Have you recently started keeping chickens? As a first-time flock owner, it’s important for you to get to know your birds. Chickens are quite hardy, but they are still prone to developing certain illnesses and diseases. A Greater Cincinnati vet lists some common issues below.
We know, this isn’t the best part of having backyard birds. However, just like any other animal, our feathered patients can be prone to parasites. Your flock can be infested by a variety of creepy-crawlies, including ticks, lice, and worms. Parasites can cause a variety of issues. For instance, scaly legs, a common issue with fairly self-explanatory symptoms, is caused by mites. Ask your vet for more advice on prevention and treatment.
Egg binding is what happens when a hen is unable to lay her egg. This can be caused by a variety of things, including stress, malnutrition, disease, illnesses, and injury. How do you tell if a hen is bound? Your feathered friend may move around restlessly, as she won’t be able to get comfortable. She may also withdraw and just stand somewhere by herself, looking miserable. You’ll see the bulge where the egg is if you inspect her.
Chickens don’t do well on just grain and kitchen scraps. They actually have a fairly robust menu, which should include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. It’s also important to choose the right type of feed for your chickens. Laying hens have different requirements than pullets! Ask your vet for specific advice, including serving sizes, feeding schedules, and suitable treats.
Chickens can develop a variety of issues in relation to their crops and gizzards, including impactions, blocked crops and gizzards. Sour crop is also quite common. This happens when food—often long grasses—gets ‘stuck’ in the crop, stopping proper ingestion of other foods. Eventually, it will begin to rot, which will result in a foul odor and, of course, an unhappy chicken. Left untreated, these issues can cause severe malnourishment and eventually, death.
These are just a few issues that are often seen in chickens. Others include prolapses, cannibalism, and viral and bacterial diseases. This is one area where prevention is much better than the cure! Ask your vet for tips on keeping your flock healthy.
Do you have questions about chicken care? Contact us, your Greater Cincinnati veterinary clinic, today!