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Learning Centre

Expert tips and tricks for backyard chicken keeping

First aid for chickens

Chicken health

Chickens are like all other animals that can become injured or sick and require immediate care in order to recover.  A fight can occur between birds causing injury, or your bird could be attacked by a predator.

You can easily do the basics with a few pointers. However, if something is bleeding excessively or we’re dealing with broken bones, puncture wounds from dogs and cats, or similar emergency-type situations, that’s when you need a veterinarian.

Things to take notice of:

  • Your chicken should hold its head high and even. Wryneck can be caused by local infections involving the middle ear and by trauma.
  • The comb should be red, upright and free of scabs. If it’s not red the bird could be anemic or could have lost a significant amount of blood. 
  • The head should be free of swelling; swelling around the eyes can occur from sinus infections and trauma.
  • The eyes should not be cloudy and should be free of discharge.
  • The nostrils should be clear and free of any discharge, crust, and scratches

First Aid Kit:

  • Bandages & medical tape
    • Use bandages & medical tape to cover wounds and discourage pecking. For treating injuries  Vetwrap works well. It is a self-adhering bandage used for animals.  The great part is it sticks to itself, but not to fur & feathers so it doesn’t cause damage when you need to remove it.  Use the Vetrap to secure the non-stick gauze pads in place. 
  • Iodine
    • Use iodine to disinfect any wounds.
  • Probiotics, superfood and garlic powder
  • Electrolytes
  • Pestene Powder & Diatomaceous Earth
  • Syringe or Dropper -Not just handy for administering medicine, a syringe can also be helpful if the chicken isn’t drinking on its own, or for feeding, if you need to mix up a liquid diet to keep her strength up.
  • Vasoline
    • Great for preventing frostbite.  It won’t treat it once they have frostbite damage, but a layer of vasoline rubbed on combs & wattles forms a moisture-resistant barrier to keep frostbite at bay.  It’s also very helpful for treating scaly leg mites.
  • Antibiotic – A great broad-spectrum, over-the-counter antibiotic to have on hand is Oxymav B.
  • Nail trimmers, scissors, and tweezers
    • Use nail trimmers to keep your flock’s nails and spurs trim, scissors to cut bandages, and tweezers to remove any foreign objects.
  • Cornstarch
    • Use cornstarch to stop bleeding.
  • Saline
    • Use saline for eyewashes to remove foreign objects or flush out wounds.
  • Torch and batteries
    • Use a torch in dark corners of the coop or night-time chook run visits.
  • Latex gloves
    • Use latex gloves to prevent spreading infection and keep your hands clean.
  • Pet crate, box or a small coop
    • Use a pet crate/cage or ventilated cardboard box to isolate contagious hens while they recover from illness or injury. A small coop is great if your bird needs to be isolated for any length of time. Keep in mind, the coop needs to be predator-proof and well ventilated. Also, if a chicken is kept away from its flock for too long, integration back into the flock will need to be done carefully.
  • Vet contact info

Alternatively, try our First Aid Kit, for all you need to take care of your chicken’s first aid.

Please note: I am not a veterinarian, just a chicken owner & lover sharing my opinions and experiences. Any advice on caring for animals or diagnosing & treating medical conditions for animals is for informational purposes and should be evaluated by a trained veterinarian.

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