On Sunday I found my boy Charlie wheezing and blowing out the most pitiful crow. I immediately panicked, I mean seriously, another sick chicken, and the most important member of our flock. With the luck we’ve had lately, his mortality has me holding my breath and crossing my fingers that he can recover. I assessed his symptoms and knew the first thing to do.
The reality of a chicken keeper is the fact that your birds’ medical care is in your hands. Avian veterinary medicine is specialized, so there are few veternairns that practice Avain care that you would be able to access should your birds fall ill or get injured. Honestly, the cost of that specialized care is usually beyond what most of us would be willing to pay for, and truly you will be able to treat your birds as well as a vet would anyway, once you acquire some knowledge and experience.
Your best resource is always someone who is experienced in the field of your interest, that is exceptionally true for poultry keeping. My friend Hilton is 85 years young and has been an invaluable source of knowledge for us in this new endeavour. When we first got our goslings, we didn’t know a thing about them, and there was very little information about geese on the Internet, so our farm store proprietor hooked us up. Hilton invited our family over and proudly showed us his beautiful heritage chickens and Call Ducks, he let us ask him as many silly questions as we wanted, and continues to do so today.
The Internet is also a wonderful tool offering answers to almost any questions you have. I have found Pinterest and “Backyard Chickens” to be extremely useful sites.
Charlie’s wheezing and haggard crow indicated to me some type of respiratory issue. The first thing I want to do is give him some antibiotics, in case he has a respiratory infection. I moved him into his crate and went in to mix him up some medicated water using Tetracycline. Tetracycline is a common livestock antibiotic that you can get at your farm store and you should have it on hand in case of emergencies. I have been ensuring he is getting his medicated water by giving it to him using a syringe as a dropper, about 4-5 times a day, (syringes are also available at your farm store).
Below is a picture of the Tetracycline package as well as a Piperazine package, which is a livestock dewormer that you should also have on hand.
Three days later Charlie appears to be recovering, I am keeping him outside in the fresh air and do not intend on putting him back in the coop until it is cleaned out this weekend. Fingers crossed Charlie continues to recover.
A First Aid kit is also an essential, injuries are common place in chicken keeping. Below is a picture of my First Aid kit.
-Epson Salt, can be used for a multitude of treatments, google it.
-Vaseline, wound care and also used in frost bite prevention on combs and waddles.
-Corn Starch, stops bleeding.
-Electric Tape, use to tie up a lame wing, use as a sling. The tape stays in one place and electric tape is flexible.
-Hydrogen Peroxide, wound disinfectant.
-10 ml syringe to administer medicine, electrolytes and water to sick birds.
-Stretch bandaging tapes and gauze.
-Nail files and cotton swabs.
Out of all of these items, I used Vaseline the most, it is a wound fix all!
During your experiences as a Poultry Hobbiest, you will fill your First Aid kit with items you find useful 🙂