Chicken Health

These articles cover general chicken health, diseases affecting chickens, and how to best take care of those issues.

  1. Infertility Resulting from Genetic Modification Causes Rise in Chicken Prices

    Genetic modification has been a frequent topic of debate in the news for quite some time now. While it is frequently heard about in food circles, with the produce section of your local grocer being the area it is most widely discussed, it unfortunately does not stop there. Animals are being altered genetically as well, chickens included. Aviagen is a company known for providing day-old chicks to commercial breeders, such as Sanderson Farms. These chicks are grandparent and parent stock and...
  2. Chicken Life Spans: How Will You Handle the End?

    Every living thing that walks this earth at some point will cease to do so, with chickens being no exception. The time will simply come when their bodies begin to fail and they pass on to the next world. In some cases, accidents or illness may take them prematurely, but ideally our chickens will live out their days in avoidance of such hazards. Photo: Roy's Farm If a chicken is allowed to live to the end of its natural life, without plans for culling, how long will that life be? As a...
  3. Treating Vent Gleet

    With chicken ownership comes experience in dealing with unpleasant illness and disease, and vent gleet is no exception. Also known as cloacitis or thrush, vent gleet is a fungal infection that, as the name suggests, shows its presence at the vent. This illness, which can affect digestive and reproductive systems, is luckily not contagious amongst birds with the exception of birds who are mating as it can be spread through sexual contact from hen to rooster. Additionally it can impact birds...
  4. Omphalitis: Preventing Mushy Chicks

    Omphalitis is a disease responsible for a lot of chick deaths during the first week of life. Also referred to as Mushy Chick Disease or Navel Ill, Omphalitis is essentially a navel-yolk sack infection in which a plethora of bacteria could be present wreaking havoc on affected chicks. Affected chicks may die as soon as 24 hours after the infection sets in or can live up to 7 days with bacteria such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Proteus, and others ravaging their bodies. The reason this...
  5. Giving Shots to Chickens

    It can be tough to give a shot to an animal for the first time. In some cases, the animal probably will not take it as badly as the person giving the injection. At least that was the case with me; when I gave my first shot, I felt terribly guilty and apologized profusely for doing so. Fact of the matter is, however, you are doing a good thing for your chickens when giving them shots. It only hurts for a second and it improves their well-being, so there is no reason to feel guilty or put off...
  6. Managing Marek's Disease

    One of the most detrimental diseases a chicken can face is Marek's disease, which is also known as fowl paralysis. Over the years this disease has been responsible for decimating flocks small and large, but it is most likely to affect chickens that are 4 months old or younger. This is due to an ability of older birds to develop a natural resistance to this disease through contact as they age. Marek's is named after Jzsef Marek, the Hungarian veterinarian and scientist who discovered it....
  7. Coping with Coccidiosis

    There is nothing more frustrating that having illness and health issues arise when you are making a diligent effort at coop cleanliness and proper chicken care. The simple fact that there are some illnesses beyond your control can be discouraging. While you may never have to face such issues, the possibility still remains that something such as coccidiosis will rear its ugly head. Coccidia (or Cocci for short) is an intestinal ailment for which parasites are responsible. These parasites,...
  8. Itchin' Chickens: Mites and Lice

    If your chickens are itchin', it may be possible that you have a mite and/or poultry lice problem on your hands. Mites and lice are external parasites that will move into your coop and onto your chickens, using them as hosts for feeding and breeding activities. Although the life cycle of such parasites is short and averages about a week, during that time they can lay over 100,000 eggs which can pose a real problem if their population is allowed to grow unchecked. The presence of mites and...
  9. Pest Police: Chickens and Bug Control

    A popular selling point when it comes to owning chickens is the pest control they provide. Through their daily routine of moving about and scratching for food, chickens are actually doing us a great service. This is because the things we find to be nuisances are to a chicken quite delicious. It is not only the creepy crawly things you see that chickens will feast on, but also the ones you cannot see. Anything moving on blades of grass or atop soil is fair and easy game, but the hunt does not...
  10. Preventing Obesity in Chickens

    We've all heard the term 'kill them with kindness.' While this term has several meanings, one in particular is troublesome when it comes to chicken care. A way in which we might kill our chickens with kindness is through excess feeding. Out of love, we sometimes give our chickens (and other animals) that little bit extra. Once in a while that is okay, but when it becomes a frequent or even daily occurrence, it can start to negatively impact our chickens in the form of obesity. In days past,...
  11. Living with Scissor Beak

    Every now and then you may come across a chicken with a beak that does not align perfectly. This abnormal alignment is known as Scissor Beak, or Crossed Beak, and is a condition that exists when the top and bottom of a chicken's beak to not meet as they should. The cause of this could be an inability to properly wear beaks by honing on hard surfaces, injury, or most likely genetics. It may not initially appear upon hatching that a chicken will ultimately have such a problem, but unless it is...
  12. 3 Normal Types of Chicken Poop

    Part of proper chicken care includes being able to spot when something is wrong. This can mean being observant on several levels, from watching your chickens\' eating habits to monitoring their behavior. Another indicator of health problems in chicken is the state of their feces. Being able to tell the difference between what is normal and what is not can aid in the detection of illness, as abnormal poop is often a sign that disease or illness could be present and needs to be addressed....
  13. Handling Cases of Pasty Butt

    When chicks are raised by a mother hen, the hen does a lot of the dirty work necessary to raise her babies. Part of the care a mother hen provides is tending to the cloacal vent to keep it clear. As a result of mom\'s loving care, issues such as pasty butt are less likely to occur. When you are raising chicks in the absence of their mother, being responsible for such care then falls on you. Spending your time looking at chick butts for signs of clogged vents will soon become a normal part of...
  14. Treatment Options for Stargazing

    Stargazing is a term that refers to a condition where a chick is unable to hold its head upright. Instead, the head of the chick flops backward and rests upon its back, giving the impression that the chick is looking at the sky, or stargazing. This condition is the result of a progressive paralysis that starts in the feet and works its way up through the legs and wings to finally affect the neck. If you have a chick with this condition, leg function will be impeded and the bird may even...
  15. Possible Explanations for Feather Loss

    Every now and then you may find your coop and yard littered with feathers. There can be several reasons for this, some of which are perfectly normal. Since chickens go through processes in which they lose old feathers and replace them with new ones, it is not always necessary to panic. Even if it does sometimes seem like the feather loss is so extreme that a whole chicken may have been lost to a predator, a quick head count will ease your mind. Once you are certain all head are present and...
Loading...