What to Look For in Chicken Diseases
By Suzie OConnor
Most medical conditions that affect backyard flock poultry affect the respiratory system of the animal. This particular system includes the air sacs of the body, the passages that permit the intake and outtake of air, as well as the lungs. If you keep chickens for your personal use, or for commercial purposes, it is important to understand that diseases respiratory based in the poultry are capable of spreading rapidly within a flock. Here, you will learn about five of the most common diseases, as well as chicken diseases symptoms so that you may appropriately identify health issues before they affect your entire backyard flock.
Infectious Bronchitis is a diseases respiratory based in backyard flock chickens that is relatively common. This condition is also known as “Bronchitis” and a “Cold”. This disease is specific to chickens in particular when it comes to types of poultry. The infection may be mild to severe, depending on several circumstances such as the strength of the immunity of the bird, and other conditions present in the environment in which the chicken is located. Chicken diseases symptoms that are present when it comes to this particular illness include, but are not limited to:
Many chicken owners have discovered that the chickens in their flocks come down with a condition which is called “Avian Influenza”. This is also known as the “Fowl Plague”, and the “Flu”. While any type of bird may acquire this illness, chicken owners should be concerned because of the fact that it can spread rapidly through flocks. There are many ways that this condition can be transmitted from one chicken to another, making it a large concern when it comes to diseases respiratory in home flocks. These methods include contamination by shoes that can carry it from one location to another, insects, rodents, and even equipment used in chicken coops and the basic care of chickens. Chicken diseases symptoms may include any or all of the following:
Mycoplasma Gallisepticum or “Chronic Respiratory Disease” is a diseases respiratory that many chickens may be affected by. Many may also refer to this illness as “Mycoplasmosis” or “Infectious Sinusitis”. While poultry such as turkeys and ducks may be affected by this condition, backyard flock chickens are commonly affected as well. Chicken diseases symptoms present with this diseases respiratory include:
Fowl Pox is another common chicken disease found in backyard flocks. This is known by many names, such as “Chicken Pox” (Not the same as the human version), “Bird Pox”, and “Avian Diphtheria”. When poultry suffers from this diseases respiratory, there are many chicken diseases symptoms present, such as:
Infectious Coryza is often called “Cold” or “Roup”. Many refer to this diseases respiratory as “Coryza”. This is extremely common among backyard flocks of chickens. Chicken diseases symptoms include many of the following:
As you can see, there are many common diseases that affect chickens kept in backyard flocks. All of the diseases here are considered to be diseases respiratory. If you want to ensure the health of your backyard flock, it is important to learn about the conditions as well as chicken diseases symptoms. Here, you have been introduced to the five most common diseases. For further information, you may research your local library or ask your vet.
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6 Reasons You Should Raise Chickens in The City
By Connie Lewis
The need for fresh meat and eggs is the main reason why most people raise chickens. Raising chickens, especially in the city comes with its challenges. What they eat ultimately determines the meat’s quality and nutritional content of the eggs.
Therefore, it’s important that you know how to raise chickens to get the best quality of meat and eggs. But why would you really want to raise chickens in the city? While there are many reasons let’s have a comprehensive look at six of them.
1. You get a good supply of meat and eggs… This is the most obvious reason for raising chickens in the city. You don’t need to raise a large flock to realize this. Having a flock of about 10 – 20 chickens will ensure your family has a good supply of eggs and meat. You may even have surplus eggs to sell of give to your neighbors.
2. They’re easy to feed… People who know how to raise chickens will tell you that feeding them is perhaps the easiest part. Your chickens will eat almost anything, from grass to worms to green vegetables to leftovers from your kitchen. Once in a while, give them some commercial feed that has special nutrients to make sure they stay healthy.
3. Their waste can be used as manure… What goes in your compost pile can be used to make incredible liquid fertilizer if steeped with chicken manure or water. Chicken waste has a very high nitrogen content, piles up relatively fast and can be a great source of nutrients for your plants.
4. They get rid of bugs and control pests… Chickens can eat a large variety of insects such as aphids, ticks, slugs and cabbage worms. This means that your plants remain healthy throughout the year. Also, the population of damaging insects is kept to the minimum. They are also good weed suppressors. Besides eating weeds, they eat thousands of seeds as they scratch and claw for food. This in turn keeps your garden looking nice and tidy.
