How to fully inspect a layer for health?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Idranoel, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Idranoel

    Idranoel Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 5, 2009
    Columbia, SC
    Can anyone tell me what I need to look for? And I'm in ignorant newby so please be explicit. In other words, please provide instructions like this, "Hold the chicken in this fashion. Turn it over or around to look at the vent, etc."

    I'm just making that up but I am expecting that this kind of thing will be included. And I won't know what I'm looking for (know idea what a vent should look like, etc.) so keep that in mind.

    Finally, and I guess this could be a whole other post, if I find evidence of lice or mites, should I use DE or Sevin Dust?


  2. Renee

    Renee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    Hi Dan,
    I'm assuming this is one of your chickens, and not a chicken you are buying from someone else.

    The chicken should have all of its feathers unless it is molting, and they should be in good condition, not ratty or broken.

    When you pick the chicken up, lift it with the chicken facing you and with your hand under its chest and between its legs, legs dangling, so that if it poops it will fall to the ground and not on your arm. Use your other hand to control the bird's wings.

    The chicken should not be too light or too bony, but of course, you won't know what "too light or too bony" means. It helps to have several chickens to compare.

    You can sit on a chair and turn the chicken over onto its back with its head toward your knees and your hand on its chest to control it. Some chickens calm right down and just lay there, which is nice. Give it a few seconds if they are struggling, they may stop. Lift each wing away from the body to check for lice or mites, paying special attention to the feather shafts for eggs.

    Between the fluffy butt feathers and the hard tail feathers is the vent. You'll know it when you see it: it looks large enough for an egg to come out of. It should be relatively clean (some poop stuck to feathers is ok) and moist. It will open and close spasmodically. That's ok. Make sure there are no lice or mites around the vent.

    I hope someone else will chime in with other things to check for. This is a great question!

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