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Archive for March, 2011

Spring Time Health Checklist for Chickens

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Have you discovered the overwhelming perks of owning your own chickens? Or perhaps you have decided to take the plunge and get yourself a few chickens for your garden? If so, then you need the update on how to check your chicken’s health. Caring for your feathered friends can be simple, especially if you keep an eye out for certain health risks. This handy little health checklist from us at Cotswold Chickens ensures that you spot an unhealthy chicken fast, and find the appropriate remedy to fix them up.

Health Checklist;

•    Eyes – the eyes should be bright and beady. If you have a chicken that has eyes which are crusty with discharge or overtly watery, then there is something wrong and they have a health problem.

•    Legs – A chicken’s legs are fantastic indicators of its overall health. Scaly legs that are raised are likely to be the result of scaly leg mites which bury themselves beneath the smooth surface of a chicken’s leg.

•    Nails – If you only have grass in your garden then your chickens are unable to grind their nails down on hard walking surfaces. As a result, you may need to give them a quick inspection once in a while to check that the nails are not too long.

•    Attitude – usually chickens are perky and have an active attitude, if they suddenly change and become lethargic then this is a sign that they are unwell.

•    Feathers – their feathers should be smooth and there should be no loss of feathers. If there is, then there could be an underlying problem such as fleas, lice, or stress associated with lack of living space or bullying by other chickens.

Checking the health of your chickens can be made part of your day; by interacting with your chickens on a daily basis you will soon discern when something is not right. They make adorable pets, especially if you handle them regularly. Chickens that are not handled regularly can become quite sketchy and scared of even minimal human interaction. If you need any more help or advice on how to keep your chickens happy and healthy then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Cotswold Chickens. We are open six days a week (we’re closed on Wednesdays).

How to Treat Red Mite in Chickens

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Looking after chickens in your own back garden can be an extremely rewarding and worthwhile pastime. Like your more traditional pets, chickens provide a great source of entertainment and each chicken has its own personality and quirky traits. However, just as dogs and cats are susceptible to fleas, unfortunately chickens are at risk of becoming affected by red mites; also known as the silent killer. Fortunately, here at Cotswold Chickens we know how to treat red mites and provide relevant products to help with this treatment. Below is our beginner’s guide to spotting an infestation.

Red mites are very similar to their cousins, the bed bug, in that they creep out in the dark of night and feed off the blood of the chickens as they sleep. In a similar way to bed bugs, if red mites haven’t yet fed on the blood of your chickens they can be difficult to spot, as they are almost clear in colour – yet once they’ve feasted they become red and are slightly easier to see.

Clear signs that you have an infestation in your coop are:

•    Around the perches there will be a grey dust like substance.
•    At night your flock will be extremely restless.
•    In serve cases the number of eggs being laid by the hens decreases and those that are laid have blood spots on them.

Whilst dogs and cats can scratch to show that they’re suffering from fleas, chickens don’t have this luxury. Instead for them to relieve some of the stress and irritation caused by a red mite problem, they are likely to pull out their feathers and have dust baths. If your flock has recently shown any of these symptoms then you should invest in the range of red mite products that we provide.

Regular cleaning of your chickens coop, including checking any gaps in the walls and around the perches will help you spot a red mite problem, before it grows. Unfortunately, if such an issue is left untreated, your birds can become anaemic and in severe cases they can actually pass away as a result.