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How to Keep Your Chickens Disease Free

Updated on June 19, 2013
Providing Fresh Clean Water For Your Chickens Is Very Important
Providing Fresh Clean Water For Your Chickens Is Very Important
Keeping and raising chickens for meat and eggs can be a lot of fun and an interesting hobby.
Keeping and raising chickens for meat and eggs can be a lot of fun and an interesting hobby.

Chicken Diseases And Keeping Healthy Chickens

One of the key things to keeping healthy chickens is to make sure that everything around your chickens stays very clean. A lot of people don't keep their chickens and their chicken coop clean enough. You can not let your chicken coop get to the point to where you are smelling chicken manure or your chickens will be in danger of getting sick. Your chicken coop needs to be cleaned at least once a week.

You need to make sure that no rodents are around your chickens and you need to make sure to take care of this because rodents can spread diseases to your chickens. So do what ever you need to so that rodents will stay away from your chickens.

Chickens can and do catch and have respiratory diseases. Aspergillosis is one of the respiratory diseases that chickens can have and if you suspect your chickens have this disease you need your veterinarian. If the disease can be caught early enough the vet can give your chickens medications to cure the disease.

Diagnosing Chicken Diseases

If your chickens suddenly stop laying or their feathers start dropping out you most likely have a problem. You need to get to the bottom of the problem to find out how seriously sick your chickens are or what may be causing the problem with your chickens.

If your chickens suddenly start picking at the feathers of their coop mates or at their own feathers your chickens may have mites or they may be suffering a nutrition deficiency. Did you suddenly change your chickens food. Maybe you need to return to the chicken food you were using.

Did You Bring A New Chicken Home Recently?

Did you recently bring a new chicken home and then you noticed your other chickens getting sick. You want to be sure that any chicken you bring home is very healthy. If you have any questions or concerns don't bring it home with you. You don't want to take the chance of making your chickens sick.

My Chickens Are Acting Strange

My chickens are suddenly acting strange. The eggs have slowed down and they are losing their feathers. Something is wrong but I don't know what.

If this has happened with your chickens then its time to call the vet and see if the vet can visit your chickens and see what the problem is. If otherwise healthy chickens stop laying eggs or start dropping feathers there is usually a problem and you may need a vet or county agent to discover what the problem is.

If you find a dead chicken in your chicken coop remove it as soon as possible but hold onto it. Call the vet and voice your concerns.

Help Part Or All Of My Baby Chickens Vanished

If this happens to you then you have a predator problem. It could be a feral house cat, a snake, or some other type of predator. I always check for rodents first. Look for gnawed holes in your chicken coop or places where a predator might have squeezed in. What other kinds of signs can you see. Did you find any remains. If you find nothing you need to call in someone who can tell you what is going on. Look for a large black snake in the rafters or under the chicken coop. Are the chickens acting scared.

It can really floor you for all your baby chickens to vanish. It has happened to me in the past and will most likely happen to me in the future but I'm doing everything I can to prevent it. Always have moth balls under your chicken coop or chicken house where the chickens can't get to them. Moth balls will not prevent snakes 100 percent but they will discourage most snakes from hanging around. You want to be sure to snake proof your chicken group as much as possible. Its not possible to keep snakes out of your chicken coop to a 100 percent certainty. But you can get close. At the same time that your snake proofing your chicken coop or chicken house you want to set it up to be rodent proof.

This means filling any small holes with steel wool and then plaster. Anywhere that a rat can get its head in it can get in. So you have to make your chicken coop as rodent proof as possible. If you can fix it so rats can't get in then snakes won't be able to either. After losing many baby chicks to snakes and rats I wrapped my chicken coop on the inside and outside including the bottom of the chicken coop for three foot up on each side. I stapled the wire mesh down about every two inches to prevent a rat from gnawing its way into my chicken coop. If there is a very small hole even the size of a dime a rat can quickly expand it and crawl through it. Once a big mean field rat gets inside your chicken coop it will quickly kill and eat your baby chickens. Snakes can get in through holes you would not think possible. If your missing baby chicks or eggs look around carefully for a snake.

Help Something Is Wrong With My Chickens

If you suddenly notice a dead chicken or you notice your chickens looking different its time to try to get to the bottom of what ever type of chicken problem your having. If you find a dead chicken or dead chickens in your chicken coop remove them from your chicken coop but hold onto them until a veterinarian has looked at them.

