Problems You Should Expect With Raising Backyard Chickens
Chickens are generally healthy, hardy, and happy animals that also can be very friendly to people and each other (and other animals). But, unfortunately, one reality about raising chickens is simply that chickens are very prone to sickness, disease, and behavioral issues. It never seems to matter Francostone how careful chicken keepers are – problems with health and behavior always seem to arise even with the best of care and the most careful attendance is paid. Basically, the truth is, problems with arise with raising chickens.
Most problems with chickens are very common and are generally fairly benign. Some require minimal adjustments to solve. Some of the common issues, no matter how careful you are, require immediate and severe response as to not lose the entire flock. Here are the most common problems that you can expect with chickens, and how you can fix them.
Predation. This is one very common and heart breaking problem that every chicken keeper will probably have to deal with at least once in their lifetimes. It seems like everything wants to eat chickens – from the common hawks and eagles that fly in the sky, to the neighbor’s dog. Raccoons, fox, bobcats, bears, snakes, cats, owls, and many other animals are common problems. Securing your chicken coop properly or purchasing well-made chicken coop kits can help discourage predators from taking chickens while they’re in the coop (which is very common). While the chickens are out of the coop, having secure chicken runs that’s covered will help discourage aerial predators and daytime predation. If you insist on free ranging your flock outside of the confines of a fenced chicken run, provide lots of tree cover to quell hawk and eagle attacks, and purchase chicken breeds that do well free ranging and are very predator-savvy.
Disease. Chickens are just as susceptible to viral, bacterial, parasitic, and congenital sickness as any other animal. There are vaccines that are available to immunize your birds against common yet deadly sicknesses such as Mericks’s Disease. You should check with your local extension agent or veterinarian about whether or not these diseases are prevalent in your area before you buy chicks, or if you have birds that are healthy but haven’t been vaccinated. Other sicknesses, such as simple viral infections, can manifest themselves in chickens in many ways and are usually best sat out, as you would in a person, in isolation. Practice the best sanitary care that you can, and don’t be afraid to use products such as diatomaceous earth or poultry dust. There are medications available for farm use that you can find at feed stores, but always check with a vet first before you medicate. Have a quarantine system ready to go at all times, clean and prepared. A dog kennel lined with old but clean towels is a good start. Any sick chicken should be isolated from the flock.