Keeping Your Chickens Healthy

Keeping your chickens healthy
By willowbranchfarm · Feb 21, 2012 · Updated Mar 27, 2012 · ·
  1. willowbranchfarm
    Keeping your chickens healthy
    My healthy Silver Laced Wyandotte free ranging!

    Here are some ways to keep your chickens healthy and happy.

    1.Cleaning the coop
    Cleaning the coop is very important for keeping happy, healthy chickens. If you don't clean the coop you risk an infestation of lice, mites, and other parasites. Cleaning your coop isn't always easy but it sure is worth it. Start by getting all the bedding from the floor of the coop and the nesting boxes and dumping it. If any eggs have cracked then make sure to clean up that mess too. Then if needed you can scrub any really soiled spots with some soap and water. Dry it then put some fresh shavings in. Don't Use Cedar. It is toxic. (I use pine shavings) Also if you want to you can use a Garden and Poultry Dust to dust the coop and it keeps out parasites. My chickens sometimes perch in the nesting boxes and poop in them instead of laying eggs in them. Clean out the poop in the nesting boxes everyday or when needed. If your chickens (like mine) perch on top of the coop during the day, there will be a lot of poop up there. Scrape it off.

    2.Cleaning Feeders and Waterers
    Cleaning these out around every two weeks is a good idea. If you have a plastic waterer it gets pretty slimy so you will need to scrub that with some soap and water. If you want to put some Apple Cider Vinegar in the water, but only in plastic waterers not in metal. If there is any poop in the water dump it out and give them some fresh water. Make sure your chickens have fresh clean water at all times. The feeders aren't very dirty unless they have been pooped on or have gotten dirt or something in them. Clean the with soap and water. And make sure you rinse them well.

    3. Keeping Feed Clean
    Make sure that you store your feed in places were bugs, mice, and rats wont get into. Plastic containers or metal trash cans work fine. Always make sure that the tops are closed and make sure that the feed inside cant get wet and turn moldy. Make sure there is no poop in the feed (like mice and rat poop).

    4.Worming Your Chickens
    If you want to worm your chickens then worm them if you see any worms in there poop or if your chickens have been around other poultry that has them. There are a lot of different wormers, and you can easily find them in your local store like Tractor Supply or Southern States.

    5.Letting your chickens free range
    This is a great way for you chickens to get some nutrition by eating fresh bugs and grass. Also getting out in the fresh air is good for them instead up being cooped up in a run. If you cant free range your chickens then instead you could move there pen to a fresh patch of grass (if you have a movable coop) you could also buy a pen and use that for them. They love being able to go run around in a new place.

    These are just a few of the things to keep your flock healthy. There are a lot of ways to help your flock stay happy and healthy but these are the basics. I'm sure you can find other ways too. Reading a searching for ways to keep your flock healthy is a good idea if you want to make sure they get the care they need, and some times you come across something very helpful you didn't expect.

    My Mutt Rooster and Buff Orpington Hen free ranging.

    Thank you for checking out this page. If you have any comments or questions feel free to ask me. I would be happy to answer it and to see your comments.

    ~Willow Branch Farm~

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Recent User Reviews

  1. ronott1
    "Nice Article"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 25, 2018
    Good points for chicken keeping
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 27, 2018
    Thanks for quick and concise info. Didn't know I could put acv in the water, I'll definitely try that.
  3. CCUK
    "Keeping them healthy"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 23, 2018
    Good cleanliness and clean fresh food and water are a good start. Regularly checking chickens and dealing with problems before they turn into an issue is the way to go.


