Laurence Beeken looks at the essentials for a First Aid kit for chickens

One of the most regularly occurring topics of chicken conversation is health – have you noticed a sneeze? Why is she not eating? Why is she not laying? As many people keep chickens as pets or to complement the kitchen garden, knowing that your birds are in good health is an essential part of the daily routine. By assembling an effective first aid kit (including some good reference books), you’ll be able to cope with most minor complaints such as cuts and sniffles. However, if you suspect something more serious, always seek veterinary advice.

Keeping your chickens in good health should happen naturally if you feed them a good ration, keep them free from stress and boredom, and allow them a degree of free range. That said, there are always little things that upset a healthy balance, and a simple first aid kit will help you deal with them. These are the basics of a workable first aid kit, which will contain all you need:

• Liquid paraffin – to ease an impacted crop, and for making crusty leg scales supple.

• Vaseline – for combs in winter.

• Haemorrhoid Cream – reduces swollen prolapsed tissues making treatment easier.

• Gentian Violet Spray – antiseptic, and it masks the colour red, making wounds less attractive.

• Vitamin and mineral supplement – helps sick birds recover.

• Probiotic – reintroduces gut flora.

• Aloe Vera nose and ear lotion – Cleansing and antiseptic.

• Antibiotic Eye ointment (prescription only from the vet).

• Surgical Sprit – to treat scaly leg.

• Cotton wool and cotton buds, good for cleaning and applying lotions.

• Thin disposable gloves.

• A small soft toothbrush.

• Virkon S – a multi-purpose disinfectant, which needs adding to water.

• Flubenvet or Verm -X – Internal parasite treatment, depending on your preference

• Flea spray and louse powder – One for the house and one for the bird.

• Cider Vinegar – Acidifies the gut, making it more attractive to beneficial flora.

• Stockholm tar or similar anti-peck spray.

• Poultry saddle – for back wounds and mating damage on hens.

• Coccidiosis treatment.

• 1, 2.5, and 5ml syringes, plus a larger one for administering fluids.

• Nail clippers (for beaks and toenails).

• And last, but not least, a good book with a list of common ailments.

You will add to this as you go, but I have found that this is the most effective mix of products to start.

Enjoy your healthy chooks!

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