Preventative maintenance

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by msuple2, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. msuple2

    msuple2 Just Hatched

    Dec 9, 2016
    Cleveland Texas
    Dopes anyone have a ... "Preventative maintenance" schedule for their birds?
    i.e. a schedule for regular activities required to keep your birds healthy. such as worming, vitamins and suppliments...
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Some do.

    I rely on good basic nutrition in a balanced high protein chicken ration, with some scratch grains and other foods tossed out as 'treats'.....watching the overall protein level. That gives them all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids they need to stay in good health.

    I don't hold much truck with 'supplements'. Tho do have amprolimin on hand if needed(never needed it), and some vitamin/electrolyte solution that I've had to use once for a heat stroked hen.

    Parasite management can depend on your location(good idea to put that in your profile).
    Folks in warmer climes can have more problems with both internal and external parasites.
    I only treat if I see the pest, have had lice and leg mites and treated accordingly.
    Have never needed to test and treat for internal parasites.
    Treating for worms without testing is a recipe for creating resistance IMO.

    You'll get a lot of varied opinions, do your research and decide what's best for your flock.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You’ll get all kinds of different opinions on that stuff on this forum. I’m in the camp that does none of that. I treat if I see a need to treat but so far I haven’t. For example, I regularly butcher chickens. Whenever I butcher I split some of the intestines looking for worms. I haven’t seen any yet and I’ve had chickens here since 2008. I regularly check for mites and lice and have yet to see any. I keep a mostly closed flock (don’t bring in any new birds except from an established hatchery and mostly hatch my own eggs for replacements) and I don’t show chickens so I don’t expose mine to parasites or diseases. It’s quite possible a wild bird could introduce one of these parasites but so far they have not. I live in the country and have all kinds of wild birds around.

    I don’t use any supplements either, no fermented feed, vinegar in the drinking water, no oregano, no hot pepper, nothing special with one exception. Instead I raise my chicks with the flock, broody hens or in my brooder in the coop, and rely on them strengthening their immune system by growing up in the environment they will live in. I do feed them kitchen scraps and stuff from my garden, plus they forage for some of their food so they do get a varied diet.

    The exception is that I feed my chicks in the brooder dirt from the run. A broody hen starts them out eating dirt. This gets grit in the chicks’ system, any probiotics the adults have in their system, and lets them start working on flock immunities right after they hatch. I want to strengthen their immune system naturally, not artificially manipulate it.

    Plenty of people on here regularly treat their chickens, whether they need it or not. They feed their chickens all kinds of stuff that is strange to me and are convinced it helps. I’m not saying it’s a waste, that it’s not beneficial. It very well could be, but I don’t personally do it.
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I'm with aart. No special "maintenance schedule". I also go for good nutrition by feeding fermented feed, and I keep their quarters clean. Also, I'm careful not to exceed carrying capacity in coop and run, avoiding overcrowding issues.

    Random inspections of birds tell me if they need treatment for parasites. I engage in no preventative medication which will come back to bite you eventually.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Excellent question. Welcome to BYC. I am raising my own eggs and chicken meat specifically so I can eat product that has NOT been treated with chemicals.

    No worming schedule here. If I have worm issues, I'd be more apt to cull as 90% of the parasites are carried by 10% of the population, (so "they" say) and it's the weaker members that have the issue. IMO, birds that have access to free range will find antihelminthic plants, and take care of their own needs. Some folks use garlic and ginger on an occasional basis, just because. Keep a DL in your run if it is void of vegetation, and that will help to keep things balanced, with plenty of good guys to destroy the bad guys.

    External parasites: When I do a clean out of DL in coop, I will toss down a bit of DE and permethrin, just because. I also rub a bit into the perch, especially at the last foot where it meets the wall, and in the crack at the wall. Also put a tiny bit in the nest boxes occasionally, buried way at the bottom, under the hay.

    Diet: Fermented feed is my most important prevention, for overall health, and a well balanced gut, healthy immune system. Prior to collecting eggs for hatch, I may give the birds some Poultry Nutri-Drench if they have not had access to free range.

