Hen’s Sneezing

Sneezing hens may have an upper respiratory problem and there can be discharge from the nose with this.

Hens are prone to respiratory problems.

There can be a number of causes:

  • poor ventillation (droppings give off ammonia),
  • sawdust (larger wood shavings sold in pet shops usually has the ‘dust’ extracted to prevent these problems),
  • straw may carry dust in it.
  • viruses – such as infectious bronchitis, pneumovirus, aspergilliosis, mycoplasma, infectious laryngotracheitis, Avian Influenza, Fowl pest / Newcastle disease, Coryza to name some.

All of these conditions show very similar symptoms which makes it difficult to know which it is, so the more symptoms you can describe or notice the more able to pick out what it might be.

My advice is to consult a vet, you may be able to phone your vet and ask for advice over the phone, without taking your hen in?

Here are some questions to conside if you hen is sneezing:

  • Are they off their water or are they drinking more?
  • When you pick them up do they feel thin?
  • How are they standing, are their wings droopy?
  • Is the area around their eyes puffed up?
  • What are their droppings like, what colour and consistency?
  • Does the hen’s breathing rattle?
  • Are they laying eggs? If so are the eggs ok, or are they thin shelled, mis-shapen etc

Answers to these questions can help to identify what might be wrong as sneezing could be related to a number of illnesses.

One of our farmingfriends forum members recently posted about her poorly hen and was seeking advice on what might be the matter. She let us know as much information as possible about her hen by answering a set of questions, which I thought was very useful.
I thought that these were useful questions to consider if you have a poorly hen and you are seeking advice.

What age is your hen? What breed if known and what gender?

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? – As much detail as possible please.

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying

Change’s in The Hen’s Condition?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness

Agility Changes? – eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels

Have you wormed your hen? Do you have a cycle that you use for worming eg. every 3 months, or every six months?

1. When was the bird last wormed??- approximate date.

2. What product was used to worm the bird, and how was it given? ? eg. in the drinking water, on the skin, by injection?

3. Was a follow up dose given? (eg. 10-14 days later)

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather, predators, vermin, etc

If you have any photos of your poorly hen then they can also help others to suggest what might be the matter, but a phone call to your local vet is always helpful.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Small Dorking Chicken Coop By Oakdene Coops

Oakdene Coops are renowned for their well designed, British made chicken coops. They have just introduced the Small Dorking Chicken Coop.

Small Dorking Chicken Coop

Small Dorking Chicken Coop

This pretty chicken coop by Oakdene Coops will house up to three chickens. Available in five colours.

It has a full recycled plastic interior, making it very easy to clean and ideal for beginners.

Made in England to a very high standard, matching chicken runs also available.

A great idea for a family gift. £167, T:07974 890 771.


Wall Or Fence Mounted Chicken Coop By Oakdene Coops

The New Way To Keep Chickens From Oakdene Coops!
Oakdene Coops are renowned for their well designed, British made chicken
coops.

Fence Coop by Oakdene Coops

Fence Coop by Oakdene Coops

Their latest chicken coop mounts onto a fence, garden wall or even a
tree! This new concept of keeping chickens has many advantages over using a
conventional chicken coop. This chicken coop takes up virtually no room in
your garden because its mounted four feet in the air! This makes it perfect for
medium to small gardens.
Cleaning out the chicken coop is simple, the floor is wire mesh, this means that most of the dropping will drop straight though it but the chickens won’t!. The roof, perch and nesting box are made from recycled plastic, giving a great life span and providing an easy to clean surface.
The chickens will put themselves away in the evening by using the fox
resistant ladder, all you have to do is slide the door shut.
The Chicken Coop is raised four feet from the ground, making egg collection
easy. This also helps prevent rodents, and the solid recycled plastic perch is
removable to help prevent red mite problems!
‘The Brockham’ is available from Oakdene Coops for £240 including nationwide delivery (assembled and painted).
Oakdene Coops
‘The Brockham’ is a registered design.


A Set Of Questions To Consider If Your Hen Is Poorly

One of our farmingfriends forum members recently posted about her poorly hen and was seeking advice on what might be the matter. She let us know as much information as possible about her hen by answering a set of questions, which I thought was very useful.

I thought that these were useful questions to consider if you have a poorly hen and you are seeking advice.

What age is your hen? What breed if known and what gender?

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? – As much detail as possible please.

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying

Change’s in The Hen’s Condition?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness

Agility Changes? – eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels

Have you wormed your hen? Do you have a cycle that you use for worming eg. every 3 months, or every six months?

1. When was the bird last wormed??- approximate date.

2. What product was used to worm the bird, and how was it given? ? eg. in the drinking water, on the skin, by injection?

3. Was a follow up dose given? (eg. 10-14 days later)

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather, predators, vermin, etc

If you have any photos of your poorly hen then they can also help others to suggest what might be the matter, but a phone call to your local vet is always helpful.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:

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Questions Regarding Silkie Chicks & Hens

I have been asked some questions relating to silkie chicks and hens. I don’t have silkie hens myself although a friend has some and they hatched some of my guinea fowl eggs and looked after the keets brilliantly so I know they make great mums!

