Your management routine? Please share what you do and how often!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dudu, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. Dudu

    Dudu Songster

    Jul 20, 2011
    Ħal Luqa, Malta
    Dear all,

    following some quite unexpected deaths in our flock recently and all for various reasons (which may or may not have been detected before it was too late), I think this is a heads-up for me to introduce a more rigid routine of how and when I inspect all our birds and do preventative procedures. Not that we don't do it, we do something with them all the time, we also vaccinate for a few things as per our vet's advice, etc etc etc, but more often it's still like "I have time now, let me check this, clip their nails, etc etc". Or something happens and I begin to add ACV to everyone's water religiously and after a while when all is well I don't do it anymore. :( I realize that I need to get yet more serious about it, it is my hope anyway that it might help prevent some more problems.

    Could you please share what and how often you do, specifically:
    • vaccinate? when, for what, do you repeat it during their lifetime or not?
    • check mouths?
    • check hen bellies for any liquid or masses? check their bums for any prolapse?
    • deworm, de-lice/mite, any cocci prevention ever?
    • add any disinfectants to water? or maybe canker prevention from possible wild birds or pigeons that come to drink?
    • add any supplements and preventative herbal goodies, e.g. ACV, turmeric, garlic, anything else?
    • do anything special/additional for ex-battery (factory) hens or high production breeds to prevent problems with their oviducts?

    If there are collective threads about this already, please feel free to direct me.

    Thanks a lot in advance.
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    No, I don't do any of that.

    As long as mine look healthy, I assume they are healthy. I feed a good quality feed. Once I was in contact with a professional breeder and I asked him what his secret recipe was, and he said commercial feed.

    If something gets sick, I cull it. A sharp knife is the most effective way to keep disease out of the flock. Same thing with most ailments, although to be honest, I have never had bumble foot, egg bound, sour crop or any other problems.

    Sometimes chickens die, as long as my whole flock is not wheezing, (and it never has) I mark that up to life. If you have animals, they are going to die.

    A lot of these home remedies are at best ineffective, and some could be dangerous. Good food, a few scraps, clean water, enough space and a dry well ventilated coop is what is needed to keep birds healthy.

    MRs K
    2 people like this.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Likewise, I do not do any vaccinations, medicated feed. I do give occasional ACV. With new chicks, I do give them a few doses of Poultry Nutri-drench. My flocks get fermented feed, sprouts in the winter, and either free range or have access to 1600 s.f. electronet run. If a bird looks like she's not doing well, I examine. My choice is to treat conservatively. Have not found any reason to need to worm my birds, but if I did, I'd use a soap product as first line of defense, as well as culling. I've had a minor skirmish with red mites. Treated with clean outs, dusting coop and chooks x 2 with permethrin, and ivermectin. Have seen little to no evidence of mites since then. Use aromatics sparingly in the nest boxes if any signs of mites, and there have been no further issues since using aromatics. The most important thing I can do to ensure the health of my flock is to keep a closed flock.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I don't vaccinate, check mouths/bellies etc.

    However, I do worm them twice a year and repeat at 10 days with worming medication.

    I do treat for mites when I know they have them - I get itchy when they get them. Then I retreat at 7 days. Lice needs retreatment at 14 days but haven't dealt with those.

    Coccidiosis - I just treat when they are sick as chicks.

    I do add bleach to the waterer when I am scrubbing it out but I triple rinse to get it out- I never leave it in the water.

    I make sure they are not on 20% protein when they are teenagers- protein down to 17% or thereabouts when they are past 8 weeks of age. This is supposed to help prevent reproductive problems I have read, so they don't grow too fast.

    I don't do supplements.

    I do spend time watching my hens though, out the window and when I do my chicken chores. Simply observing their energy levels and interactions with each other lets me know when they need worming etc.

    I am sorry for your losses!
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  5. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I'm with Mrs. K on this. If they look healthy, I assume all is well. It's both time consuming and stressful to the birds to be handling them much to inspect for mites, etc. What I do do that I think is contributing to health:

    * Free range as much as possible. To build a run large enough that would be even close would be cost prohibitive. Get out on fresh ground is good for their health, I think.
    * Feed them probiotics. Some they get in their dry feed, also they get some in their fermented feed. I don't feed fermented feed all the time, but fairly regularly, about 25% of their diet when I do.
    * Treat issues if they come up. We've had a couple hens with scaly leg mites and other with red mites. Most of the chickens were fine, so I treated the ones needing it.

    Mind you, we love our chickens, but they are not our pets, just so you know where I'm coming from. Livestock owners tend to have different perspectives and priorities than pet owners.

    The probiotics, mainly in the fermented feed, also offer some mild acidification to their GI tracts. ACV will do this as well, but I keep it simple. If I didn't do the fermented feed, I'd probably do the ACV in water.
  6. GAchickennewbie

    GAchickennewbie Songster

    Apr 2, 2014
    Northeast GA
    I make sure my girls are vaccinated for Marek's before I bring them home.

    I feed quality food, make sure they have plenty of free-range forage, a clean and ventilated coop, and clean water.

    That's it :)
    1 person likes this.
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I'm with Mrs. K, also. I've never wormed, only had mites to deal with once, dusted the hen I found them on (she was broody anyway, and segregated from the flock while she was setting). I've had a couple of older hens with liquid masses in their abdomens, culled them when I found it. I don't check regularly, but do watch my flock to see if any seem "off". Both of those were inactive, and their tails were down. I don't use bleach on my waterers. I give them clean, fresh water, but they prefer the dirty, algae filled puddles they find. They do get commercial feed to supplement their free ranging in the summer, and as their steady diet in the winter. I also feed kitchen scraps.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Unless you know exactly what killed your chickens(sorry for your loss) you will never know what preventatives might help...or hurt.

    Simple nutritionally balanced feed always available and daily clean water provided in a clean well ventilated coop are the best preventatives.
    If any problems are observed (and I observe often and well) they are identified and treated accordingly if necessary.
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
  10. Dudu

    Dudu Songster

    Jul 20, 2011
    Ħal Luqa, Malta
    Thanks so much for the replies, noted (and very very much appreciated)! I still feel that since we have so many, I am going to need to introduce some kind of a stricter routine for myself in how I check them and what I do for them. Unfortunately our animals have to live a mile away from us (the beauty of living in an overcrowded country where you can't just buy a farmhouse with land, it would be cheaper to buy that kind of property in Hollywood I imagine - it is you in the house and animals by themselves in another place :( ), so I don't get to just look out the window and observe them, I have to make time for it, drive there and do things. Not complaining, just thinking how to do things better with our feathered family members.

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