Should I give my flock an annual checkup?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lothomson, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. lothomson

    lothomson Chirping

    Jan 2, 2015
    Hi guys,

    I only have two SLW pullets, but I was wondering if I should give them an annual

    checkup or take them the the veterinarian for an annual wellness exam?

    Examen them myself:

    - how often should I give them a little checkup?

    Veterinarian wellness exam:

    - how often, just yearly?

    - any recommendations for veterinarians in Las Angeles?

    Any advice will be accepted.

    Thanks, Lauren [​IMG]
  2. RulingTheRoost

    RulingTheRoost In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2015
    I have been raising chickens for four years, and so far I haven't gone to the vet for any of them.

    I would give your hens a small check up every month to make sure:

    - their eyes are perfectly normal with no redness or swelling
    - their feet are problem free, with no limping, bumps, redness, or swelling

    - they are breathing properly, no wheezing or gasping
    - no lumps near their abdomen
    - no diarrhea

    Once a month, be sure to sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth on their food and feathers.
    This keeps away parasites from their feathers, and worms from their tummies. Also, a tbsp of apple cider vinegar in each gallon of their water will act as a de-wormer and an electrolyte as well.

    Sometimes even sprinkling it in their coop will kill any dust mites or parasite that lives there.

    And the grossest and most important:

    - make sure their bum is free of manure and isn't becoming caked onto their feathers.

    Not only is this uncomfortable for your girls, but it also blocks the passage of more feces. And the smellier it gets, the more flies want to lay their eggs in it.

    If there is manure on the feathers on their bum, try soaking it in a bucket of warm water with a dollop of soap. At this time of year, do it indoors such as a basement or somewhere you would be willing to keep a chicken until she dries out. Or, if you choose not to soak her bum in soapy warm water, you can use old scissors that don't matter and/or that you use for outside to cut the feces away from her bumhole.

    I hope this was any help to you!
  3. DE will not treat chickens for worms. Once it becomes wet it will not kill anything.
  4. RulingTheRoost

    RulingTheRoost In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2015
    Thank you for letting me know, I had just assumed with all the anti-pest properties it would take care of that as well.
  5. lothomson

    lothomson Chirping

    Jan 2, 2015
    Thank you so much!

    This advice was needed. As for the DE, do you rub it thoroughly into the feathers and skin? And about how much should I apply to their food since it holds about 64 oz of feed?

    On a slightly different note, do you recommend keeping an "emergency chicken kit" for severe injuries or something bad?
    If so, what should it contain?
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Really, if you birds are alert, active, eating well and laying eggs, those are all signs that the bird is healthy. I have had my birds for 7 years and have never treated a single bird for anything.

    Maybe I have been lucky, maybe predators get anything that is weaker....

    Mrs K
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    X2, neither will ACV. Deworming with something effective, like Valbazen or liquid Safeguard for goats, a couple times a year will usually keep on top of the worm load so it doesn't get out of control.

    I agree with Mrs. K regarding signs of healthy birds. I'm sure a vet would be more then happy to look at your birds once a year and charge you a nice fee in return. But really, with chickens there's not much he is going to look for that you cannot look for at home as described in previous posts. Unless you want him to do x-rays and lab work etc. And, truth be told, when chickens do get sick with the things that are common to them as they age i.e. cancers/tumors, reproductive tract problems such as EYP or internal laying or other serious problems with major organs, there's not a lot to be done to save them anyway.

    Feed a healthy diet, be proactive about controlling internal parasites, and having secure housing are some of the most important things you can do for your birds.

    As far as a medicine box for birds? It's a good idea to have some basic stuff for wound cleaning. I usually just flush wounds with water or saline, then coat with Neosporin or, if pecking will be a problem, coat with Blu Kote. Corid is always good to keep on hand in case of a flare up of coccidiosis in young birds, but older birds can sometimes get it as well so it's good to have.
  8. lothomson

    lothomson Chirping

    Jan 2, 2015
    Hi, thank you so much cafarmgirl.

    What do you consider is a healthy diet?

    I feed my pullets:

    -Organic, Naturally Free Layer Chicken Feed
    >>mixed with oyster shells and grit
    -Meal Worms (a few times a week)
    -occasionally some veggies (they really only like meal worms and lettuce)

    Anyways, is this a good diet for my pullets?

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