1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

How do you and what do you look for???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mr. Frizzles Hen House, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. Ok, so this may be a silly question. After reading about all these things that can go wrong with my chickens I thought I'd ask this basic question. How do you do a daily check of your chickens? I mean...I make sure everyone is moving ok, socializing, no injurys, etc. But is there something I should be watching out for? How do you tell if there's crop issues, mites, impactions, etc. Is an occational runny dropping ok? Or should I really be trying to figure out who it's coming from. Any suggestions to catch things early and prevent health problems would be great. Thanks!
  2. MrsSmitho

    MrsSmitho Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    E. Tx.
    I second that question!!! [​IMG]

    I spend a lot of time with the "kids", but it was only when we heard one sneezing that I HAD to find answers [​IMG]

    Never heard of most of this stuff and the crop thing is a stress since thesoekids eat anything...and we use straw, and pile leaves and anything plant like from the garden in there to give them variety and something to "play" in.

    Are there any trees or plants or anything that will harm them?? I plant things like collard greens and beets just for them inside the run, where my asparagus bed is (for now, until I can move it this winter [​IMG] )...

    We use food coloring to mark some of the girls we want to watch...they mostly look alike...anything better to use. Or more importantly, anything that would poison them???? i.e. marker or dye??

    Thanks for any info from you "seasoned" fowl folks:D
  3. Bellecreek

    Bellecreek Hatching

    Nov 12, 2008
    re: How to check on your flock

    Actually the original poster hit the nail on the head. Spend time with your flock.

    When you feed your birds, watch them afterwards. Any of them who don't rush to the feed as if they're starved need to be watched.

    Are these just timid birds that get pecked away? Maybe add more feeders.

    Do they stand off by themselves with ruffled feathers and head down - time to take action!

    Look for differences in poop.

    If they are chicks - do their noises sound like "music" or distress peeps?

    The BEST way to learn about animal behavior (any species) is to spend time with that animal.

    A healthy animal is a hungry animal (assuming they're not starved).

    Their feathers should look sleek, and they should be engaging in eating/drinking, as well as social behavior and grooming/preening.

    Birds who are not preening are sick!

    Just spend enough time to learn what is NORMAL - that way, you know what is NOT!

    Unfortunately, my husband never learned that lesson, so I always worry when I'm out of town.
  4. CK Chickadilly

    CK Chickadilly Songster

    Sep 11, 2008
    West Michigan
    I spend time with my chickens everyday or twice a day. Usually during chore time. I watch all the animals to make sure everything is OK. You get to know them & their personalities. You can usually tell when one doesn't feel good or if something is wrong.

    I sit out with them in the morning & give them all a bit of bread & then scatter some corn. You can tell who might have a problem if one doesn't take the food like it normally does.

    Food coloring...that is an excellent idea Mrs. Smitho!!!!
  5. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    You just need to get to know them. Its like with your children (if you have any!) I can tell the minute someone isn't feeling well or is going to be coming down with a cold or something - most times I can tell before THEY can.
    With my kids its a little easier than with the chickens - but basically the same thing, just knowing them.
  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Tomorrow we start treatment for bumble foot for our White Rock. I like to know how she got it. She has quit laying now.

    I hope the iodine and sugar thing works.

    It certainly seems like a lot of work.
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yeah, just get to know them, and soon enough you will figure out what is normal or not.

    A sick bird will not be themselves and you can go from there.

    Don't trust poo to tell you everything on their health or panic when you find a plate sized splatter filled with unidentifiable objects on your front porch either. A few nasty ones here and there is perfectly normal. Now if the birds are acting sluggush, losing weight, and the poo is something odd, then you can take more stock in the shoe presents.

    As for hungry... they're ALWAYS hungry. I swear mine would eat me if I could fit in their beaks even after filling up so much their crops drag on the ground. (They don't really drag.)
  8. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Quote:I'm terrified I'll go out one day with a cup of scratch, trip over the dog, I swear the chickens would eat me or at least peck out the shiny balls in my eye sockets.

  9. MrsSmitho

    MrsSmitho Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    E. Tx.

    I have to give the credit to Mr. Smitho on the food coloring!! We had one smart X Rock who would go out to the garden with me and to make sure it was her, he colored her blue [​IMG] So funny to see!!

    I also agree, they eat EVERYTHING!! If I am siting with them for more than 10 min, they DO start trying to get some goodies off my legs!!

    And DO NOT ever go in with shorts on and any bo boos on your legs [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advise you gals, I have been spending a lot more time with them and am figuring they are like any other critter, just gotta know your "kids"
  10. ella

    ella Songster

    Besides watching them you should start feeling them up too, LOL!

    I do it when they're roosting at night because they're calm and even the flightiest hen doesn't mind. That sounds dirty, sorry [​IMG]

    Feel the crop, breast and belly. [​IMG]

    Crop should be full at night and feel like it's full of wet sand - course it will depend on what they've been eating - variation is normal.

    Breast will give you an idea if they're gaining or loosing weight, every individual and breed will have a different 'normal' get to know your individuals by checking on them often.

    Belly, ditto above ^ just know what's normal for the individual.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: