Animals by nature seem to be accident prone at times. It could be due to their curiosity or it could be because they do not always connect the dots between injuries and danger. To a chicken, it may make perfect sense to cross the road but we may never know if they look both ways first to see if cars are coming or worry about what might be lurking on the other side.
The ability to injure one's self is not species specific. Any animal you own can become injured at any time. Because of this, it is wise to have on hand a first aid with items specifically intended to care for that type of animal. In the case of chickens, you may have to deal with foot injuries such as bumblefoot, respiratory infections, bee or wasp stings, frostbite, parasites, or even injuries inflicted by other members of the flock. Being prepared to handle health issues as they arise will help you tend to the initial problem before it becomes a much bigger problem. While vet care is important and should be sought as needed, there are some smaller problems you may be able to solve yourself if properly equipped.
Having the medicines and supplies you need to care for your chickens all together in one safe, secure location will help you find what you need quickly. Store everything for the care of your chickens in a central location in a chicken-proof container such as something metal or plastic with a lid that closes securely. In addition to the medicines you might someday need, having a list of vet contacts inside of your chicken first aid kit will be helpful so you can call from the barn or coop with the injured or ill chicken nearby for observation. Some important for your first aid kit are:
1. Vetwrap is a self-adhesive bandage good for wrapping up injuries. It can be manipulated at odd angles and secures without clips. Other bandaging tools should be handy as well, such as sterile gauze pads, cotton balls, Q-tips, and first aid tape.
2. Triple Antibiotic Ointment is good for wound care as it prevents infection. It is available in both name brand and generic, store brand versions that cost less but all brands seem equally effective.
3. Betadine is a microbicide that is used topically to reduce bacteria that can cause skin infection.
4. Saline solutions are good for rinsing out eyes that may have debris in them or are showing signs of infection.
5. Liquid Calcium can assist with eggbound hens.
6. Poultry VetRx is useful in fighting eyeworm, scaly leg, and respiratory issues.
7. Nutri-Drench will help replenish vitamins and other nutrients in ill birds to help them regain their strength.
8. Vaseline canhelp prevent frostbite on feet or combs.
9. Kocci Free helps eliminate coccidia and giardia protozoa naturally through use of organic anti-microbial and anti-parasitic herbs.
10. Epsom Salts can be used for soaking injured feet and for consumption purposes to aid with diarrhea, vent gleet, and intestinal bolckages.
11. Liquid Childrens' Benadryl can be used to calm stings from bees, wasps, or scorpions.
12. Electrolytes can be administered during hot weather to replenish those that are lost.
13. Vetericyn is a non-toxic spray for cuts, scratches, ringworm, and much more. It has a good reputation for working well and I am one of those who swear by it.
14. Blood Stop Powder (Styptic Powder) to stop minor bleeding.
15. Probiotics to improve gut health in chicks and birds that do not appear to be thriving.
Something to remember is that any type of medication that has 'caine' or 'cane' in the name can be toxic to chickens. This means that things such as novacaine, lidocaine, benzocaine, etc. should never be used on chickens. Another useful component to a first aid kit is a quarantine area, which can be something portable such as a pet carrier with some blankets and towels inside. You can also consider using that pet carrier to house your first aid kit when not in use. The carrier will also be good for whisking animals off to the vet as needed. Also add a flashlight with fresh batteries because injuries do not only happen during convenient daylight hours.
Always keep an eye on the expiration dates on the medicines and such in your first aid kit and replace those that are near to expiration. While expired medicines are not completely useless, they do wane in effectiveness, so having something current is in your best interests and those of your chickens. As long as you keep a thoroughly stocked first aid kit on hand, you will have on your side the preparedness needed to handle injuries as they arise. There may still be a need to seek veterinary help at times, but being able to provide even minimal initial care could mean the difference in the life and death of an ill or injured bird. Hopefully you will never need a first aid kit, but you should definitely have one for just in case.