A good vet who is knowledgeable about chickens should be able to check out your chickens and tell you what is going on. Predators will sometimes kill chickens and the chicken will just be laying there. The vet needs to see this chicken or chickens to determine what caused its death.

How To Keep Your Chickens Disease Free

Preventing diseases in chickens is much easier than trying to get rid of a disease your chicken already has. And you should know that keeping your chickens healthy is essential to keeping your chickens laying eggs on a regular daily basis. If you provide your chickens with proper food and clean water you'll be rewarded with fresh eggs and you can use the surplus chickens you raise for meat for fried chicken, chicken pot pie, and chicken & dumplings. If you click those links you'll find some of the best recipes you'll ever get to make and enjoy.

If you want your chickens to be healthy you need to provide your chickens with a combination of laying mash and cracked corn and plenty of good fresh drinking water and your chickens will provide you with plenty of eggs and meat. The laying mash that you feed to laying hens has lots of nutrients and calcium in it that laying hens need. I mix my chicken feed up 80 percent laying mash and 20 percent cracked corn and I have hens that lay plenty of eggs and they are always healthy. I use automatic watering devices to make sure that my chickens always have a source of clean fresh water.

Keep Your Chicken Coop And Chicken Yard Or Yards Clean

I hate to go to barn yards where I can smell chicken manure and dirty chicken coops. Its very important when you build your chicken coop or buy a ready made one that it is easy to clean. You must have easy access to the chicken coup and you should be able to shut your chickens out of the chicken coop while you clean it.

Cleaning Your Chicken Coop Is Very Important

You need to wash out your chicken coop including nest boxes, floors, and roosts at least once a week. I use a hose pipe and I suggest you do the same. I have cut a couple of very small doors in the bottoms of my chicken coops so the waste and water can easily be washed out of my chicken coop. I have it set up so I can move the chicken coops every so often and I rake and shovel up the chicken manure and other waste and put it onto my vegetable garden plots. This makes for rich soil that will produce big vegetables. You have to be able to close up the doors you cut to wash out waste or rats and other predators will come in your chicken coops.

I can not stress enough that you must keep your chicken coops and chicken yards clean or your chickens will get stressed and get sick. You must keep everything about your chickens clean or your chickens can catch a disease from being kept in unsanitary conditions. You must be sure to keep rats and mice out of your chicken coops or they can eat your baby chickens and your eggs and spread disease.

Chicken Tractors Are A Great Way To Keep And Raise Chickens And Other Fowl

If you have the room chicken tractors are the perfect way to keep and raise chickens both for meat and eggs. Chicken tractors can be moved easily and you can raise chickens, ducks, and turkeys all this way. Chicken tractors are easy to keep clean and you can use the ground where the chicken tractor was for a great vegetable garden.

Control Mosquitoes Around Your Chickens

You don't want to allow standing water around your chickens or mosquitoes can easily breed and raise in the standing water and mosquitoes can quickly and easily spread diseases among your chickens and other fowl. I keep standing water to a minimum and I've even put up bat houses to help control the mosquitoes. Bats eat huge amounts of mosquitoes.

Be Careful About Buying Chickens Or Other Fowl

Be extremely careful when you buy chickens or other fowl and bring them home to your farm or where your keeping your chickens. Be careful that you don't buy sick chickens or other fowl and bring them home. You can easily infect your chickens or other fowl this way and possibly even kill your chickens. So always be careful. You also want to keep a careful eye out for mites. People will often buy chickens infected with mites at a sale or other location and then before they know it their chickens back home are infected with mites. You will want to do your own research and learn how to spot mites and other health problems with chickens you may want to purchase and bring home.

Do Your Chickens Have Mites?

If you have chickens that suddenly for no reason start losing feathers especially around their tails you will want to check carefully for mites and if you have them you'll want to be sure to check with your veterinarian about what to use to rid your chickens of mites.

Wash Your Hands On A Regular Basis

Make sure that you and anyone that comes in contact with your chickens washes their hands well before working with your chickens and after they finish working with your chickens. You should wear protective foot coverings when working with your chickens.

