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.
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.
A lot of poultry owners feel worried and distressed when they open up their nesting containers to find out not a single egg has been actually laid. What have I done? Why have my chickens stopped laying eggs?!” Some committed chicken lovers find this moment so distressing that they temporarily develop hostile or contemptuous thoughts for their laying hens, but others put this perceived failure upon themselves and agonise over what they may have to cause this mockery! The wisest chicken owners know that this is all part of the natural cycle of a laying hens life and no eggs now does not always mean no eggs tomorrow. So, instead of tear yourself apart with shame and frustration, read this short article that will explain eight reasons which may be causing your laying hens to dry up.
1.The natural pattern of moulting will postpone egg development
It’s quite natural for chickens to moult throughout the autumn months, for example March through to May in Australia. This is a natural process that leads to all chickens to shed their feathers, because their body prepares itself to grow much more full and gorgeous plumage. Over these months your laying hens will appear slightly haggard and world-weary, however let me assure you that this is an entirely natural and essential part of being a chicken. One of the important point to note is that during this time you need to be vigilant and ensure that your laying hens have a balanced diet of protein (chicken feed) and calcium (shell grit). Other snacks, like yoghurt, berries and porridge won’t go astray either, as they often contain helpful vitamins and nutrients that will help your laying hens through this sometimes difficult moment. The upside is if your laying hens continue to put after their moult it’s very likely that your chickens with lay larger eggs. So, don’t despair when your laying hens start to moult, just look at it like your chickens are updating their egg maker.
2. Excess of bad food in their feeds
There’s the false perception between some well-meaning chicken lovers that a fat and happy chicken may in fact produce larger and more scrumptious eggs, but this is a total fallacy. Overweight laying hens, broadly speaking, are very unhealthy and their bodies won’t have the ability to function as they would if they were at the correct weight level. So, be certain that you only provide your laying hens the ideal types of treats, in addition to maintaining a balanced diet of chicken feed, shell grit and lots of water.
3. Not enough time in Sunlight
Not all first time chicken owners understand that laying hens need lots of time out in sunlight, otherwise they are unable to produce their eggs. This is due to the fact that there’s a gland that exists behind their eyes, which in response to sunlight produces certain types of hormones which cues the chicken’s body to begin egg production- that’s a really simple way of explaining it. The Automatic Door Opener is a perfect solution if you’re someone who prefers to stay in bed at six in the morning. Naturally, during seasons like winter and autumn when there are reduced daylight hours, chickens may begin to put less or stop entirely. Some breeders rectify this by introducing heat lamps and artificial light simulators, however that is left to the discretion of the owner, as some more organic farmers don’t feel comfortable playing the chicken’s biorhythms.
4. Your hens might be getting a bit old
Average laying hens will begin to produce fewer eggs once they are 72 months old. At the end of the day there’s absolutely no way from quitting laying hens from getting older but that doesn’t mean you must stop loving them.
5. Broody Hens
There comes a time in each chicken’s life when they feel pressured to be a mother. As most chicken owners do not let their laying hens to spend some quality time with a rooster, some chickens get really confused and believe that their eggs may be fertilised. This is usually referred to as broodiness and it often effect hens for five to ten weeks.
6. Stress can divert your chickens from laying
Chickens may look like tranquil creatures but through the laying season they are delicate and neurotic artists who need total concentration, otherwise they won’t be able to create their eggs. There are things which could cause your laying hens to feel distressed and distracted, such as untamed dogs, over-excitable kids, predators and enthusiastic owners who might be sticking their beaks to the nesting boxes too regularly. Additionally, transferring your laying hens to a new coop or introducing new chickens to the flock can also stress your chickens out, which in turn will inhibit them from laying. It is actually an excellent idea to put off any sort of significant modifications that will alarm your laying chickens to a time of the year when you don’t expect them to be laying anyway.
7. It may be a signal your chickens are suffering with lice and fleas
If you’re still unsure what may be causing your chickens to prevent laying you might wish to consider taking your laying hens for a check-up at the VET. Firstly however, check to see if there are any mites or lice within that dermis or on their skin which might be causing them distress. If you do find some mites or lice just clean out the coop and think about giving your chickens a wash, otherwise the fleas will continue to torment your poor hens and you won’t be able to enjoy their scrumptious eggs.
8. Disease and discomfort will stop eggs in their paths
There are a plethora of disease that laying hens can capture will often result in some terrible symptoms, which normally comprises a reduction in egg production. Most disease will often result in your chicken experiencing a period of diarrhoea, which can be characterised by excess mess around the poultry’s port. Once more, in the event you notice any typical signs of symptoms, which may include uncharacteristic reduction in eggs, please contact your local VET.
Most of the time laying hens cease to make eggs permanently or temporarily for a number of natural motives, such as age, season or moulting. Though a lot of us wish our laying hens would cook up tasty eggs for us for many, many years, this unfortunately is seldom true. The best thing you can do is relax, accept the facts and show gratitude to your laying hens, which have worked very tough for you for 72 weeks or more to prepare fantastic, nutritious and delicious eggs to you.