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Preventative Measures--what do you do on a regular basis

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by capebird, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. capebird

    capebird Songster

    Apr 13, 2011
    Cape Cod
    I'd like to know what others do on a regular basis to keep your flock healthy. This could include medications, supplements, procedures....any suggestions. Thanks.

  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I think it depends on how and where you're raising your flock. I live on a farm - a real farm where we grow crops, live 20 miles from town and our nearest neighbor is a mile away, not a one-acre lot in a "rural" area - so I am able to let my chickens free range all day long, and have plenty of space to be out and about in the sunshine, picking grass, weeds and bugs. I do not vaccinate, worm, medicate or supplement my birds. I don't have problems with disease or parasites, even though my chickens have plenty of contact with the wild birds that also live here. I think birds in too crowded conditions - cramming as many birds as are recommended per square foot - are more prone to problems.
  3. To keep our birds busy we hang up a cabbage in the coop. This is something for them to peck on, and keeps them occupied in the winter. We also make sure their coop is clean and their dustbath is functional.
  4. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Songster

    Apr 21, 2012
    North Texas
    -agree with the above poster. -depends upon many variables. We have a flock of 7 standard/3 bantam chickens. -live in a residential neighborhood on a standard lot. We use a "limited" range approach. They have a large run down one side of the lot (and an 8 x 12 coop). We have lawn, vegetable gardens, perennial beds, and fruit vines. -chickens are out three to four times per day (with supervision). -rest of the time they are in the covered run due to hawks (and no rooster per restrictions). They are fed a good organic layer crumble and have the diet supplemented with fresh greens (especially in the winter) and blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries grown organically in the yard. They also consume bugs and worms. Unfortunately, due to our climate, earthworms (and other host insects) are prevalent. We do treat for tapeworms if they are noticed in the feces, as the gals dig numerous earthworms out of the soil and eat their weights in grasshoppers. -usually treat two to three times per year. -have had no health issues with the flock and don't do anything specific other than provide fresh food and water, daily. (We also scoop the run two to three times per day, and the coop daily. -keep the area very clean for them.) There is always access to a fresh dustbathing area. (We don't use DE. -don't care for the respiratory issues which are possible due to our continual "stirring around/cleaning" their environment.) -haven't had any mite issues.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  5. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    For us, it's pretty simple. We ensure they always have access to clean water (even if they spurn it and head for a dirty puddle instead), plenty of food and a wide variety of it (including free ranging them whenever either of us are home), and shelter (whether they choose to use it or not). Beyond that, we run a clean and dry coop and run with plenty of room for the number of chickens that we have. We have fecal samples analyzed at our vet twice per year (spring/autumn) to check for internal parasites (and have never had anything to treat), and we check for mites, lice, fleas, ticks, etc. every few weeks and treat as needed (fortunately, only one run in with chicken lice). If anyone starts behaving funny, we isolate the bird from the rest of the flock first and start trying to figure out the problem second and we don't quit until we do. It's a lot lower maintenance than it sounds, and the rest is just pure enjoyment of the flock, watching them be chickens and getting to interact with them and collect eggs. [​IMG]
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Probiotics and Apple Cider Vinegar! Both of these healthy up the bird in a natural way, boosting the immune system. :)
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    No medications, no supplements, no vaccines, no worm meds.

    Lots of space. That's the single most important thing in having a physically and mentally healthy flock. Overcrowded animals of any sort are more prone to physical illness and parasites. Overcrowded animals are mentally unhealthier also, and mental stress lessens physical resistance to disease and parasite infestation. Space is critical.

    Beyond that. just basics. Shelter, water, food. A commercial feed as the base, with a nice variety of kitchen scraps to top it off.

    I dump ashes from the woodstove in the coop or run for them to dustbathe in, helps keep parasites away.

    I do try to vary the run from time to time. I don't think of it as "entertaining", them, I think of it as mentally stimulating them. Maybe that's just semantics, but to me no animal should be confined in unchanging surroundings day after day after day forever. No animal was designed for that. I just do things like move the hiding places around, flip over one of the stall mats in the run to uncover more bugs, add an old Christmas tree, move the waterers, things like that.

    My theory is, if you're needing a lot of meds or wormers, etc, then you need to examine your basic flock management practices. Healthy animals shouldn't need those on a regular basis. To me keeping your flock healthy means preventative management, not chasing issues once they start.

    Also, maintaining a closed flock or properly quarantining any older birds brought onto the property. Second to overcrowding, "rescuing" and bringing in swap/auction birds seems to be the biggest way to have an unhealthy flock.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    2 people like this.

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    No supplements, additives, or vaccines. I only medicate when I have a reason to, not by a calendar. Just try to give them plenty of space and sufficient food and water. Give them a place to get out of the weather if they want to use it, but let them decide if they want to play in the rain or snow.

    I don’t provide extra heat but I really hot weather (above 100 F) I will wet down an area in the shade so they can cool off if they wish. I consider heat much more dangerous that cold. I let them play in dirt and don’t go overboard on cleaning and disinfecting. I don’t believe in raising them in a sterile environment. They’ll be healthier if you allow then to build up their immune system.

    When I have chicks in the brooder, I take dirt from the run and feed that to them starting at Day 2. This gets them grit, they get any probiotics the adults have, and they get exposed to anything the adults have so they can start working on flock immunities.

    I feed in moderation. They get a lot of stuff from the garden in season and kitchen scraps all the time and they get to forage, though my quality of forage is not what I’d like it to be. I don’t buy any treats for them. I don’t make any of this stuff a major part of their diet. I do not feed them high levels of protein or fats. I don’t need big fat chickens waddling around. I feel they are much healthier if they are in a trim physical condition, not obese.
  9. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I have 6 birds in a very urban small yard. Because there is not the option to free range I grow a fodder mix to graze on. I also provide grit because they are not free range. I choose not to feed a layer feed so that they can regulate their own calcium with oyster shell and have been happy with that because of my mixed flock with mixed dietary needs.

    I don't give them any medications or vaccinate or de-worm. I mix DE into their dust baths but am considering trying to find a way to switch to wood ash. I will once a week or so give them a little yogurt or pumpkin and some unfiltered AVC to help promote a healthy digestive track and just to mix things up for them. I also farm mealworms as a treat.

    I think a good clean living area and a healthy diet do the most for a healthy flock.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  10. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Songster

    Dec 6, 2009
    I don't really have any preventative measures. I don't really have any health problens and haven't since I started. Knock on wood.

    I try to raise them without having to medicate much. Natural foods and good diet is the best prevention. Free range makes attractive and healthy birds. IMHO

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