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Backyard Chicken Problem Solving

 
Tips for Problem Solving in hen houses 
Common problems with backyard chickens and how to fix them.
 
Hen Pecking
  1. Hen pecking can be caused by boredom - Adding items such as a head of cabbage, greens, or hanging a peck a block in the run can help distract the hens reducing this risk.
  2. Overcrowding can also cause pecking - Keep the flock at the recommend size for the coop. This information is listed on each of our chicken coop designs.
If one hen seems to be being picked on and blood is being drawn, she must be removed from the coop as blood will encourage more pecking. Anti pecking products can also be applied to discourage and break the habit.
 
Broody Hens who refuse to leave the nest
  1. Try to break the habit by removing eggs as soon as they are laid.
  2. Keep her away from the nesting boxes for approximately 1 week.  Placing the hen in new surroundings will many times be an easy fix.
  3. Nest inserts can be used which cause eggs to roll away as soon as they are laid.
Blocked or Sour Crop
  1. Keep poultry grit readily available at all times to help healthy digestion.
  2. Try feeding her some oil and massaging several times a day to loosen blockage.
  3. Garlic and natural yogurt can also be tried.

 External Parasites ( ticks, mites, etc. )

  1. Treatments for these problems can be purchased by your local rural merchandiser and successfully treated. Routine treatments should be applied every 2-3 months depending of the breed.
Red Mites on Chickens
Chickens infected with red mites will stop or slow down laying eggs, hesitate to roost in normal areas, and may become anemic. 
  1. Checking for Mites - Take a white tissue and wipe along the underside of perches at night when birds are roosting. Look for tell tale blood smears. Check often as they multiple quickly and are hard to get rid of if caught after they become very evident. 
  2. Treatments are available for red mites at your local merchandiser. For best results treat several times in course of several weeks to get total control over the situation with a combination of wet and dry solutions.
Provide your chickens with proper nutrition
  1. Table scraps are not a good solution for chickens. They do not provide the necessary diet needed to promote good egg laying and long life.
  2. Only feeding on grass will usually also be problematic as necessary nutrition is not received from only grasses. Today's chicken breeds cannot survive on the same diet as chickens from 30 years ago.
  3. Make sure wild birds do not have access to your chickens water and feed containers. 
  4. Remember, chickens need twice as much water as they do feed. If you do not use an automatic water dispenser, change water daily and make sure there is always plenty available. Lack of sufficient water will take large tolls on the health of a chicken very quickly as they need water to digest food properly.

 

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