the mites– otherwise they might infect your chickens.
How to treat Scaly Leg mites:
Offer your chickens a good bath in a tub of lukewarm water, and carefully tidy them. After they’ve dried off, dust their whole body with some Pestene or diatomaceous earth.
You will also require to give the coop an extensive cleansing. Remember to dust the coop with Pestene or diatomaceous earth.
Different types of lice:
1. ‘Shaft louse’
There is one primary type of lice that affects our poultry, typically referred to as ‘shaft louse’ as they rest on the chickens plume shaft. They have to do with 1-6mm in size, and typically a mustard colour– they likewise move fast. You should not have any difficulty identifying lice on your chickens.
How they impact your chickens:
As mentioned earlier, shaft louse feed upon the scales and feather particles of your chickens. If left neglected, they will cause a variety of issues in your poor birds, such as feather pecking (you’d be pecking your plumes too if you were being bitten!), weight reduction, skin irritation, a pale comb, along with behavioural modifications i.e. listless nature and a drop in egg laying production.
How to avoid Shaft Louse:
Ensure your chickens have access to a dust bathing area– this is the most reliable approach they have of keeping parasites off themselves. Also watch out for any wild birds that have contact with your chickens or the cage– this is how the lice (and mites) are normally sent.
How to deal with Shaft Louse:.
Dust them with a pestene powder or diatomaceous earth if you’ve found lice on your chickens. Likewise, dust the coop thoroughly (make sure when doing this, so your chickens respiratory systems aren’t inflamed). This should cure the issue. Again, ensure they have an area to dust bathe in!
Preventing lice and mites:
Capturing a mite or lice problem early is the crucial to an easy prevention– however, with a little patience and effort you can deal with lice and termites yourself.
Crucial suggestions and pointers to keep in mind:
- Keep the cage tidy, and make sure you get all the dark corners and hidden areas.
- Quarantine new birds and check them for any termites prior to presenting them to the flock.
- Pestene/diatomaceous earth/other safe insecticides are your finest buddies!
Chickens require an area for dust bathing, even if they’re in a cage always. This is the very best prevention for lice and mites.