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  1. Lanrewaju Adewale Adetola
    You have a good right-up here. more grace to your elbow.
    its really educative.
  2. Ronnie2
    Nice article, I have let my chickens free range in spring until late fall, because of owls, and hawks. Living in N.E. Texas we have a lot of greens popping up, and plenty of bugs under the oak trees have fallen leaves. I guess I need to build a chicken tractor.
  3. sassysarah
    This is Awesome! Great job! Very helpful!
  4. NapaChicknGal
    good info -- thnx
  5. ECarter1217
    im worried about free ranging my girls too many dogs loose
  6. Ridgetopchicken
    I am having a terrible time with my chickens loosing their feathers around their tails and from the vent up the chest. I can't figure out what is causing it. Their skin gets all red and the other chickens peck at the bare skin. What could be causing this problem. Any ideas?
  7. NeeCee51
    I use dries fast and droppings clump and can easily be gotten rid of. Plus you can mix in Barn Lime once a year to keep it cleaner. I use it in the coop and in the run..
      chickenmeadow likes this.
  8. Donnah23
    Thank You. any and all information is great.
  9. Mountain Peeps
    Awesome article with great info and pics!!!
  10. Chrystal Dawn
    I agree with Bubba. Roosters are rough. My houdan used to have a lovely afro and now it's looking a little over tweezed because my silkie rooster is always on her.
  11. chicknnugget
    Is one of the chickens with the feathers on its back the rooster? If the rooster, and one of the hens both still have feathers, then he is just not that into her. That girls not getting any "attention". The others are getting too much attention. Sounds like your rooster is not a gentleman to his, girls either way.
  12. anirishfarmer
    great advice thanks for sharing
  13. OKchkman
    Great read. I give the chickies fresh water twice a day as well as cleaning the waterers. I have 8 birds for most of the day they stay in an enclosed pen (8' X 12' X 6') due to stray cats and dogs, but in the evening when I get home from work I'll let them run around freely out of the pen for about an hour. On Saturdays from about 6am to about noon I'll be doing garden work or just messing in the yard so I give them a few hours of free time. I keep a BB pistol on me just in case a stray cat gets too curious.
  14. sissyrme
    fultzie...straw is wonderful bedding as it generates heat to keep your chickens warm. Great for dog beds too. I have a burlap bag I filled with straw for my dog...she loves it! Ducks love to eat and sop it in the water to keep it apart but somehow they will find a way to make a mess anyhow! Nature of the beast as they say...but got to love them! One way to stop it is to raise water off the ground...bricks or hang waterer with chain. They still will use there beaks but cannot get their feet in it as well. Keeps the water a bit cleaner too as less poop in it. Sprinkle mite dust over your straw too...keeps them healthier. I like pine shavings mixed in too...especially in there bedding.
  15. sissyrme could move them daily to a new section at a time. Their poop is good for fertilizer too! The eggs will be that color because they are home grown and not injected with drugs like store bought! Keep feeding them from your leftovers...good scratch or mash...mix some cracked corn in feed to make it go further...when you mow your lawn toss them some fresh grass from mower! You could also grow some rye or wheat from seed...they love it!
      Chickadoodle53 likes this.
  16. sissyrme
    copperridgerose...mating can cause the loss of feathers...remove the rooster for a few weeks and see if they come back? He sometimes catches them for mount by their rears...or holds on to them with his feet to mount. No worries...their feathers will come back!
  17. Fentress
    Keep em moving! Why clean the coop when you can move it. Of course, it needs to be floorless.
  18. Spikes Chooks
    Rather than gravel or rocks, coarse river sand is really good
  19. cluckcluckluke
    Great article!!!
  20. Just Chicks
    I have tons of flies ESP now cause of the hens....I bought DE to try to control the masses but as my hens are being organic fed etc I was wondering if it is ok to use with them and will my eggs still be considered organic?
  21. carlsaSC
    I tried apple cider vinegar in my water once. I have a plastic reservoir with nipple feeders, so thought it would be good for them. I do have well water which tends to be sweet (high pH), but I was surprised when after a week, there was slime build up on the sides of the reservoir. I may have to add extra acv to bring the pH down and out of the slime building range, but there is ordinarily no slime during the week between fill ups. Have not done any scientific studies nor do I know whether bringing the pH down would still allow the water to be palatable.
