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Raising Healthy Chickens

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Life Outside the Egg: A Chick’s First Few Weeks

For the first few days after hatching, a chick can’t maintain her own body temperature and needs to be kept warm, either by mother hen’s body heat or by a supplemental heat source that you can provide. [more…]

Coccidiosis in Chickens

Coccidiosis is such a common and serious problem for flock keepers everywhere. Microscopic coccidia parasites are the archenemies of poultry farmers, who must spend tremendous amounts of effort and money [more…]

Parasitic Worms in Chickens

A zoo of parasitic worms can be found in chicken flocks. Worms find cozy places to stay in the crop, gizzard, intestine, cecum, windpipe, and even the eyelids. [more…]

Poultry External Parasites — Lice and Mites

Poultry lice and mites are extremely common external parasites of chickens. You can spot these critters before they get out of control if you periodically pick up and examine chickens in your flock. [more…]

Temporary External Parasites of Chickens

Have you seen chiggers, fleas, and bedbugs on your chickens? Take a look at a lineup of a few other suspects. These are part-time pests, jumping on chickens for a meal and then bailing off. They may be [more…]

How to Recognize Fungal Infections in Chickens: Molds and Yeasts

Sometimes your flock may come down with ailments caused by fungal infections. Fungi aren’t plants or animals; they’re a unique, primitive category of life all their own. Mushrooms, molds, and yeast are [more…]

Health Problems Unique to Chickens Raised for Meat

Some health problems are unique to broilers, the strains of chickens that have been specifically designed by people for meat production. Backyard flock keepers can purchase day-old broiler chicks and raise [more…]

Bumblefoot (Pododermatitis), a Chicken's Health Problem

Bumblefoot is the term used for any swelling of a chicken's toe or foot pad (the spongy bottom of the foot). The condition is an extremely common problem for older backyard hens. Chickens with bumblefoot [more…]

Chicken Crop Problems: Sour Crop and Impactions

Sometimes, your chicken can develop problems where the crop won’t empty properly, leading either to sour crop or crop impaction. Most times, the bulge on the front of your chicken’s neck is most likely [more…]

Gout and Kidney Stones in Chickens

Gout in chickens isn’t a single disease but a sign of dysfunctional kidneys. A long list of causes can lead to kidney disease, and high on the list are infections, nutritional imbalances, toxins, or water [more…]

How to Recognize the General Signs of Illness in Your Chickens

Before you can help a sick chicken, you need to know how to identify a sick chicken. The figure shows a droopy chicken, exhibiting several signs of illness. Here’s how a droopy chicken looks and acts: [more…]

How to Give Your Chickens a Physical Examination

After you recognize that you have a sick chicken, you need to do a physical examination to collect more clues about the problem. A chicken physical exam rarely includes taking the temperature or pulse. [more…]

Respiratory Illness in Chickens

Typical signs of respiratory illness in chickens include sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and runny nose and eyes. The miserable patient also suffers fatigue and loss of appetite. With the exception of a [more…]

Diarrhea in Adult Chickens

Some loose droppings are normal for chickens. Several times a day, a chicken passes sticky, smelly brown cecal poops that you may mistake for diarrhea. Droppings that look like cecal poops should make [more…]

Egg-Laying Troubles: Egg-Binding and Vent Prolapse

A hen having trouble laying eggs is egg-bound. When part of a hen’s oviduct (which should stay inside the abdomen) sticks out through the vent to the outside, the hen is suffering from a [more…]

Chicken Egg Quality Issues

A star-performer backyard hen can lay more than 250 eggs a year, but even superstars have occasional bad days, and not all of her eggs will be perfect. Some of the eggs from healthy hens are really weird [more…]

Poor Sight and Sore Eyes in Chickens

Chickens have extremely good daytime vision. In fact, chickens rely on their sense of sight more than other senses to conduct their daily business. Flock keepers notice quickly when chickens have impaired [more…]

Necropsying a Chicken: The Internal Organs

You may want to review chicken anatomy before you make your first cut. As you perform the steps, jot down notes about anything that puzzles you during the necropsy. Describe the color, size, texture, and [more…]

Necropsying a Chicken: Head, Neck, Joints, and Nerves

During the postmortem exam of a chicken, you should evaluate the internal organs first. Then, move on to the head and neck, following by the joints and nerves. To inspect these items and finish up your [more…]

How to Spot Problems of Newly Hatched Chicks

The starting point in a chick’s life is pipping, the moment that a chick breaks through the shell and begins its entrance into the world. A healthy hatchling innately knows exactly what to do, and you [more…]

How to Recognize Problems of Growing Chickens

The most common problems of the growing period of backyard chickens’ lives are respiratory illness, diarrhea, and nervous system problems. Young chickens can suffer from all the causes of respiratory illness [more…]

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