5. They don’t make a lot of noise… Many people who don’t know how to raise chickens think that they are some of the noisiest animals you can ever raise in the city. However, the truth is that hens don’t make noise; roosters do. Therefore, it’s only logical that you keep the rooster population at its bare minimum. Note that you don’t need to have roosters in your flock for the hens to lay.
6. They’re easy to own… If you know how to raise chickens, you will be quick to notice that it doesn’t take a lot to have your own flock. They are relatively easy to care for. You will probably spend an average of five minutes a day to keep the feeder full; water full and collect the eggs. A thorough cleaning once a week and will only take you about fifteen minutes.
You also have an option of choosing from the many breeds depending on your needs. There are breeds that provide both meat and eggs. Some breeds are small and lay very small eggs. Others lay brown eggs or white while others lay specked eggs.
Owning chickens in the city also means you can have a chance to preserve an endangered breed. There are a number of heritage breeds that have been reduced in number because commercial growers mainly concentrate on the breeds that grow a little bit faster.
Chickens, unlike other animals don’t need personalized attention. Learning how to raise chickens at home can be very fulfilling. However, knowing how to make homemade chicken feed [http://storageshedskits.ca/how-do-you-make-homemade-chicken-feed/] can save you money and product healthier chickens. For more information visit [http://storageshedskits.ca/how-do-you-make-homemade-chicken-feed/]
Problems You Should Expect With Raising Backyard Chickens
By Cheryl D. Jones
Chickens are generally healthy, hardy, and happy animals that also can be very friendly to people and each other (and other animals). But, unfortunately, one reality about raising chickens is simply that chickens are very prone to sickness, disease, and behavioral issues. It never seems to matter how careful chicken keepers are – problems with health and behavior always seem to arise even with the best of care and the most careful attendance is paid. Basically, the truth is, problems with arise with raising chickens.
Most problems with chickens are very common and are generally fairly benign. Some require minimal adjustments to solve. Some of the common issues, no matter how careful you are, require immediate and severe response as to not lose the entire flock. Here are the most common problems that you can expect with chickens, and how you can fix them.
Raising chickens can be a wonderful addition to the home garden and are essentials on the homestead. They offer immense enjoyment and seem to simply “fit in” with human life. They’re fun, cute, and beautiful. They offer a lot more in return for what they’re given. Despite the problems that chicken owners will have to face, they’re so very much worth it!
Cheryl D. Jones, shares gardening tips and landscape ideas through her blog, newsletters and her nursery’s website. Visit GreenwoodNursery.com for a full line of plants including trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and ground covers. Join the Greenwood Gardeners Club free to receive Greenwood Nursery’s weekly newsletter, seasonal promotions and 10% off your first order.
Greenwood Nursery now offers chicken coop kits. Our small chicken coops are perfect for smaller yards or urban gardens.
Plants That Will Feed Your Chickens For Free
By Cheryl D. Jones
We’re not talking about purchasing some acreage and a tractor for you to grow wheat on. We’re not talking about raiding feed silo doorways for spilled piles of grain (never do this). We’re not even talking about raiding kind grocery stores for their day old produce and bread- which many grocery stores won’t entertain by the way. No, we’re talking about feeding your chickens a harvest from the landscape and reasonable space you already have. So how do you do it? What should you grow? Here is our list of fruiting plants that will feed your chickens for free.
You may have to think creatively and try growing things that you normally wouldn’t grow in certain applications. For example, instead of filling a sunny spot with a ground cover of sedum, try growing a ground cover of strawberry plants. Strawberries are excellent ground cover plants. They are healthy, naturally disease resistant, and very hardy plants too. Their often semi-evergreen foliage is pleasing throughout the season. They form tight, dense mats which keep out weeds. And of course, they make white or pink flowers sometimes throughout the entire growing season, which then bear big, bright red fruit. A small established area of strawberries will yield a LOT of fruit, but thankfully strawberries store well in a number of ways. You can make a jam with them, freeze them whole or sliced or macerated, or even dehydrate them. Strawberries are excellent food for chickens, full of vitamins and minerals. And of course, they are a sweet and tangy, yet healthy treat! They’re also good for you too.
We’ve mentioned the wonderful possibilities of the humble blueberry in the landscape before. Blueberries are quickly becoming popular in landscapes everywhere because of their beauty (and of course, delicious harvest). Blueberries, like strawberries, store well too. A hedge of blueberries will yield more blueberries than you can use in a short amount of time, so freezing them or canning them is necessary. Chickens absolutely love blueberries too, and blueberries are very good for chickens. Just as in humans, blueberries contain antioxidants and other good chemicals that help fight sickness and disease. The Sweetheart Blueberry is a great blueberry for hedges. It makes a great privacy screen too, as it grows to a good 5 to 6 feet tall at full maturity. Try planting some around your chicken coop too, for quick and easy access to this delicious bounty.
