Chicken First Aid Kit – Be Prepared

20181218_152413-1Chickens are like all other animals. They can become injured or sick and require immediate care in order to recover.  A fight can occur between birds causing injury or your bird could be attacked by a predator. An unexpected illness can leave you scratching your head on how to care for your patient. I recommend that you prepare for these situations by having a stocked first aid kit handy and ready to use.

If your bird has been attacked and has an open, bleeding wound you will need to first clean the area. Hydrogen Peroxide or chlorhexidine solution is good for this.  After the wound is cleaned apply Vetericyn, neosporin or triple antibiotic ointment to help the wound heal. Vetrap bandaging or non stick guaze pads are nice because they don’t stick to feathers when removed.  After the wound has healed apply Blu Kote which will dye the area blue making it less attractive to other birds.  If pain relief is needed use 5 aspirin  (325 mg) to one gallon of water and use in waterer.

If your bird is not feeling well it is important to have on hand a variety medicines to help, once you diagnose the problem.  Epsom salts are great for soaking hen’s bottoms who are egg bound. Preparation H can help with prolapsed vents.  Vetrx is great for relieving congestion and stress. Place it near nostrils. Eye Wash is great for cleaning out eyes that become gunky. It is a good idea to have a wormer on hand if you discover worms in your bird’s chicken poo.A Mite and Lice treatment is handy to have at a moment’s notice. Having Corid ready to go for coccidiosis can be a life saver.  Nutri Drench or Save a chick can help with fast vitamins to the system.  Vaseline is handy for frostbite or scaly leg mites.  Tylan is used when you need to give a dose of antibiotics to your bird.

Things of a general nature to include in your chicken first aid kit would include: Q-tips, Pet nail trimmer cornstarch (stop bleeding) , Feeding syringe or dropper. latex gloves should be used so that germs are not transferred between you and the patient. A small scissors and tweezers are also handy to have nearby.

Create a sick bay area area for your bird to rest and recover in, away from the rest of the flock. Animal crates or Kennels are wonderful for this. Use soft comfortable bedding or puppy pads inside.  Food and water cups can hang on the wire sides of the kennel. Watch to make sure that your bird is eating and drinking. You may have to hand feed if they are not. Exact Hand Feeding is a product made for birds to use when they can’t eat on their own.  When it is time to reintroduce your bird back to the flock, remember that she will be a stranger to them and the pecking order will need to be established again.

Store all of your chicken first aid equipment together in some kind of tool box.  That way, you won’t be searching all over the house for items during times of emergency.  Have the phone number of a vet who knows something about treating chickens. It is easier to do this ahead of time rather than trying to locate someone later. Sometimes it is easier to simply buy a ready made chicken first aid kit. This one contains 7 items plus a tool box to keep the items in. Having a stocked first aid kit can give you a sense that you will be able to handle any emergency that occurs.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com .  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria J. Peterson

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How to Treat a Chicken That Has Been Attacked

20181218_152126-1There is nothing more devastating than finding one of your flock on the ground bleeding from an open wound. How you handle the situation will go far in determining a positive outcome for your bird.

Chickens are attacked in one of two ways. Males fight each other using spurs, feet or beaks and females will peck at another bird repeatedly, ultimately drawing blood. Predators will leave terrible wounds using teeth, claws, beaks and talons.

Wounds can either be on the surface or the worst could be puncture wounds that go into internal organs. Wounds close to the skins surface can be doctored at home but a deep wound will need the attention of a veterinarian.

If you find a bleeding chicken with a cut under the skin, it is important to act quickly.  Wrap it up in a towel and remove it from the rest of the flock. Bleeding, red wounds are attractive to other chickens who will want to peck at it. If the puncture wounds are deep, keep the chicken quiet to prevent shock.

For shallow wounds,  clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide.  You can use styptic powder to help stop the bleeding or apply pressure with your hand.  Wounds can also be cleaned with Betadine, Chlorhexadine 2% solution spray or Vetericyn wound care spray.   Dakin’s solution is good for deep or dirty wounds.  Dankin’s solution is made by adding one tablespoon of bleach plus one teaspoon of baking soda to one gallon of water.  This needs to be made fresh daily.

After the wound has been cleaned out, you will want to use a a product like neosporin (don’t use the kind that contains pain relief) or triple antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.  If infection does set in, clean the wound 2-3 times daily. Contact a vet for antibiotics. Redness, pus or heat  indicates infection.  If it is warm out, apply a wound dressing to prevent flies from laying eggs in the wound.

Keep your patient separated from the rest of the flock in a dog crate or dog kennel for better observation.  Cage cups can be hung from the side for food and water.  Always make sure that your bird is eating and drinking.   Offer water on a spoon or dropper if they can’t drink on their own. Add electrolytes and vitamins to the drinking water to help with shock and recovery.  Hand feed if necessary with spoon or dropper. Add water to food to make a mash or try a bird formula if needed.

Chickens do feel pain but will go to great lengths to not show it. If you feel that pain relief is needed an aspirin drinking solution can be offered.  Add 5 aspirin (325 mg X 5) tablets to one gallon of water for up to 3 days. Only use if there are not internal injuries.

When scabs have healed over, you can consider returning her to the flock. Remember that any redness will cause other hens to peck at the wound so make sure that she is fully healed. Because she has been gone for more than a few days, you will need to reintroduce her back to the flock as if she is a stranger to them.  How To Integrate New Chickens Into Your Flock  is a good refresher.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com .  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria J. Peterson

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