In honor of this week being Bird Health Awareness week (Nov. 1 – Nov. 7, 2010) we’ll be fixing up our poultry first aid kit and doing a detailed exam of all our birds.
To keep up on the health of our birds, we visually check the birds twice daily, looking to make sure everyone is perky and moving around normally; anything different prompts a detailed inspection. We also go through the coop daily, checking droppings, being alert for anything unusual such as runny droppings or odd colors.
The normal range for chickens is quite extensive, so I like to reference other chicken keepers’ photos to help me evaluate. The Poultry Pages has an excellent photo archive for just this purpose that I’ve relied on quite a bit. I’ve found that examining the waste of any of our farm animals to be a valuable tool to evaluate their health and well-being.
|Our hand washing station|
A few times a year we do a more detailed check of each of the birds, checking vents, crops and general body condition.
This is also a good time to check for external pests and, if needed, to dust the birds. I’d love to be able to record the weight of each bird, but as of yet I haven’t found a suitable scale in my price range. Maybe I’ll add this to my Christmas wish list.
We have a plastic tote that we use to cart around our first aid supplies, but after a busy summer it is time to restock and to rethink what items work best for us. To start our kit we consulted the Internet and found the BroodyHen and My Pet Chicken sites to be the most helpful, and then we personalized the kit for our situation. Not being a vet, I can’t tell you what you should do, but here is what we like to stock in our poultry first aid kit:
|Our portable fences|