Chicken Health

Healthy Chickens are Happy Chickens

Parasite, lice and fleas can all be irritating to chickens. Prevention is the key to avoiding dealing with a sick chook. There are many options available, including natural alternatives. If you suspect there is a problem (ie looking off-colour and/or not laying) flip the chicken over and have a look at its underside. Chickens will stop laying if they are being hassled by pests. It is easy to treat by dusting the birds and coop with products available at your local produce store, or vets.

The main disease likely to occur in domestic poultry is coccidiosis. This disease occurs in the intestines of young growing poultry. It is caused by a microscopic parasite which can build up in the poultry shed, especially in warm, damp and crowded conditions. Symptoms of a coccidiosis outbreak are bloody droppings, poor growth, decreased feed intake, weight loss and death. If coccidiosis should occur it will be necessary to treat the birds to ensure health is maintained and deaths are minimised. Water medications are available to control coccidiosis outbreaks.

Moulting & Egg Production

Laying hens have a natural response to day length affecting the number of eggs laid. During autumn and early winter, when days are getting shorter, hens will tend to lay fewer eggs or may stop laying altogether and go into a moult.

A moult is a naturally occurring cycle that all hens go through a number of times during their life. During a moult a hen will stop laying, shed a large amount of its old feathers and replace them with new feathers. When the moult has finished the hen will start a new cycle of lay. This is why egg production is normally greater during spring.

What we grow for our chickens and their suggested use:
Worms – Chives, Garlic, Lemon Grass, Mint, Nasturtium, Peppermint
Lice – Lavender, Lemon Grass, Peppermint, Rosemary
Immune System – Comfrey, Dandelion, Echinacea
Digestion aid – Allspice, Anise, Ginger

A once-a-month health tonic:
In a blender put – 4 stalks asparagus, 3 cloves garlic, 1 chili, a few chives
add 1 tsp dolomite, pinch epsom salts, splash of cider vinegar. Mix in a handful or rolled oats. Mix well. This should help keep your girls healthy and productive.

Garlic is a wonderful restorative and can be given occasionally to boost your chickens immune system. Add a clove of garlic in their drinking water (peel it but don’t crush). Also Cider Vinegar.