Everyday chicken care & prevention routine - what to look for?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jonalisa, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. jonalisa

    jonalisa Codswallop!

    May 28, 2013
    My Coop
    I saw a post on another thread where BYC member, aart, asked:

    "Have you examined them very closely for lice and mites by taking them off the roost at night and parting feathers down to skin around vent, neck and under wings?"

    I had not heard of this before. My pullets are about 14 weeks and I am a beginner, so this made me wonder What else I should be doing on a regular basis to keep my chickens healthy? Many of my chickens are still a bit skittish when it comes to being handled, so I think I could also use more tips on getting them used to handling, as well.

    Thanks everyone!
    (And thanks to aart, who I always manage to learn something from.)
  2. Messipaw

    Messipaw Songster

    Apr 3, 2013
    I feed threats to them and inspect what I can like eyes, waddles and feet.

    I'm following this thread to read the replies as well. Good luck.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I don't do that regularly. I rely heavily on basic observation. If a bird is alert, active, feeds well, interacts appropriately with the rest of the flock, and is productive as appropriate I really don't mess with them. So, my birds don't get "routine physicals".

    If a bird seems off in any way....listless, losing feathers, pale comb, suddenly aggressive to flock mates, self-isolating, pretty much anything out of the ordinary, I do a more thorough assessment. Feather loss, listlessness and pale combs are most often molting, but I don't just assume that's it. I do examine for mites/lice, and generally keep an eye on the bird. A molting bird can be pretty miserable! Offering good dust baths and wood ashes have kept my birds from getting external parasites. I'm a firm believer in prevention vs treatment. If you've not read the sticky at the top of this forum "SpeckledHen's 10 Commandments", you should.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Hmmm....funny to run across this today as I did a few 'butt checks' last night .... I was in the coop well after dark checking on a possible broody so took the opportunity to part some feathers and look for bugs...didn't see anything moving. It's amazing that most of them let me part their butt feathers and pull their wings away a bit as they stood on the roost without hardly flinching whilst in their 'darkness coma', when usually even trying to touching them cause terror....lol

    I wonder what thread that was from? Someone having problems I would imagine.......would be nice to have a link to thread for context.

    Like donrae...I don't do intensive exams unless I observe other symptoms or behaviors that might indicate an infestation or illness. Then I'll take them right off the roost after dark and thoroughly examine them. I think the key is that lots and lots of observation is the way to learn what is normal and what is not.

    My main flock that I got as adults last fall are not easily handleable and as first year keeper I was rather intimidated about handling them even off the roost at night. With my junior flock this spring I taught myself how to handle them from day olds on for both me and the birds to get used to the handling and them to learn that being handled wouldn't hurt them. At least once a day I'd pick them all up and hold them turn them over and every which way until they were about 8 weeks old. That practicing has taught me alot and given me confidence to stay calm, which is very important-if you're calm the bird is more likely to stay calm, to handle the bird if needed and I can get a hold of them fairly easily and do that regularly to keep us all in good practice.

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