Also be sure that any and all equipment used to work with your chickens gets washed with warm soap and water on a regular basis.

Keep Your Chickens Healthy

You will want to do everything possible to make sure that your chickens stay healthy. You need to make sure that your chickens are fed the right food and that they always have fresh clean water. Be sure that they are protected from rodents and that you keep any and all rodents as far away from your chickens as possible. Your chickens need to be kept in a clean place that is cleaned on a regular basis. Your chickens will need plenty of fresh air and sunlight. The real key here is that you want to be sure that your chickens stay stress free. Stress can and does make chickens sick so be sure to keep this in mind. Be sure that your chickens have enough space to be happy.

If you ever have questions or concerns about the health of your chickens consult a veterinarian. Ask your vet if there are any vaccinations your chickens need in your particular area. Your local vet who works with chickens can give you a lot of valuable information about keeping and raising chickens in your particular area.

Chicken Diseases

One of the worst diseases your chicken can get is Avian Influenza. This is a very serious disease and it can kill every chicken and every other fowl you have. If your chickens get this disease you will most likely loose every chicken you have.

Fowl pox is a disease that can quickly spread among your chickens but it is not generally fatal. Your chickens will exhibit skin lesions that will spread over the head and beak area. it can also cause large scabs to form on your chickens. It is spread by a virus and if you suspect fowl pox call the vet as soon as possible and do what the vet says to do.

Lack Of Calcium

You need to be sure that your chickens get a good calcium supplement because chickens that do not get enough calcium can become very sick. Their bones will get soft and they will get where they can not stand. Your laying hens need a good calcium supplement in their diet and they need to be fed a good protein rich diet and plenty of fresh clean water to stay healthy and happy.

And while those are some of the more serious diseases that can effect your chickens there are many more diseases that can effect your chickens and make them very sick. If your going to be keeping and raising chickens for eggs and meat you need a good vet who will ideally visit your chickens if it is needed. You don't want to have to round up all your chickens and take them to the vet. Its best if the vet will come to your chickens.

Mites In Poultry

Mites are very small parasites that suck the blood of poultry. You need to learn everything you can about mites and know the signs to watch for if you suspect mites. If all of a sudden your chickens start to lose weight or the egg production slows down suspect you may have a problem. If the vet will visit your birds now would be a good time for the vet to come check for mites.

Treatment for chickens infected with mites varies but two things that must happen is a full and thorough cleaning of the chicken coop and treating the coop for mites to get rid of them. The vet will tell you exactly what to do to the chickens.

Purchase food grade diatomaceous earth at your local home and garden center and sprinkle it in your chicken coop. It will control and eventually get rid of mites and lice on your chickens and in the coop. Be sure to put the diatomaceous earth in the nest boxes also. If your chickens are heavily infected you can even sprinkle them with the diatomaceous earth. Just be sure it is food grade.

Be sure that you and your chickens don't inhale to much of the diatomaceous earth as it can cause lung irritation in chickens and humans. Dusting it in the chicken coop on a windy day is not recommended. I always wear a mask when I'm putting it out.

If you think your chickens are sick always call a vet.

Thanks For Reading My Hub Page On , How To Keep Your Chickens Disease Free

I appreciate you being here and reading my Hub Page on Keeping Your Chicken Disease Free. If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or tips please post them now. And thanks for reading. It is appreciated. If you found this information helpful please share this Hub Page with your family and friends.

Be sure that you know everything possible about the health problems of chickens.
Be sure that you know everything possible about the health problems of chickens.

Please post your comments, tips, suggestions and questions about , How To Keep Your Chickens Disease Free now. And thanks for reading.

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    • adjkp25 profile image


      6 years ago from Idaho

      We have lost a couple of our chickens to either age or something making them sick but this has happened only a couple of times.

      After reading this I am happy that our flock has been in good health for as long as they have (knock on wood). We do see mosquitoes but they haven't bothered the chickens. We also have a couple of feral cats, owls and hawks that could care less about our birds.

      My wife cleans their coop out every week by scraping off the manure from the boxes and then removing all of the straw from the ground. She then puts in fresh straw and they are good to go for another week.

      I think our flock stays health because they are free range and spend most of their day roaming around the yard and not locked up in their coop.

      Good advice on what to keep an eye out for on the diseases risking our feathered friends.


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