    Raising chicks: PND at hatch, offering both that and plain water. Start them on crumble on the floor of the brooder, and also offer fermented feed. After they are eating well, and know enough to seek out the FF, I take away the floor crumble. Within the first few days, I bring in a clump of sod from the yard. IMO sod is super important to boost the immune system of chicks. They are hatched with their existing immune system acquired from their mother. This gradually diminishes during the first 2 weeks. So, I use that window of opportunity to expose them to the pathogens that they will receive in my yard. That soil/grass also contains: beneficial bacteria and fungi to jump start their digestive flora, first greens, first animal protein, first grit, first dust bath, and hours of play opportunities. Also, to ensure health of my chicks, they need lots of space to develop those muscles, and engage in chickie activities. 1 s.f./chick for the first week or two, then preferably 2 s.f/bird. I'm a firm advocate of heating pad brooding. NO heat lamp here for my babies. And they may spend a day or two in the house, especially if there are issues, but then, they are brooded outside. (night time temps can get down to 20* when I'm brooding, and they do fine with their MHP.) IMO, heat lamps with their constant light produce a stressful environment which makes the chick more prone to disease. Also, a crowded or overheated brooder can be a huge issue. No medicated feed on my watch.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    You've had good answers so far. Many of us go for management to prevent issues, but that does not as a rule include wormer or supplements.

    1) Keep the birds clean and dry. Sounds basic, I know. But wet birds are going to be sick birds. Now, I'm in the PNW and I'm not saying they never get wet, or walk in the mud. But they have a dry area to go to whenever they desire.

    2) Appropriate feed and fresh water. Yep, sometimes I wonder why I keep the waterers so clean when I watch the birds drink from the puddles in the horse paddock........[​IMG]

    3) Enough space. I feel this one is critical. Crowded birds are stressed birds. Stressed birds are prone to parasites, internal and external. They're also more prone to disease. Overcrowding also contributes (heavily, IMO) to behavioral issues and decreased egg production.

    Those are the top three biggies. The other things is.....observe your birds. If you don't know what's normal, you won't be able to tell when something is wrong. It's not a problem for many of us---we get sucked into "chicken TV" anyway!
    4 people like this.
  7. TroyerGal

    TroyerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2016
    The Coal State
    Giving apple cider vinegar and garlic will help with that. Try it for yourself too! [​IMG]
  8. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    G’Day from down under msuple2 [​IMG] Welcome!

    Like aart and others who have posted, I put a lot of faith in the basic nutrition and lots of space.

    As Ridgerunner and lazy gardener have suggested, good question and you will get lots of differing opinions. I appear to be the odd one out so far as I do have a regular preventative schedule.

    Once a week I give them a dose of Anitone which is a natural organic liquid mineral and trace element supplement.

    Living in a sub tropical climate, mites and lice can be a problem here, especially with multiple broodies and I use Pestene powder in the nest boxes and Permethrin on the coop. As the girls dust bath regularly and come in contact with the Pestene in the nest boxes I do not treat them unless needed but I do check them regularly.

    I worm on a regular 6 month cycle; which reminds me, they are due soon [​IMG]

    I do add ACV [with mother] to their water for a few reasons:
    * It apparently maintains a good pH balance in their digestive system and makes it a little uncomfortable for worms to live in. So while not an actual wormer, it can be a deterrent.
    * It can act as an antiseptic killing bacteria in their throat and is reported to keep bacteria out of their water. I know it is recommended to people with sinus issues also.
    * Some think it increases egg production but I can't comment on that because I only have bantams who spend more time broody than they do laying.

    Something I definitely subscribe to in an attempt to have a healthy flock is having a closed flock in that I do not bring in new adults and prefer to hatch here if numbers get low. Having said that, I only have 5 girls and our limit is 6, so unless tragedy strikes, that does not happen often.

    Different strokes for different folks [​IMG]

    I hope you enjoy BYC. There are lots of friendly and very helpful folks here so not only is it overflowing with useful information it is also a great place to make friends and have some fun. Unlike non chicken loving friends, family and colleagues, BYC’ers never tire of stories or pictures that feature our feathered and non feathered friends [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Excellent advice.

    Teila brings up some good points: we live in different geographic areas, thus, our husbandry methods differ. So, you will encounter plenty of different advice and opinions. Your job will be to do the research, become familiar with your flock, and the needs specific to your area, and tailor your management to meet those needs and your specific management style. If you haven't already done so, you might want to put your general location in your profile.
    1 person likes this.

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