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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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