Keeping Your Chickens Healthy
It is vital to keep your flock healthy as they are able to produce better quality eggs as well as produce better quality meat. However, with disease pressures ever present, how should one prevent illness from entering the flock?
One way to combat this is to have a simple disease prevention plan revolving the 2 main topics: 1) Quality nutrition 2) Excellent flock management. For optimal health and production of birds, it is essential to have quality nutrition and excellent flock management.
Nutrition is just as important to flock health as it is to human health. Birds that do not have quality nutrition will definitely be more susceptible to illness as compared to birds that are having quality nutrition.
Hence, it is important to feed birds with a complete feed from a reputable company. The complete feed should include essential vitamins, antioxidents, minerals as well as probiotics and prebiotics in order to support the digestive health and improve immune system. Equally important is to not feed more than a combined total of 10 % of starch grains, treats and table scraps. If these treats are given in excess to the flock, they will dilute the critical nutrition of the complete feed.
Excellent Flock Management
Excellent flock management is the second part to ensuring a healthy flock. Here are some guidelines:
1) Ensure proper distance
Ensure that access to your property and birds are restricted. Make sure your birds do not have contact with wild birds and waterfowl as they might carry germs and diseases.
2) Keeping a clean environment
Make sure your hands are clean before you start working with birds. It is also important to clean and disinfect equipment such as cages or tools that come in contact with the birds or their droppings. If there are dead birds, dispose them properly.
3) Make sure you have quality birds
Always buy birds from reputable supplier. When buying new birds, quarantine them for at least 30 days. This also applies to birds that have been removed from the flock and are returned to the flock.
Ensure that the quarantine are is separated as far away from the coop if possible. Nothing from the quarantine area should come in contact with the coop and rest of the flock.
4) Try not to share equipment
If possible, do not share gardening or poultry equipment with your neighbours or friends. If you must, ensure the equipment are cleaned and disinfect before you bring them near your property.
5) Take notice of warning signs
Early detection can help prevent spread of disease. Take note when the feed consumption decreases, depression, respiratory signs or diarrhea. All these are symptoms of illness.
6) Report sick birds as early as possible
If your birds are sick or dying, report them immediately to your local cooperation extension office or veterinarian. They will assist you regarding this issue at their earliest convenience.
These are some management tips that will help you maintain a clean coop and keep your flock healthy. Remember, it is the combination of quality nutrition and excellent management that will keep a happy and healthy flock