by Heather Ranck
(Elizabethton TN )

Can i prevent the chicks from getting sick ? and how bout when there are grown?


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by: Sharon

No matter if you're new to keeping chickens, or just thinking about it, learning to keep them healthy is the most important basis for how to buy & care for them.

Buying chicks or chickens from a responsible & reputable source is where to start. You may not buy from a big hatchery with a good name & guarantee, but if you go somewhere to buy poultry, you should see healthy individuals in reasonably clean brooders, cages, coops, pens or yards. Someone who lives near you may be selling chicks or chickens & if you don't know what a healthy chicken looks like, you won't know what to look for.

A healthy chick or chicken is alert, clean, active and responds to its environment. Feathers might be dusty from a dust bath, but eyes should be bright and free of discharge & rear ends should be free of a build up of droppings. Feathering should be good, free of bald spots (unless molting season or maybe Turkins). Exposed skin on the comb, wattles, lobes should be free of sores. Legs and feet should be clean and smooth if not feathered. Chickens that live in a dirty environment are at higher risk of disease - their keepers aren't taking good care of them.

Chickens can become infested with Poultry Fleas, Lice & different types of Mites. Well fed & well cared for chickens are less likely to become ill, but are not immune. Learning how to house & care for chickens properly will prevent many problems. We have a whole library on our web site to help you learn about keeping chickens healthy, as well as hundreds of questions and answers about all kinds of chicken health topics.

Different areas may be more prone to certain diseases and chicken health problems than others. Some diseases that affect chickens can be carried by wild birds. There are vaccinations for chickens, and many hatcheries sell vaccinated chicks and chickens, but there isn't a vaccination for every chicken illness.

It can be pretty obvious when some chickens are carrying a disease as they look poorly, like we might with a bad cold or flu. Some diseases can be carried by chickens that look perfectly healthy, but can still pass the disease on to others.

The less you know about chickens, the better it will be to find a well established hatchery with a good reputation, that sells vaccinated stock. As you learn more about chickens & their health, you will be better qualified to spot problems.

I would avoid livestock auctions as a beginner. Often people bring infected poultry, and there are no guarantees.

There are too many chicken diseases and illnesses to mention here. Many of us have had chickens a long time and still run into new illnesses and mysterious symptoms in our chickens from time to time.

The best way to keep CHICKS healthy is to learn how to keep their brooder clean and warm enough, what to feed, what not to, and to always offer a source of clean water. Using wood shavings in the brooder can be dangerous as chicks are just learning and may eat the shavings and get very ill.

To keep older chickens healthy, the same basic rules apply. Chickens should have a good coop that keeps them out of wind, a place they can go to get out of rain or heat, that is safe at night. Don't buy new chickens and put them in with your healthy chickens, unless you can keep them in a separate place for a week or two, making sure they are healthy.

Keep food stores clean and dry, safe from mice and rats that might carry disease. Never feed grains or processed foods that have gotten wet and spoiled.

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