Regular treatments for diseases?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 10AcreChick, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For the past year, my flock as a whole has had low egg yields. I have 15 RIR, 1 Australorp. I just added a young Barred Rock roo, and he is doing great, getting the ladies in line and in the past few days it does seem they are laying better. I have wondered if maybe they have worms or some other sickness that lowered egg yield. Should I be giving them a yearly dewormer or doing any other maintenance on a regular basis as far as medicine goes? I had a roo that died of bumblefoot, but he didn't pass it to any, as far as I can tell. And I have one chicken who looks real rough, maybe a really late molt. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    How old are the birds? What has your egg yield been on average? I would expect 10+ eggs per day summer, maybe 5-10 winter, and 2-3 molting season, for young birds 1-3 years old.

    In terms of general health and good flock maintenance;

    Monthly physical exams are a good idea. Pick everybody up and check them over completely. Check the areas of the vent and fluff especially, as those are hotspots for parasites, and don't forget to check the inside of the mouth and the bottoms of the feet. Make sure everybody has bright eyes and red combs.

    For miscellaneous supplements, electrolytes are a good idea in the hot months. Some people feed vitamin supplements; NutriDrench is my personal favorite but runs rather expensive. Probiotics are good to have on hand and birds should be given some after any course of antibiotics.

    For internal parasites, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in the water and cayenne pepper or garlic powder in the feed will help prevent infestations and weaken parasite populations.

    For external parasites, wood ash (and Diatomaceous Earth, but only in small amounts, as it can be harsh on their lungs) in the bedding and the dust bathing areas are good preventatives. WD-40 spritzed under each wing, below the vent, and on the back of the neck prevents mites and lice and will treat infestations if rubbed into the feathers. Use only one small spritz in each place though, as it can cause dry skin.

    A variety of diet in SMALL AMOUNTS can be great for them. For example, treats and scratch shouldn't comprise more than 20% of the diet, but you can fit a lot of different foods into that 20%. I'm also a big fan of buying pigeon feed instead of regular chicken scratch, as it has about 20 grains in comparison to the measly 3 in most chicken scratches - and doesn't cost much more for it, around here $1-$5 more per bag.

    Some people like to worm regular. If you just have 4-6 birds I say yes, because oftentimes worm infestations won't show symptoms until they get pretty bad, especially with that small of a sample size. If you have 20-30 birds or more I say keep them on regular preventatives of ACV and cayenne/garlic, and treat if you see symptoms. For treatment you'll want to go chemical - Fenbendazole is ideal; one pea size amount per standard size bird. There is an egg withdrawal period of two-three weeks for this medication.

    And don't forget to always have a pack of Terramycin or Gallimycin on hand. It's the go-to antibiotic for treating bad wounds, infections, and mysterious lethargy if there's no obvious cause.
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Before applying medication, I try to make sure first that basic care is adequate....good nutrition, clean dry bedding, adequate space and ventilation, etc.

    I try to avoid using meds unless I am absolutely sure what needs treating then finding the right med and researching any egg/meat withdrawal requirements.
    Wily nilly medicating can cause resistance to parasites in the long run,
    and you may not be treating the real problem which just causes confusion in pinpointing what the real problem is.

    Preventatives/supplements should also be used sparingly and with great moderation, many are not proven and can also lead to other problems or mask a real problem.

    Bumblefoot is a staph infection that enters a cut on foot and can become systemic, it is not 'contagious', but staph exists most places anyway.
     
  4. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had seven layers all spring and summer of '15, and got up to just two eggs a day, a lot of times none at all. Nine came of laying age in November, they layed pullet eggs, but then took a break for a long time. I have just started using DE in coop and we always give them our stove ash. I'll try the ACV. I also just expanded the coop, aart, and I think that's helping. It makes sense to me that you should only treat for things if necessary. We'll see how this spring goes!
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Are you sure that you don't have some animal stealing your eggs? One winter I noticed decreased egg production and increased feed and water consumption. In the spring, I found out why. My coop just sat on the ground, and it was FULL of rats under there! Rats will steal and eat your eggs. (I also agree that production will slow down in winter if they're over a year old, but since you hardly got any in the spring, I'd look into possible "theft" from animals)
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    If you don't use supplemental lighting, pullets won't always lay thru winter.
    Older birds molted maybe in the fall? Will take them all a bit to get back up to speed.

    DE, wood ash, and ACV won't get rid of worms/parasites if you've got them, might help as a preventative....
    .......ACV can inhibit calcium uptake, so not really good long term.

    What exactly are you feeding?
    That can make a huge difference in overall health and production.

    Do you free range?.....sneaky birds may be hiding a nest too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    One of the biggest determining factor in egg lay seems to be first breeding, than feeding, then age of the hens. I have some beautiful show quality RIR, they might lay 20 eggs each all season. So it's important to get stock that has been bred for production not for looks.

    It's important to feed your birds correctly as well, under nourished is just as bad as over nourished, anything beside a ration feed lowers the overall protein which chickens need to produce eggs which are mostly protein. Fat hens don't lay well either.

    I never worm nor treat for diseases. Most hens become less productive after their second season and many almost quit by the 4-5 season.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  8. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are free range, but I check all usual places they hide them. I've found big clutches hidden (breaks my heart) but not lately. No rats, but we shot two possums so far this winter, one in the coop. Theft is possible. These are RIR from the local "chick days" each spring, so I'm sure they're not show quality. Probably production red.

    I feed them layer pellets, as much as they want. They take no interest in oyster shell, but I offer it sometimes. Also throw scraps from kitchen, but not everyday. Always water available.

    The crisis might be over. I got nine eggs today, not bad for 16 hens, right? And winters not over here in Missouri. Last winter we used supplemental light. They layed great, and I'm thinking maybe that lowered their later laying, since they didn't get a winter break. This winter I hemmed and hawwed about using light, and when a heat lamp fell and almost killed them all (went out just in time to put out fire and none died) it was decided for me, no more heat lamps!

    Here's to hoping the hard times are over, since I have 25 arriving in 10 days!
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Nine eggs for 16 hens? That's not bad at all! I'm only getting 2 for 7 hens right now. If this is their second year laying, that would explain the decrease you've experienced over the winter.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Have you locked them up in coop fora few days to a week to rehabitaute them to laying in coop nests?

    You don't need to use a heat lamp (and really shouldn't anyway) for winter laying light, a 60W incandescent will work.
    Tho winter light can give you eggs all winter form older birds, they will still molt and take a break at some point.
    My yearlings all molted despite the light this winter, not sure if they started up again sooner or not<shrugs>.....
    ....pullets laid all winter tho.
     

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