How to give pills to my hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by wendigo, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. wendigo

    wendigo In the Brooder

    May 8, 2013
    The vet prescribed some pills for one of my hens which has been sick for the past few days. The problem is she won't take them. She chews it a bit and drops it. I noticed that if I touch the sides of her beak, she opens it wide. Is it ok if I just drop the pills into her beak like this? I'm worried if it can go the wrong way down the trachea.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014

  2. ten chicks

    ten chicks Songster

    May 9, 2013
    You can either break them up and give in pieces,or wrap in a piece of meat or cheese(this is what i usually do)or if you pull down on wattles,they open mouth(works great with my roosters,but i admit i never tried this on my hens).
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I find that getting the beak open and placing the pill in the back of the throat will usually get it down. I've only done this a few times though. It helps to pull down on the wattles, then release them to swallow, the same way you would give worm medicine. A larger pill probably needs to be cut into pieces, or crushed and put into food.
  4. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    The best bet is to hide the pill in your chicken's most FAVORITE treat. A piece of cheese, or cooked egg, or a piece of meat? Something you can stick the pill into.

    If she still won't take it, you may have to force it. Only do this if you have confidence. If the pill is small enough to easily swallow, it can be left whole. Otherwise you may need to break it up.

    This is easiest with someone helping you. Wrap the bird in a towel, in such a way that the wings are held gently but firmly against the bird's sides. Think a chicken 'burrito' with her head sticking out one end. You want it to be firm but not tight enough to restrict her breathing!
    Have your helper hold her with her facing you. Open her mouth; you can gently pull the wattles down, or touch the corners of her beak. Whatever works that won't hurt her. Make sure the fingernail is cut short and not ragged on your smallest finger (or use a latex glove, but it will taste terrible for the chicken!), and use it to gently push the pill as far as it will to to YOUR left (the hen's right) inside of her mouth. That is where the esophagus is. Her trachea is right in the MIDDLE, behind her tongue.
    The esophagus on a chicken is very flexible and it's okay to use your finger to gently push the pill down it a little ways. This will make sure she does not choke on it. Remember, the esophagus is all the way to YOUR LEFT when you are looking at a chicken face on.

    If you have to do this on your own, gently straddle the towel-wrapped chicken. Gently!! use your legs to hold her in place. You will both be facing the same way, now. So now, the esophagus will be on your right, and also the bird's right.

    When the pill is inserted, unwrap your bird and allow them to recover, as this is stressful.

    This method should not be used on chickens that are too small to pill this way (chicks, very small bantams, etc).
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Something that works well for me is crushing up the pill between two spoons, put it in a syringe and suck up a little water or buttermilk, (my hen prefers buttermilk please!) and administer that way. Just go slow and let the bird swallow a little at a time, same as giving dewormer. It goes down easy and stress for the bird is minimal.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  6. henney penny

    henney penny Songster

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    I had to give my chicken pills for 10 days.Wrap your chicken in a towel,lay her on something (I have a table in my coop)on her back.have the pill in your hand and push on the side of her beak with the pill between your fingers and she should open up,push it all the way back and she will have to swallow it.It takes some practice but by the time 10 days was up I was a pro.I had to do it twice a day,was glad when it was over with.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by