  22. Nutcase
    Nice work!
  23. hedz82
  24. jflanny
    Is it your hens that are losing feathers on their backs? It might just be from being serviced by your rooster. Also sometimes once some feathers are gone, the others will pluck and pull at that area. But several of my hens are a little light in their feathers on their backs as they seem to be the favorites of my rooster Pepper. I purchased a hen saddle which is a little cloth "saddle" you can put over any hen that might be losing too many feathers. Also you can purchase a spray called Blue Kote that you can spray over wounded areas. Chickens will pick at bloody areas but don't like to pick on blue or purple colors and the blue spray seems to prevent the picking.
  25. Oklahomachick
    Does anyone know anything about putting Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide in the chickens water? I have heard some farmers put it in their pinds for the fish & the fish grow bigger & the meat is better. Also, when their cattle drink from the ponds they are healthier. But no one seems to know about putting it in the water for chickens.
  26. cluckcluckluke
    Just recommending using Lime around the coop, flooring. Everywhere really! Some people put a thick layer down every 2 months or so but I sprinkle some around every 2-3 weeks. It just keep things fresh as it is a natural disinfectant, Sweetener.
  27. redneck farmer
    nice thanks for the advice
  28. bethbug74
    copperridgerose: You answered your own question in the first sentence. You have 1 rooster and 5 hens. Your hens are saddlesore because your boy doesn't have enough ladies to divide his attentions amongst. The one that isn't losing feathers simply isn't his favorite, so she doesn't get pounced on much. Invest in hen saddles, or just get more ladies for your roo to enjoy.
  29. cluckcluckgirl
  30. willowbranchfarm
    Trace James- your hens should be fine if you get another rooster just introduce him slowly.
  31. Bryan Morales
  32. trace james
    i just lost Our Rooster (spike) and Our Hen Sparkle!! =( very sad.....we had them free range every other day we live in the country and it was day light when something Happened to them. fox or feathers found or bodies. were stilled shocked as can be now were down to 6 hens. one of our chickens was Attacked she has a hole in her back and she is limping. put Bacitracin on her back she is eating and drinking so she is not to Bad. watching her constantly.... first time w/ chickens they wee just over a year now and lost 2 my Question is will the hens be ok. if we should get another rooster?
  33. Beast
    I needed that info thanks
  34. Dorking Daisy
    Great info for some one like me starting out new.Thanks
  35. SeanBlack
    my coop is 8x8 how much chickens would i be able to keep
  36. willowbranchfarm
    I'm so sorry for your loss. It is probably from heat. You can put a couple fans in there runs,put ice in there water and I think I've heard of people putting ice packets in the nesting boxes so they dont get too hot. Make sure they always have clean cold water and shade. I've heard of people putting misters in the coop so they can get cool. I hope this helps.
  37. Honey Pride12
    Please help!! South Texas heat is extreme about right now. I don't know if it's heat stroke, disease, or ??? The last couple of days I have found two of my Barred Rock girls dead in their nesting boxes. The shed where they are is shaded and is subject to a slight breeze. So I don't know if it is just the heat. I also have Ameracaunas and Production Reds, as well as, a mixture of Rhode Island Reds, and Heinz 57. I have not found any of them dead yet. There are no visible signs of trauma but I did notice a yellowish liquid coming out of one of their beaks when I picked it up. The water is filled daily and cleaned. I haven't introduced any new birds and there are no chemicals around so I just don't know. I have never experienced sudden death in my flock of close to 60 birds. Please help!!
  38. Honey Pride12
    I like to give my girls leftover cantaloup, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, squash, oatmeal, rice. They will eat just about anything. I also give them grass clippings. Their main course is 18% crumble with chopped corn and milo. I talked to a man at the feed store and he told me the corn is not a good idea b/c it makes the birds overheat from the energy needed to digest the corn. (I have some walking fusion reactors in my back yard)
