5 Common Chicken Health Problems
If you have chickens, you are going to have chicken health problems
Here is a list of the most common chicken health problems and what to do about them. Keeping your chickens healthy is key to maximize egg production. It is especially important if you are raising chickens for meat, loss means less meat in your freezer.
Lice & Mites
Just like kids, chickens can get lice. Lice and mites grow out of control and cause a major infestation fast! They suck the blood from your birds and if left untreated, will be fatal. To prevent lice and mites, dust chicken coops and birds with something called Diatomaceous Earth. Hold your bird by the feet and let it hang upside down. This does not harm the bird. Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth around the vent area and gently shake to let it fall under wings. Often referred to as DE, the diatomaceous earth is a natural, food grade organic fossilized organism that has been ground to a powder.
Worms are easy to see and easy to treat. It is not pleasant, but make sure to keep an eye out on chicken poo. You do not need to study it under a scope or pick it up. If you see it on the ground, just take a peak. If you see any worms, head to the feed store and buy a wormer. It is as simple as adding it to the water. Worms can also be fatal if left untreated.
Coccidiosis (known as cocci)
Coccidiosis is a an intestinal disease caused parasites in the intestinal tract and digestive system. The parasites multiply very quickly and wear away at the intestines. This prevents the chickens from absorbing any nutrients from the food they consume. Signs of cocci is blood in the poo. Again, not fun, but keep an eye on poo! Your local feed store will have the treatment needed which is usually a powder added to the water.
Upper Respiratory Infection
Chickens get sick just like humans. Signs of upper respiratory infections are sneezing, coughing, hoarse sounding cackle or crows, lack of appetite, lethargy and weight loss. If your bird has an URI, remove the bird and place it in solitary confinement in a warm, dry area. Add a packet of Sav A Chick electrolytes or baby pedialyte to their water. Let the bird rest and wait it out. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to treat a URI.
Laying age hens can often become what is referred to as “egg bound”, this occurs when a hen produces an egg that can not be laid. The egg literally gets stuck and won’t come out. Egg binding can drastically affect a hen’s health quickly. Signs of an egg bound hen can be walking slowly and squatted to the ground, lack of appetite, not acting as normal, egg laying suddenly stopped. If you suspect your hen is egg bound, place her in a shallow bath of warm water and epsom salts. This can help to loosen the vent and pass the egg. Sometimes more drastic measures need to be taken like helping to remove the egg. Contact an avian vet before attempting this.
This post is not meant to scare anyone, only to educate. Do not let this list deter you from raising chickens. Every animal has a list of common health problems and the majority is easily treatable.
Read our Top 10 Ways To Keep Chickens Healthy , this can help to prevent some of these common problems listed here!