Chickens are some of the most common animals to see on a homestead or farm. One reason is that they are some of the easiest animals to care for. But even chickens can develop health issues like tape worms, mites, and various intestinal infections. As with everything else, taking care to prevent these issues will be easier than treating them retroactively and will ensure that you have a healthy supply of eggs and meat without interruption. These are 3 easy ways to help your chickens stay healthy.
Just like you, chickens are healthiest when they are eating well. One of the easiest and cheapest ways of ensuring your chicken’s health is to provide them with access to pasture. It’s not the bugs that the chickens are after when they are pecking at your lawn. Pastured chickens will eat as much as 30% of their calories in grass alone. This will dramatically cut down on the feed and supplements that you would need to provide your chickens if they were not given the opportunity to graze.
Chickens do not bath with water, but with dust. Providing them with an area that remains dry even in wet weather, and has a thick layer of fine dust will help them keep off skin parasites like mites. If the area your chickens are in doesn’t have fine dust, or if it doesn’t seem to be enough for them, you can supplement this with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth can also be sprinkled over their feed to help treat intestinal parasites like worms.
Clean water is a must for chickens, especially if you want to keep a constant supply of eggs. If your chickens are allowed free range this might be harder than you think since your chickens will not be selective about the water that they drink. They will just as soon drink out of a contaminated puddle as a clean water dish. For this reason, you might want to add a small amount of chlorine bleach to the water dish that is in the coop they go in for the night, and make sure to change out their water dishes at least once a day, more if they show signs of illness.
Chickens are fun animals to have around and are typically robust. If you give them what they need, they will thrive, and in return you will high quality eggs and meat.
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