Episode 23 Show Notes
In Episode 22, we talked about sending baby chicks through the mail. I made the statement that you cannot send adult chickens via the post office. Turns out I was wrong! You can indeed ship adult chickens through the mail!
I Learned that the Hard Way [06:20]
I went to the back door in my bare feet and total darkness. When I opened the door to see what the dogs had cornered, something fuzzy ran across my feet and into the house. Although I didn’t see it, I was convinced it was a raccoon… or at least something I didn’t want to meet in bare feet.
It turned out to be a stray cat, and we managed to shoo it out onto the porch, across the yard and into the neighbor’s yard. Two lessons learned from this: don’t open the door closest to all the noise, and be sure to put shoes on before you plan to go outside in the middle of the night.
Things You Can Do to Keep Your Flock Healthy [10:28]
If you have a flock for any length of time, you will have to deal with illnesses or injuries. Unfortunately, not too many vets are hip to taking care of chickens, so you may very well have to figure out treatments on your own.
Here are some things you can do to respond to health issues, or to prevent them in the first place.
Keep a Chicken First Aid Kit [12:12]
Keeping some first aid supplies and equipment can make it much easier to respond to a situation with your chickens. A well-stocked kit can contain forty or more items, which can be a daunting task. Rather than give you the full list all at once and scare you away from the project, we’ll give you some items to start with and then we’ll suggest more items to add in future episodes.
You will need some basic protection items such as latex gloves, eye protection and masks. These will help prevent you from infecting your chicken, but also prevent mystery fluids from squirting into your mouth or eyes.
Compile some basic instruments as well, such as dog nail clippers, tweezers, and scissors.
Blood stop powder and Blu-Kote are helpful to have handy.
Chlorhexadine is a good disinfectant to clean wounds. You can also use hydrogen peroxide diluted to 50% strength, but there is some thought that hydrogen peroxide will kill both dead and healthy tissue. If you don’t have chlorhexadine, use diluted hydrogen peroxide for the first cleaning and then go get chlorhexadine for subsequent cleanings.
A triple antibiotic ointment is also helpful. This is the same one you might have at home, but make sure it is not a formula with pain reliever. Check the ingredients to make sure it does not have anything ending in “caine” or “cane.”
These are some basics to get you started.
Keep Feed and Water Clean [20:45]
Check feed often to make sure it doesn’t get moist and moldy.
Likewise, check water often to make sure it has not become contaminated with algae. If you have a more complex watering system, check all parts to make sure that mold is not growing anywhere.
Check for Parasites Often [23:30]
Every month, make sure you check each chicken for external parasites like lice, mites and fleas. They tend to like the vent area of chickens, so check that area to see if anything is crawling around back there.
Likewise, check chicken poo each month for signs of internal parasites such as worms.
Keep Coops Clean [27:43]
A dirty coop can be a breeding ground for microorganisms that can make your chickens sick. Change the shavings often enough to prevent ammonia smells. Scrape chicken poo off of surfaces.
Also, make sure you deep clean your coop once or twice per year.
Limit Their Exposure to Disease Carrying Animals [31:58]
Clean up spilled feed to avoid attracting rats and mice.
Wild birds can spread diseases to your chickens. Use a covered run so wild birds can’t mingle with your flock. Also, avoid parking a chicken tractor under a tree where other birds congregate.