Chickens and Illness

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by harvestfarm, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. harvestfarm

    harvestfarm New Egg

    Jul 26, 2010
    I am on the board of a community garden that is 2 years new and 1 full year into adding chickens. We struggled the first year with trial and error with the coop and recently moved the chickens to a gardener’s home until coop revisions were made. During their visit they became ill and we incurred a few hundred dollars in vet bills to get them healthy. The board is now debating if the time and money we have spent on the chickens is worth having them on site. So far we had overwhelming response to taking care of the chickens. I am hoping some of you can give me some answers as to what we should be expecting as to cost of care so we can decide if long term this is an acceptable project.

    How common is it for chickens to get sick? Is there anyone that can give me an idea of what you spend on upkeep such as vet bills in addition to food on an annual basis for 3 chickens?

    Is there another community garden which has had success with chickens that at some point has dealt with these decisions?]
    Is there a community garden that has had success with getting a local vet or organization to sponsor health care for the chickens?

    We also know it is not about the money but the learning experience and proper care of the chickens. We do know if we move forward we need to be better educated on care of the chickens so are more aware when they need additional care.

    Any help you could give me would be appreciated. I would love for us to keep the chickens but we as a board need to be making an informed decision.
  2. ca

    ca Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2010
    Let me first say I think it's a great idea to have community garden chickens!

    Now to your question: Cost & Illness

    In general the healtheir your chickens live (adequate food, shelter, water...) and the less stress they have the less they will be sick.
    Some breeds are more prone to getting sick, avoid those. (I am NOT an expert on this subject.)
    Illnesses can be brought in by visitors especially in your case since you are dealing with a lot of people frequenting the place. Illnesses are also brought in by wild birds.

    Now to the part of dealing with illness. You might have a problem with decisions since there are many people opinions involved.

    Option A 0$: (old school backyard chicken owner) Any bird getting sick is removed from the flock and put down.
    Option B $: Preventative medicine, vaccination and deworming on a schedule. Sick birds are removed and put down.
    Option C $$$$: (for those who absolutely don't want their pet to die) Bring sick birds to the vet for treatment.

    There are unlimited variants and shades of these options.

    Personally I don't think you should stop having chickens! But sit down with the group and discuss what you want and why you have them.
    Having a chicken die can also be a good life lesson for children.
  3. williamsl77

    williamsl77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2011
    Guess I gotta agree with the above post. My chickens got sick and I took one to the vet. I knew it wasn't going to be too helpful, but I was a little desperate at the time trying to gather as much info as I could. I had already done my own research and gotten the chickens on the path to recovery (including diagnosing what I thought was going on and getting them medication). I was hoping the vet could give me more management information, but they were kind of useless. At the time, I was thinking of it as saving the whole flock, so the $70 seemed more reasonable.

    I think you'd need a sort of ring leader for the chickens (or at least a small number of people really in charge of their wellbeing). I think too much traffic without someone sort of keeping big pictures tabs on them is probably not great for the birds. And this ring leader person would become the chicken expert, so to speak. I do think chickens at a community garden would be pretty awesome. Again, a hearty bird is a good idea. Leghorns, I think, are supposed to be a very sturdy, excellent egg producing bird.

    Good luck!

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