Raspberries are a treat for chickens just as much as they are a treat for people. They are one crop, along with blueberries and strawberries, that when grown at home make sense. Purchasing them from the grocery store means you’re limited to expensive and sub-par fruit. And raspberries are especially good for you and your chickens. And again, grown at home will mean an overabundance of these wonderful fruit, so you have enough to feed your chickens free of charge for a while as you also store some for later use. Raspberries are easy to store, with freezing and canning. Add them to your chicken feed throughout the year for a boost in nutrition. Raspberries are best grown as naturalized hedges in full sun borders. Kept properly pruned and they can be attractive, especially as they flower and fruit. Some canes turn beautifully purple and blue in the winter months. Heritage Raspberry is a great cultivar to start with!
You’d be surprised how far a few plants of strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry can go in your chicken’s feeding routine. And, best of all, the harvest is free! Don’t forget to enjoy along with your chickens too.
Cheryl D. Jones, shares gardening tips and landscape ideas through her blog, newsletters and her nursery’s website. Visit https://www.GreenwoodNursery.com/ for a full line of plants including shade trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and ground covers.
Join the Greenwood Gardeners Club free to receive Greenwood Nursery’s weekly newsletter, seasonal promotions and 10% off your first order.
Can Chickens and Gardens Co-Exist?
By Cheryl D. Jones
Considering adding chickens to your garden plan? Read this article first.
Gardens and chickens co-existing is a debatable topic. There’s some amount of literature out there regarding sustainable garden techniques for the homesteader using chickens in the garden as help, but when you get into reading suggestions on how this works you notice that a lot of advice centers around keeping chickens OUT of the garden with a few exceptions. And a lot of seasoned gardeners and chicken keepers will agree with this sentiment. Yes, it’s true – generally, chickens are adorable destructive forces of nature that happen to thank you with eggs sometimes, but that’s not enough thanks when it comes to the total destruction of your flower beds. Is it even possible to allow chickens and your gardens existing, together, permanently and happily? Well, we’re here to tell you that it IS possible under the right circumstances. Indeed- it is!
Over years of trial and error and patience, and through lots of research and discussion among fellow gardeners, homesteaders, and backyard chicken keepers, we’ve compiled a general guide on how to make chickens and gardens exist together happily. And it’s possible to make it happen no matter where you live or how you live, or how many birds you have- given a few adjustments and reality checks.
A lot of people will recommend keeping chickens in an enclosed run, which solves all of these issues of course. And for many reasons, keeping chickens in a run is a great idea. There are many of us however that acknowledge the dangers of free range and risk it for the benefits. This article pertains to these chicken keepers and garden diggers.
Accept that there are plants that will always be targets for chickens.
First of all, there are plants that it will be impossible to allow chickens access to without complete disaster. Consider most anything you find edible, whether they are leafy greens or fruiting plants, to be on the menu. Chickens will obsessively devour these foods, dig up shallow growing potatoes and devour them, and jump up to high tomatoes on tall vines for a chance at a peck into a sweet and juicy tomato. Even older, experienced chickens that turn their noses up to a treat of lettuce will still eat it and scratch it to nothings, even if there are plenty of bugs and worms abound- given enough time. We’ve compiled a list of edibles that chickens will most certainly destroy, and if you grow these with free ranging chickens, your only hope is completely closing these plants off from chickens with good fencing.
*Berries of all kinds
*Most all kitchen herbs, especially the new green fleshy growth
*Squashes, summer and winter, and even gourds
*Sweet, mild, and even screaming hot peppers
And anything else that you find tasty, they will too. There have been some exceptions. For example, in my experience I have yet to have chickens destroy the roots of root crops, but they devour the tops. I’ve heard of chickens scratching up potatoes and eating them but mine have yet to do that to my potato patch, and mine have generally left the greens of the tomatoes alone.
Give them space, and minimal fencing works.
