A Letter to Beginners Regarding Emergencies and Illnesses

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by micstrachan, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    Interesting about the vets! Amazing they can ever treat! My main avian vet uses the wrap in towel method, except when a suprelorin implant was given, an assistant held the bird... wings restrained, feet up, breast forward. A different avian vet told me they give their suprelorin implants subcutaneously on the back. Other than that, the chicken has always been standing on a table for treatment. I still pick up my birds briefly occasionally and gently set them back down so they aren’t afraid of it. They don’t particularly like it. but tolerate it fine.
    As far as handling little chicks, I’ve only raised two batches so far, and here is how it went down:
    First batch: four humans, four chicks. Everyone held one each night. When my husband eventually tired of chick holding, the kids and I would rotate her in. She ended up liking handling the least. As luck would have it, she also got EYP at one year old.
    Second batch: Six chicks and only one person interested in handling them, since we also had a puppy. When they were really little, I would handle all six each night, two at a time. When they got bigger, I would put a towel over my lap, open their little cage door, and straddle my legs to contain them. Eventually, I’d put a towel over their cage, lift them up top, and lay my arms across for them to perch on. Once they moved to the grow out coop in the garage, I’d place a low (beach) chair near their gate, open it, and block it with my legs. Sometimes all six of them would line up perched on my towel covered legs! Here is a photo of five of the six of them on my legs (and one right beside) in the garage just outside their little grow out coop:
    1F26F5DF-92DD-4E4A-8F5E-2C4FEFCADEA7.jpeg 6F594816-D7BB-4E07-9C38-BDC48752D182.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
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  2. PouleChick

    PouleChick Crowing

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    I think I struggled with the first hatch in particular as it was my new to me at the time silkie who didn't know / trust me so didn't want me anywhere near the chicks and would cheep 'run away scary lady / danger' to them when I came near! She was better with me on her second hatch a couple of months later.
     
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  3. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    Lovely pictures of the chicks.
    For the past six years and often in the two preceding years I’ve been with each mum as the chicks have hatched. For some they hear my voice along with their mothers while they are still in the egg.
    I’ve found that because the mothers accept me (exactly what as I have no idea) the chicks don’t seem to have any fear of me. For the first few weeks, mother permitting, I can handle the chicks at will. It has got to the point where the chicks and sometimes mum, will jump on my lap and as long as I don’t try to restrain them in any way, will happily doze off.
    Then comes a ‘teen’ period when they tend not to want any contact. It doesn’t last long because they see the seniors completely unbothered by my presence and of course I touch the seniors quite a lot when examining them for lice, or feather damage, or to tend an injury.
    It seems that I eventually get accepted as something; whatever that something is, I’m not seen as a threat. This doesn’t necessarily mean I get compliant behavior, sometimes it works the other way, particularly with some of the males.
     
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  4. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    Once you’ve got the confidence of the mum your most of the way there.
    Something that rarely gets mentioned is how you treat the mum while she’s sitting. I read a lot of post where people are taking eggs away from the mum to candle them or generally play, and disturbing a sitting hens eggs effects the chicks development later. Mum knows this. She spends hours maneuvering her eggs into exactly the right position only to have some clown come along and mess them all up!
    I am extremely careful if I have to lift a sitting hen off her eggs for some reason and don’t touch the eggs unless it is absolutely necessary. Even if there is a dead chick hatched, I don’t disturb the hen or the clutch until the mum gets off the eggs.
     
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  5. PouleChick

    PouleChick Crowing

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    I agree with you, I chose to have broodies over a 'bator and I've tried to let them get on with it (I certainly had no idea what I was doing and both my girls had had babies before so figured they'd know better than me!). I candled once on day 10ish as I was scared of an exploded one.
     
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  6. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    How’s it going with your 7-year-old learning chicken language? :)
     
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  7. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    Well so far, now that we are at the 6 week mark with the first batch of chicks, I’m still not sure if she’s understanding the be calm and don’t make sharp noises... but the grabbing from above has stopped, mostly due to sharp beaks and nails I think. It’s a process that’s for sure. I’ve got about 4 identified roosters, and I’m trying to get her to be more aware of them and how they protect and talk with the other chicks. Kids can be harder to train than animals I’m finding... reminds me of teaching my niece, now 10, how to speak cat (it only took one good swat* and bite for her to get feline “no” sounds.

    It would help if I had more experience personally with chickens. The temperament differences between my girls and cockerels and the production chickens they usually run on the farm are astounding. The difference having a cockerel in the flock seems to make is pretty clear, now I’m just going to have to get a bunch more hens to keep the boys busy!
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
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  8. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    Isn't that the truth and many adults too.
    It reads to me as if you're going about it in a sensible manner.
    The experience comes if you spend time with the chickens and observe their behavior.
    I'm always at odds with the view that chickens make good pets. Ime experience it takes an awful lot of time and patience to establish some kind of trust.
     
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  9. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I’ve made some horrendous mistakes in the past. I found it really difficult to get accurate information. Even with accurate information, individual chickens can be so different and the places one might seek advice are often biased in their view of the nature of the chicken and what treatment is and isn’t acceptable.
    A corner stone of BYC’s ethos is chickens make great pets, consequently much of the advice is based around this. It doesn’t take someone new to chickens to discover that chickens require an awful lot of patience and work before they become accustom to being handled and as an out of the box pet they can be a disappointment and occasionally downright dangerous. There can’t be many ‘pets’ where such a large percentage of one sex are killed because they can be more difficult to handle.
    I read an awful lot of literature and forums years ago and eventually I was left with two books as guides and otherwise read ‘scientific’ papers.
    These are two books I would recommend:

    Diseases Of Free Range Poultry by Victoria Roberts BVSc MRCVS

    The Chicken A Natural History by Dr Joseph Barber.

    On the Internet ‘Google Scholar’ will find you lots of academic papers on chickens.
     
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  10. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I would seriously recommend the second book for you @PouleChick
     

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