  39. willowbranchfarm
    As long as they don't eat the hay (stalks) It could cause there crops to be impacted and that would be not good.
  40. eggcrate
    We have 10 2 month old (hopefully) chicks that are waiting their new coop. We have them in a smaller coope with a run & let them out supervised in an outside area several times a day. I had been using timothy hay as a ground cover in their run but ran out & I bought a bale of oat hay is that ok ground cover in the run? I did put some Oat hay in there last night & now aftter reading the above post not sure it was a good idea. They do get alfalfa flowers from hay & orchard grass cut up some & really enjoy that so I thought the Oat hay would be ok
  41. willowbranchfarm
    Roxannemc-I have seen something like that in a book. If you did some research I'm sure you could find something. :)
  42. Roxannemc
    I would loveto know if there is a worming or vaccine schedule like for dogs... for chickens.I havent seen it spoken about
  43. sinkorswim
    @snoggle-I give them everything green I can find,weeds,grass,tree branches,ect.They get every little scrap from my kitchen as well as I buy them things like collard greens,cabbage,various types of leaf lettuce ect.In exchange for eggs I even have my neighbors bringing my hens their kitchen veggie/fruit scraps.Maybe I could build a raised tray but isnt giving them the grass clippings basically the same thing?I also would be concerned with them scratching on anything with a wire type floor-foot injury.
  44. snoggle
    Sinkorswim - Do you ever give them weeds that you pull up? Some of my weeds are their favorite things. Also, do you give them fruit and veggie scraps. Mine love the tops off of Strawberries. They eat the green and the little bit of the berry that is left. You can also build a wire frame that you can put over a raised bed or part of the yard that will allow them to eat the grass blades that are coming through the frame, but not scratch up the ground below (killing the grass). Someone on here posted pictures of the frame they built for that purpose. I'll see if I can find it.
  45. sinkorswim
    @seeare99-I have started giving grass clipping from the lawn mower but only at certain times because we do spray the yard for bugs.I live in Florida so its something that is a necessary evil.I dont spray the area the chickens live in.And we wait a couple weeks after the lawn is sprayed to give them any grass.They like the grass but honestly if they are let out they may snack on a bit of grass but honestly they would much rather just dig like its going out of style.In 30 minutes they can start destroying what little grass I have coming in.When I lived in Michigan my chickens never dug like this,this seems to be a Florida chicken thing?I am at a loss as to what to do other then to keep them in their barren area and give as much greens as I can afford to buy.
  46. seeare99
    @sinkorswim I have found that when I cut my yard and the bag the grass if I give them a handful or so they are quite content. Also note that I do not spray my yard with any chemicals.
  47. blondiebee181
    I haven't heard of yogurt as a wormer, but it is good for their digestive tract. I use wood pellets (the kind you usually burn in a stove) in my coop. It's a welded wire floor with a pull-out poop catch drawer. The wood pellets work great because they are so absorbent, and they make the coop smell way better. I put dry construction/traction sand in the run about once a month and it works great at keeping things dry. The sand acts more like cat litter so the poops dry out quickly and sand cools down really fast so the girls don't overheat. I feel these tips are especially important when you are dealing with ducks. I have one duck in with my four hens and they poop a lot more and they are wetter. Good tips in this article!
  48. Shelby12
    This information was very helpful. Thanks.
  49. copperridgerose
    Thanks so much for the advice!!
  50. LaynaDon95
    @Mylilchickies: Are you just trying to plan ahead, or are you having mud problems? I haven't had my own chickens, or heard of other people's chickens, making mud. The way chickens drink doesn't allow for them to make mud. Granted, they can knock over the waterer, but that can be solved by hanging it from the ceiling, or getting a heavier waterer. If you are having mud problems in your chicken area, you should change the watering design if possible. Putting down gravel, like willowbranchfarm said wouldn't be very good for your chickens.

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