The good news is, if your chickens have access to lots of productive foraging area, they generally leave the greens alone. They also become easily distracted and even small fences that they can’t really figure out seem to annoy them enough that they don’t bother trying to surmount the barrier problem. For example, my flock of ten hens and a rooster are kept out of garden beds with two foot high chicken wire fences with about a half-acre of area that they free range in. That’s it. Plants will grow over the tops of the fences and sometimes get nipped, but my chickens won’t bother trying to leap a chicken wire fence if they have plenty of other things to do and eat. It’s also been reported that short picket fences of about the same height have the same effect. As long as a chicken can’t easily crawl under or through a gap, as long as there’s lots of room to occupy their minds and their bellies they give up on barriers pretty quick. A short picket or chicken wire fence is cheap, easy and quick to install too.
There are some ornamental plants, such has plants you’d put in containers like short growing salvias, petunias, calendula, impatiens, coleus, and others that chickens like to eat too. Include these in inaccessible areas or baskets like high hanging baskets or window boxes, and you won’t have a problem.
With the right plants, you can enjoy the benefits of the scratching and pecking!
Honestly, there’s a lot that chickens do that HELP plants, with all of the scratching, pooping, and pecking that they do. Around the bases of my established shrubs and trees, they clean out weeds and grubs, and they pick off bugs from plants, off of the ground, and even right out of the air! Since we established chickens on our property, we’ve noticed a drastic reduction in mosquitos, as chickens pick larvae out of pools and the pond, and they will eat mosquitos buzzing around in the air. Chickens can help keep containers of unruly petunias bushy and neat by their incessant pecking at new growth although this has to be watched. There are perennial plants that chickens seem to generally ignore that work fantastically in the landscape too, and are quickly filling in the beds that chickens have access to.
These plants include:
*Evergreens such as junipers and pines
*Hollyhocks and all malva
*Hens and Chicks
*Aruncus (all types it seems)
*Native North American prairie grasses and plants in general
There are many others, and a lot of discovering what plants your chickens will leave alone will center on a lot of trial and error. For example, I hear from plenty of other chicken keepers that their ferns and hosta are completely ignored by chickens, yet mine were devoured right away after my chickens discovered my shade garden.
Keeping mulch in the garden is a bit of a chore with chickens, but a weekly rake helps to not only remove the weeds the chickens miss (like those little woody tree sprouts!) and a chance to add more mulch and check your landscape for health and problems (and enjoy of course!).
If you want birds but still aren’t convinced… get ducks.
And, if your heart is set on a couple of farm-ish birds for pets and eggs and for hopeful garden help and still aren’t willing to risk your hard work in the garden, consider the humble duck. Ducks are gentle on the garden, eat the bugs, fertilize as they go, but won’t scratch or destroy your plants. There has been one exception to this in my experience. My poor elephant ear bulb sprouts haven’t stood a chance with ducks, but that’s been my only bad experience. Those wide floppy feet do walk over plants but they never do damage. Ducks will decimate slug, snail and grub problems very quickly, and for the quick bird they’ll destroy grasshopper populations as well. Even in a small yard, a small barrier keeps them out too. And on a husbandry note, ducks are quiet and healthy animals if you compare them to chickens, and are less needy. A duck or two might just be a better option for the gardener!
Chickens and gardens are possible under careful consideration and many exceptions. We hope that this article gives you hope and a better idea of what to expect when keeping a garden and chickens together.
Cheryl D. Jones, shares gardening tips and landscape ideas through her blog, newsletters and her nursery’s website.
Visit GreenwoodNursery for Chicken Coops and plants for that area as well as a full line of garden plants including trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and ground covers.
Join the Greenwood Gardeners Club free to receive Greenwood Nursery’s weekly newsletter, seasonal promotions and 10% off your first order.
Growing up on a farm you get to understand a little of chicken behaviour and come up with solutions for challenging problems.
One of these is getting broody hens to sit on a new clutch of eggs she has not laid. Typically a hen would become broody or as we say in Australia “clucky” and take over one of the nesting boxes. This meant other hens would lay around her and all eggs would end up under her or broken – including those not fertile.
The solution is to create a separate nest for her away from the main coop. Moving her onto a clutch of eggs that are all fertile and as they are incubated at the same time, will all hatch within a day or so of each other.
We found in many cases the hen would quite happily sit on the new eggs provided but on occasion there was a difficult customer who was quite indignant and would refuse to sit on her new nest.
The solution? I would move her at night to the new location (on dusk or early evening) and close off the front of the nest.
The idea behind this was the hen would sit and sleep on the eggs overnight and by morning would be settled enough to stay put.
Worth a try.