In the old days......

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by coolcanoechic, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    As a newbie to having chickens, I often wonder about many things. Many on this site say their grandparents had backyard chickens. Mine did not, at least as far as I can remember.
    In the old days, before there was worming medicine and other new fangled cures, what did those backyard chicken owners do when their birds had lice problems or worm problems or anything else that came along?
    Another ponderance....did they just let them roam and feed them table scraps?
    Has feeding chickens become a science?
    These are the sort of things that enter my mind as I sit and watch my girls when I get home from work each day. Very relaxing, by the way.....
  2. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    well, worming meds have been around since the 1800s, we just have different ones now.
    That said, chickens that started acting poorly or slowed down in their laying just went into the soup pot for dinner. I know at our place the hens were dinner by the time that they were 2 or so. Roosters generally lasted long enough to get to a good eating weight. Problem roosters went straight to the pot.

    For lice, fireplace ashes were added to the chickens favorite dusting spots.
  3. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, I had no idea that worming meds have been around for that long. It's nice to get answers to my ponderances.......
    One down. What else can anyone tell me?
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    I'm not sure how well they worked, of course, but I do know that they had them.
    Lice, that was fireplace ashes. :) I've used that one myself for mites. It does seem to help, though it's better as a preventative measure.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Through my grandmother, who taught me, we reach back to the 1880's in chicken keeping.

    First, worming. Black Walnut tea was popular, but worming simply wasn't a giant issue. Folks didn't do a lot of doctoring of the birds. If a bird failed to thrive, it was culled. As time goes on, the remaining flock, under this management, was quite resistant to things. Cucurbit seeds were routinely fed, from pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, etc and these have limited abilities. For mites and such, there was wood ashes and lye soaps.

    There was no anti-biotics, of course. But again, the chicken has survived and thrived for 3000+ years in various forms of domestication. What doesn't kill a flock makes it stronger? I don't know. All I know is that modern medicines and treatments are all fine and well, but there remain many, many people, here and around the world, who introduce extremely few, if any, chemicals.

    As for feed, the feed science was coming of age at the turn of the last century. By the 1930's, feeding layer mash was widely practiced. Of course, chickens also ranged, dug through horse dung for tid bits, gobbled up any spilt grains, had their mash with some warm milk from the dairy barn, got tossed some garden scraps, if the pigs didn't get them first.
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    In the early 80's I raised chickens and hogs. Lice, mites and worms wernt an issue with the chickens. They never made it past one year old...they were put on the dinner plate.
    I used Red Devil lye to worm my hogs. I dont raise hogs anymore.
  7. sherylreno

    sherylreno Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    Reno, Nevada
    I'm one of the lucky ones who has my DH's grandmother living with us and we enjoy every single moment of it. She's 98 years old, yes she was born in 1913 and she tells us all of the time what they did raising chickens.

    Chickens ate wheat only and some table scraps but not much, the rest they found when they free ranged.

    They lived on a 1600 acre ranch. Every year they would order their meat chickens and the little things always lived in the kitchen their first few months of their lives.
  8. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2010
    Vancouver Island, B.C.,
    I see people mention old timey solutions all the time here.
    Then there are people who trust the modern and often expensive potions.
    Chickens are amazingly tough critters. Probably the old breeds are tougher than some of the specialty show birds.
    I have bought sex link production chicks twice now and I love them but they don't seem as healthy or long lived as good old breeds.
    I like the idea of the wood ashes in their dust bowl, although my hens free range everyday so the world is their dust bowl. LOL.
    I actually found a recipe for good old whitewash a few years back and painted the whole inside of the coop to help
    with mites and other creepy crawlies, It wasn't altogether successful partially because it is so damp here.
    Now I have a horrible layer of chalky dirty residue on the walls and paint won't stick to it. I'll try to power wash it next spring and hope
    paint will stick then. Bare wood is a nightmare to keep clean and it harbors those nasty bugs.
    I have heard of mixing kerosene and linseed oil to paint the roosts to keep lice and mites at bay.
    I think it is a personal choice whether we fuss over our chickens or just keep them with basic care.
    I'm somewhere in the middle, but madly in love with my crazy hens.
  9. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow! It's great to hear stories ike these. It helps me with those [​IMG]
  10. lucky123

    lucky123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2009
    My step dad told me that his parents and grand parents always used a mix of diesel and kerosene to kill lice on their chickens. They also never wormed their chickens. I suspect when they free range, they find natural wormers.

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