General Routine Health Care Q's from a Newbie

Texas Fluffy Feet

11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Arlington, TX
This topic may have been more appropriate for the Emergencies/ Diseases forum, but with all the really sickly chicken posts over there I thought maybe having these questions answered here would benifit some of the other newbies like me too who are getting ready for their first babies to arrive and not get in the way of any of those with more serious issues. If it should be somewhere else, mod's please feel free to move it.

I was wondering some things regarding general routine health care for a small urban flock of half a dozen chickens or less.

1. Wormers- first done at what age and then how often? Every Spring? What to use? Does the food grade DE cover all worms? Should you even worm them if they have normal poo?

2. Mites, Fleas, etc- Can I keep the coop and run area dusted with Sevin dust to keep the pests away or would that harm the chickens? I ask because we already have fleas starting up here and since we have indoor/outdoor animals I must treat the yard for them somehow. I know wild birds carry mites and I assume these would also affect pet birds.

3. Electrolytes We have 100 degree days here in the summer and I will have cochins who are fully feathered by the time it gets that hot. The coop and run will be shaded, but hot is hot so should I add the electrolytes to the water as a preventive to heat stroke daily after the temp reaches a certain degree and if so what? Any other hot weather precautions? A fan blowing on one area of the run or a mister set up? Ice cubes in the water maybe? Don't laugh it's an honest question!

4. Supplements I understand commercial feed has pretty much all of what they need right? You supply grit in a seperate feeder once you begin offering them anything other than the commercial feed. What about other supplements, like calcium of some form? If so, what form? I know they make vitamins for poultry, but if the feed has it all, when do you use them?

Any other routine care or maitenance tips would be appreciated. I'm sure these questions have all be asked a million times, but when I try to use the search feature for them I am overwhelmed at the amount of posts and it is hard to find the specific answers. Maybe all the current newbies should list a barage of questions in one topic, all you experienced folks could answer them for us and then the mods could sticky it somewhere?
You don't need to worm them unless they have extended time on the ground. Even then routine worming may not be necessary. If you don't see worms or have health problems I don't recommend worming. If you suspect worms take a fecal sample have the vet check it then treat accordingly. Things like DE and speckledhens home remedy of buttermilk and chopped pumpkin seeds can be a good preventative and if they did have worms you would most likely see them in the poop after they consumed the buttermilk/pumpkin seed mix.

Usually twice a year we dust the hen house with sevin as a preventative. If you notice any problems powder each bird and retreat in 7 days. An ouce of prevention is worht a pound of cure!

Many of us do use fans and misters. You can also freeze milk jugs and set them out for the chickens to wallow around. Also you can freeze the 20 ounce plastic coke bottles and put them in the waterers to keep the water cold.

I use a free method of feeding. My feeders are full all of the time. I also have oyster shell and grit available. They instinctively know when they need extra nutrient. You can also give them black oil sunflower seeds, yogurt, cooked white rice and chooped boiled eggs (shell and all). My chickens also get all of my kitchen scraps. They love vegetable peels and parts. All of my egg shells are fed back to them as well. I also give them cups of meal worms, crickets etc when ever I am feeling generous.

Let your chickens tell you what they need. Keep an eye on them and you'll begin to read them and know when you need to intervene.
Thanks Miss Prissy! Your answers let me know I am going to do fine as they were pretty well dead on with what my gut had told me to do anyway. The way you said you feed your flock is pretty much what I intend to do with mine.

** On another note, I just have to say that I LOVE reading your posts. If I see you have answered a question, whatever it was automatically gets repeated in my head with a Foghorn Leghorn voice and then I read your answer hearing it first start with- "Why yeeeesssss..."

Your chicken wisdom makes it quite informative as well as the voices in my head making them all the more entertaining.
Hahahaha! You're a nut! Thanks for the compliment. You make me blush. I am glad to help any way I can.
A lot of raising chickens is common sense and experience. Before long you will be an expert and answering all these questions yourself!

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