Raising-Chickens.org Newsletter #8
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Vitamins for Chickens and Winter Care Tips
Last night when I went to lock the chickens up for the night I heard a couple of sneezes. I watched for a minute and noticed two different hens clearing liquid from their nares. I haven’t heard that sound since last year.
We’ve been having unusual weather this fall, a little bit of everything: frosty nights, beautiful sunny days in the 70′s, high winds, thunder, lightning and lots of rain. My chickens love being out in the yard rain or shine. I noticed some pretty soaked chickens the last few days and was concerned about them getting too cold. Wet chickens have trouble maintaining body heat which can lower immune system defenses.
My first line of defense against signs of sickness is vitamins, for me or chickens. For my chickens I buy a multivitamin electrolyte powder. There are a few different manufacturers; right now I’m using Durvet. I used it last year to get rid of sneezes and never needed antibiotics. For three days I give a double dose of the product. I like to mix it with layer crumbles and warm water and deliver it to the coop first thing in the morning. The chickens really enjoy filling their crops with nice warm mush on a cold morning.
The vitamin powder can be mixed into water supplies or dry feed, too. I keep this product on hand at all times. It’s great for giving extra vitamins when signs of illness show up or as a regular supplement. The electrolytes are great for chickens in the summer for good hydration or to help a weak chicken. It’s packaged for poultry, swine, ruminants, and horses.
Most chicken feeds contain some vitamin and mineral supplements. Chickens that free-range and have good feed should get most of the vitamins they need Spring and Summer. During stressful times, like the molt, high heat, sudden cold snaps and winter weather, providing a vitamin supplement is a great idea.
Vitamins can help prevent respiratory and other infections and the need for antibiotics. They can be given daily, weekly, or monthly as you feel is necessary. During the cold and winter months I give vitamin supplements at least once a month, more if I have concerns for chicken health.
During winter months, with the coop closed up more to prevent chilling drafts, toxic fumes are more likely to build up from droppings. Check the coop daily for strong odors. Replacing floor litter often will prevent ammonia fumes from burning delicate airways in chickens. Open up the coop and let it air out whenever possible, too. Irritated airways can lead to infection.
As well as preventing drafts in the chicken coop, some ventilation is necessary, so don’t try to completely seal the chicken coop at night. Installing a couple of small vents low in the coop can keep just enough fresh air circulating to maintain a healthier atmosphere for the chickens and prevent predators and rodents from entering.
Providing covered areas in the chicken yard offers shade in the summer and a good place for chickens to get out into the fresh air, even during heavy rains storms. I use straw bales under the shelter to provide some wind protection or just a nice place for chickens to sit off the ground.
Please check out our chicken supplies on our website. We’ve got poultry supplies, arts and gifts. If you would like to see additional items please just drop us an email me and we will do our best to accommodate your requests (email@example.com). We will be adding additional items throughout the year.
Got Chicken: New Auction Site catering to backyard chicken enthusiest. Raising-chickens.org has launched an auction site for the buying and selling of poultry and other domesticated birds.
Your Guide to Everything Chicken Mel www.raising-chickens.org, 101 Preston Court, Macon, GA. 31210
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