Chickens may be livestock or they may be pets, but they deserve and desire attention and care. If you are going to maintain a healthy backyard flock, there are certain rules that should be followed. For those of you who frequently PM me for advice, or for those of you who are new to chicken-keeping, here is the "Speckledhen Method" in a nutshell. Speckledhen's Ten Commandments of Good Flock Management 1) Keep a clean, dry environment...change bedding as needed, watch out for leaky waterers/windows/roofs, etc. 2) Fresh air/ventilation is essential..poop and respiration add moisture in the air. Ventilation overhead, not at roost or floor level. 3) Provide fresh water, daily. Would you take a sip out of the waterer? If not, clean it. 4) Give fresh, nutritious food, formulated for the age/function of the birds 5) Provide a safe, predator-proofed, uncrowded coop and run...they depend on you for protection 6) Periodically, check over each bird in the flock for lice, mites, wounds, etc. 7) Practice good biosecurity..disinfect shoes before and after visting the feedstore and shows, quarantine new birds, etc Under no circumstances, sell, trade, or give away a bird that shows sign of infection or has contacted another bird who shows signs of infection, or comes from a flock that has shown signs of infection, now or in the past. 8) At the first sign of contagious respiratory illness, i.e., discharges from nose or eyes or bad smell, cull, cull, cull...birds don't get colds, per se; they contract diseases, many of which make them carriers for their lifetime. That means they are able to infect others even if they seem to recover themselves. See Rule #7. 9) Do not medicate unnecessarily, including wormers and antibiotics 10) DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are numerous books and articles profiling poultry management and poultry disease. Read, study and then formulate a plan of action, should the worst happen, before it happens. Happy Chicken-Keeping!