In the Coop
When a chicken gets sick or injured, it is important to try and quarantine it right away. Chickens are good at hiding their sickness. They cannot show weakness or they will be at the bottom of the pecking order and may even be killed by her flock mates. The flock cannot appear to have any weak members or it puts everyone at risk of attack by predators. We have a quarantine cage in the chicken barn. If a chicken gets hurt/sick, we put her in the cage so the other chickens can't get to her.
We actually have a couple of quarantine cages, just in case we need to separate a couple different chickens at one time. A sickness can spread through the coop quickly so it is important to remove any infected chicken right away. Here is a list of symptoms of a chicken that may be sick: runny or liquid poop, wheezing, rasping, sneezing or ‘coughing’, pale comb, lack of appetite, bad smell, or swelling of the wattles or comb. Of course, some of these may be hard to identify if you have many, many chickens. We have been pretty lucky, knock on wood, mostly we have had to use the quarantine cages for injuries and not illnesses...maybe that is not so lucky...I don't know...
If a chicken gets hurt and there is blood, the other chickens will peck at it. They LOVE to peck at red things. In fact, the nipples on the nipple waterers are always red colored to encourage the chickens to peck at it and that is how they learn to get a drink. I made up some antibiotic ointment to put on the chickens if they are hurt. Here is the recipe from Backyard Poultry magazine:
3 oz calendula infused oil
0.5 oz beeswax
10 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops oregano essential oil
10 drops Vitamin E
1 Tbsp honey
Melt the beeswax in the oil. Turn off heat and add essential oils, vitamin E and honey. Stir well and then quickly pour into tins to let set up.
I also keep some Vetericyn Plus Poultry Spray on hand in case an injury is larger and a spray would be better than rubbing ointment into it.
Keeping this blog shorter. Spring has sprung this past week and there is MUCH to do. I was busy yesterday on the farm and then took a minute to look around and noticed that the grass is really starting to green up! I am expanding the flower area and we have a BIG surprise coming to the farm next week! I will post about it on the Facebook and will have a blog post all about the surprise in a couple weeks. So eggcited!!!
Getting seeds of vegetable and flowers started! Here is a pic of some lettuce, arugula, and spinach that I have started. I am so excited that all these plants have been started from seeds that I saved from last year!
Looking forward to longer and warmer days!
Have an eggcellent day!