Regardless whether you purchased chickens from a reputable store or hatchery, there are unpredictable instances when things go wrong. Even if chooks were raised in clean and warm brooders, equipped with everything they need, such as feed and clean water, sometimes it will still result in unhealthy birds.
Nevertheless, there isn’t anything to worry about because most of these problems can be treated naturally. Yes, you read it right. You need not to use antibiotics. You need not to purchase expensive chemicals. As long as you know what illness it is, then you can definitely combat it with the materials you have at home.
Below is a guide that’ll give you a better understanding about the common illnesses in backyard chickens and how you can prevent them.
To date, coccidiosis is the leading cause of death among baby chooks. This parasitic disease is highly contagious and is known to damage the intestinal tract. Bloody stools and lethargy are two of the most common symptoms of this disease.
If you suspect one chick has coccidiosis, act quickly and separate him from the rest. Feed him with equal parts of milk and feed mixed with plain yogurt. By doing that, all the parasites in the intestine will be flushed out. To replenish good bacteria in the intestine, it is best to add some probiotic powder into the feed or give him cinnamon and oregano oil.
Although you can always opt for commercial medicated feed, you can still go natural. Simply add garlic, probiotic powder, and apple cider vinegar into the diet of your chicks. That way, you can help boost their immune system.
2. Pale Butt
Pale butt normally happens when feces blocks the chick’s vent, making it hard for him to excrete. This condition is very common among birds that are transported as they suffer stress and sudden changes in the temperature.
In order to prevent your flock from suffering this condition, it would be best to buy chickens from a local hatchery. You can even hatch eggs on your own. Just make sure that when hatching, you keep the temperature constant.
But then again, if your chicks show signs of pasty butt, you can help them by cleaning their vent with a cotton swab dipped in olive oil and warm water. To aid clearing up the condition, add raw oatmeal, probiotic powder, and cornmeal into the feed.
3. Crossed Beak
Popularly known as scissor beak, this condition is a deformity in a chick’s beak wherein the top and the bottom part of the beak don’t line up properly. This is often caused by genes and is said to worsen over time.
To prevent this case, a chick suffering from this condition must not be bred. And to help the chick close its beak better, file the beak with an emery board. When feeding, moisten the feed and put the feeder somewhere elevated to help the chick eat easily.
4. Respiratory Diseases
Respiratory diseases are very common in poultry because of their intricate respiratory systems. Signs include bubbling eyes, runny nostrils, coughing, and sneezing.
Once your chicks show any of these symptoms, treat them by squirting saline solution into the eyes to clear the sinuses. Do that for several days. If symptoms persist, offer them with chopped herbs like fresh basil, thyme, dill, and clover.
To help avoid this, keep the airways of your birds functioning well by using huge pine chips as bedding for the chicken coop.
5. Marek’s Disease
Marek’s disease is a term that is usually associated with various contagious viral syndromes that result in paralysis and tumors among backyard chickens.
To provide partial immunity, vaccines are often given. But sometimes, healthy chicks are also exposed for a limited time to the virus, which can be found in the yard.
As a pre-emptive measure, make sure the chicken coop is clean and help the birds build strong immune systems by mixing probiotic powder, garlic, and apple cider vinegar into their diet.
At the moment, there is no cure for Marek’s disease, but a helpful measure is to separate the infected birds to make sure they continue drinking and eating to keep their immune systems strong. It is their only way to survive.
Though most of these diseases are potentially fatal, they can be avoided by simply obtaining backyard chickens from reputed and legit sources. And then, do not think twice about investing in supplements for the immune system. By doing all that, you will reap off great perks in the long run, such as harvesting fresh and organic eggs every morning.
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