Dealing With Chicken Flock Illness
This post is written for Meyer Hatchery by our guest blogger:
I’m Hannah of Muddy Oak Hen House sharing my story on illness hitting the backyard flock. I have had the displeasure of learning the hard way and was forced to reevaluate my hen house habits to prevent chicken flock illness.
Like many, I started my backyard flock for fresh eggs from a healthy, well-loved flock. My first flock was started in March of 2016. My first chicks arrived and I quickly learned that while it’s fairly easy and incredibly fun to raise chicks, waiting to get your first egg seems to take forever. So I thought I would add chicks to my flock each year. I even brought home pullets the last spring I had my flock.
I quickly learned a hard and fast lesson that chicken flock illness in the coop can happen and it’s a hard process to go through. Please keep in mind, I’m the type of chicken keeper that enjoys spoiling her flock a bit but relies on them for food. I don’t ever pretend to have all the knowledge or to have pioneered the ways of chicken keeping…that was my granny’s mama’s generation if you ask me. My coop was built mostly from scrap materials with no wallpaper, not perfectly white and free of debris. It is lived in and functional. And my flock was exceptionally happy….until the spring before I said goodbye.
In the spring of 2018, we welcomed new pullets and chicks. The chicks stayed in our brooder in the barn till they were big enough to join. While the chicks were still in the brooder, the main hen house started having puffy, swollen and watery eyes, and a lack of interest in feed or moving around. The conclusion was it looks like maybe dust or something got into their eyes. If you ever notice hens have swollen puffy eyes, remove them from the flock and keep them separate while you determine if its debris in their eye or a sign of something bigger.
Over the next couple of days, I noticed a few hens making a cough/bark like the sound that had me anxious that the hens had something more than dust in their eyes. Some sounded like they were “out of breath” even. I had antibiotics tucked away and was advised to treat them. This is a heated topic for some. And really it boils down to do what works best for you and your family and never let someone shame you if you choose not to take an “all natural” approach on flock care. There is research that supports both sides of the fence and the decision is only for you to determine.
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