Wednesday, 26 March 2014

First Aid for Chickens

If you own chickens there is a good chance that at some stage you will need to administer some sort of first aid and it is good to know that you are somewhat prepared to deal with issues that arise.

Chicken Saddle in action
Before you read any further please note that I am not a vet and have no medical training.  These are just things that I have personally found helpful and I would suggest doing your own research.

There are a few things that I would say to new chicken owners about dealing with health issues and injuries:
  • No matter how bad things look there is always hope.  Chickens are tough little creatures and they have the ability to endure quite significant injuries and behave like nothing at all has happened.
  • Use the internet to look for answers.  I had never come across chicken pox before but by searching "white lumps on a chickens comb" I was able to use the images to diagnose what was going on.  I always look at a number of sites to see if I find the same solution being presented by a number of people.
  • Stay calm.  If you can stay calm then you will have a much greater chance of success. 
  • Keep the chicken calm too.  Wrapping them in a towel and covering their head loosely so they are in the dark will help with this.
  • Have somewhere you can isolate an individual chicken.  A pet carry cage is ideal but a seperate chicken tractor or pen will also work.  The benefit of the carry cage is that you can keep an injured chicken inside where it is warm and free of drafts if necessary and they are also a little less mobile so will not stress themselves out.
  • Finally - Keep some basic first aid supplies in the house that are suitable for using on chickens.  In my kit I keep chlorhexidine solution (often found in home first aid kits as you flushing or wound washing liquid.  It is far more gentle than hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.  A good antibiotic cream.  Non stick sterile pads, bandages, steri strips and tape.  Latex gloves.  Water based lubricant in case you have to deal with prolapse or egg bound birds.  Plastic syringes in case a bird gets crop bound and you need to get olive oil into them and massage their crop. Cotton buds and cotton balls, tweezers, scissors and nail clippers also come in handy.  Also a rather recent addition to our kit is a chicken saddle which is now being used on a second chicken and has been worth the $5 it cost.
What tips do you have for providing first aid for chickens?
Do you have a chicken first aid kit?  If so what is in yours?

1 comment:

  1. Great post Fiona! One of the most challenging aspects of keeping animals is having to learn vetting skills. There is always something happening or going on that requires attention. I looked at your previous post too and was amazed at the difference you've made in your chickens lives. You might consider writing a book of your own. :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts...
Thanks for taking the time to comment