Free ranging in muddy Spring conditions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Madamedespoules, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Madamedespoules

    Madamedespoules Out Of The Brooder

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    We've had a major Spring thaw and I'm concerned that my chickens, who are dying to get back out, will contract some kind of disease from all of the rotten materials left from Fall. Is this a valid concern? It seems to me that our chickens have gotten some disease almost every Spring and I am concerned that this may be the cause. Any thoughts? We live in Wisconsin, so this is mud from the snow melt.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    The one thing that can happen in wet conditions, is bumblefoot. It is not really a disease, but a tumor type growth on the foot bottom. If you spread enough straw in your run, then your chickens will be happy running around in relatively dry conditions. Diseases can happen any time of the year.
    WISHING YOU BEST. [​IMG]
     
  3. Madamedespoules

    Madamedespoules Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks....They are in their dry run, but being accustomed to ranging around the whole yard in summer, they want out....I am just unsure about the safety of letting them go out in all of the muddy conditions right now.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Actually, caveman, bumble foot is a staph infection, not a tumor. Chickens get it from injuring a foot by scraping it or cutting it or getting a thorn or splinter in the pad. Left to fester, along with walking through poop, staph germs colonize the wound, turning into a nasty pus-filled cesspool. I'm treating a rescue hen I just adopted for a very stubborn case right now.

    Madame is right in being concerned about wet, muddy spring conditions. As the weather warms up, cocci can bloom in the soil, as can botulism spores. Both can make chickens very sick.

    The botulism grows in compost piles and gardens under wet, anaerobic conditions, developing a toxin that infects vegetable matter and if chickens eat this, they can become very sick. This happened in my flock last year. I didn't know at the time my compost pile was killing my chickens because I hadn't dug it and turned it properly.

    You can still let your chickens free range, but you do need to keep watch for any sign of cocci or other signs of illness. Mud all by itself isn't going to hurt them, though. Chickens adore mud as much as pigs do.
     
  5. Madamedespoules

    Madamedespoules Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks...That's what I was afraid of.....
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Mine free range in all seasons and never get disease, so free ranging in the muddy season shouldn't be the causative factor in whether they are getting disease or not. Can you describe their range? Does it have good grass coverage? The size of the place on which they range? Share it with other animals?
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have not noticed health issues with adult birds that are associated with wet conditions in spring. That being said, foraging habits are very different during this time. The birds dig deep down into piles of detritus / organic matter, and spend a great deal of time picking through each exposed location before moving to the next. A lot of invertebrate eats (insects, crustaceans, worms, snails) have built up under frozen surface and they are growing fast. My birds really hit the moist areas with tussocks of grass. Quality of forage is very good as adult birds approaching heaviest weight of the year. Items consumed have high moisture content but also high protein.
     
  8. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]Thanks for clarifying the Bumble foot. I just know it is a NASTY that needs to be removed for chickens to walk normally. (from reading posts on the subject) I also thought that adult chickens should be resistant/immune to cocci. Thought that it is most dangerous to small chicks. [​IMG] I have never encountered ether , but always on the lookout. I always try to keep my chickens in dry areas if possible. [​IMG]
     
  9. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they free range, and they have a dry place to return to, I imagine they would do so if the wet got to be too much. Right now my birds are ruling my whole back yard, as the "door" to my run got snowed in in the open position (it was that or having to dig it out constantly just to enter my chicken run this winter) and enough has melted to let them get out and about again but not to unstick my door. They have certain places that love to hit up: under the maple tree where there is tons of leaf litter and presumably tasty bugs, under the mini trailer where there's bare, dry grass and dirt that's relatively dried out, and out in the open patch in the middle that's nearly all melted and has nice, fresh spring grass pushing up. When they get tired of foraging they go back to their dry, straw covered run to eat their regular feed, and then perch in the apple tree for a bit. Being able to free range means they can go to where ever they feel is the best spot and take care of themselves as they see fit. I trust them to know what they're doing during the day, and I would be more worried about birds that were stuck in one place during muddy spring conditions that didn't get a choice in the matter about where and when and how they want to forage and spend their time.
     
  10. Madamedespoules

    Madamedespoules Out Of The Brooder

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    When let loose, their range includes a wetlands and woods in addition to our rather large yard. We have enclosed compost bins. They love to wander, but the last 2 Springs they have come down with things that have made them sick. I'm just not sure if it's from free ranging or just coincidental timing.
     

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