Dear friends,
Hope you are doing good with your pets :)

I want to raise a pair of silky chicks. So please share your precious knowledge with me about silkies. Adult Silkies are very expensive so i’ve decided to raise chicks.
My few questions are:

  1. Once they are adult will they hatch their own eggs or will I have to buy an incubator?
  2. If they will hatch their own eggs will I still have to keep the new born chicks in a brooder?
  3. Can silky chicks be identified as male and female?
  4. At what age silkies will not be attacked by cats?
  5. When is good weather to start raising chicks? Currently it’s very cold in Pakistan. Should I wait for summer?

regards,
Ahmed

Here is my response to Ahmed:

Hi Ahmed,
Silkies are said to be good at going broody and incubating their own eggs. I don’t have silkie hens myself although a friend has some and they hatched some of my guinea fowl eggs and looked after the keets brilliantly so I know they make great mums!

If they hatch their own eggs then they should look after their chicks. You would only need to make yourself a brooder if the chicks were not accepted by the mother hen or were not well.
I am not sure about gender identification in silkie chicks, I will do some research into this. (Dear readers, if you know about this then please let us know.)
Silkies would need to be adult size before cats are not likely to be a threat.
I would start to raise the chicks in Spring/Summer just like we do here in the UK.

Let us know how you get on.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Do you have experience of keeping Silkies and raising silkies from chicks? If so then we would love to hear your comments.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:

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Naked Neck Turkens Or Cou Nu Chickens

I had never heard of the naked neck turken or the cou nu chicken until recently when my “farmingfriend” Sandy from the US  sent me a photo of some hens she has.

Naked Neck Turken

The naked neck turken is the hen in the background. As you can see from the photo this bird has a look of a turkey with it’s “naked neck”, but it’s actually a chicken!

I have read that the naked neck turken was bred this way to make it easier for plucking.

Naked Necks are said to be popular in Europe, especially France where they call this bird the cou nu chicken.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:

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Worming Chickens Guest Article By Tim At Poultrykeeper

Worming Chickens By Tim Daniels of poultrykeeper.com

This article shares some of my personal experiences and routines with worming my chickens.

Chickens, waterfowl and other poultry require regular worming to prevent health problems, yet it is surprising how many people don’t do this on a regular basis. If you are keeping chickens on the same piece of ground, they can pick up worm eggs easily whilst scratching around or via an intermediate host such as the humble earthworm that hens love to eat. Chickens soon become infected, shedding thousands more eggs via their droppings into the environment, making the problem worse.

The worm burden

There is often a small background level of worms in every flock and it is a good idea to keep this level to a minimum. Recent tests by Janssen Animal Health showed egg production went up when worming a free range egg laying flock more frequently so I like to think of these measures as putting a few more eggs on my table!

I use Flubenvet Poultry Wormer at least every 6 months – although it may be necessary to worm more often than this if your birds are kept on the same piece of ground. Remember Flubenvet will kill all common worms and their eggs however, the eggs that have been deposited on the ground will re-infect the birds so it is necessary to repeat the treatment before the prepatent period of the worms is reached (that is, before the eggs have hatched and grow into adult worms to lay more eggs). This is around 3 weeks for most of the common worms that effect our birds.

My preventative, routine measures.

They say prevention is better than cure and there are a number of preventative measures that I make part of my routine in between my routine worming with Flubenvet to reduce the worm burden in my flock.

1.      Keeping chickens in a clean environment – I clean housing out weekly and using a leaf rake, clean up runs when the weather permits.

Tim from Poultrykeeper.com raking hen run

Tim from Poultrykeeper.com raking hen run


2.      Keep grass short – I regularly cut the grass short during the summer which allows ultra-violet light from the sun to kill off worm eggs left on the ground. During winter, the frosts should also kill worm eggs.

3.      Grazing rotation – It helps if you can divide a larger run into two and alternate grazing as it stops a build up of worm eggs. If you have a portable house and run, you can easily move them onto fresh grass. It is a good idea to move them immediately after worming as this stops eggs on the ground from being picked up, re-infecting them.

4.      Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)– I use Apple Cider Vinegar as a healthy tonic for my birds which also makes the digestive system slightly acidic making an unpleasant environment for worms.

What about herbal wormers?

I am a great believer in natural products for my birds’ health and I regularly use a couple of cloves of freshly crushed garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in their water to boost their immune system as well as make their digestive system an unpleasant environment for worms BUT I will only use a proven wormer such as Flubenvet when I need to worm my chickens.

My reasons for this is that In the UK any product making veterinary medical claims needs to be licensed and to be licensed, the product has to show both safety and efficacy for the animal involved. Products termed ‘nutritional supplements’ do not require any proof of efficacy and many claims can be made that aren’t backed up with any proof.

Sadly, I have heard of cases where people have believed they are worming regularly by using one of the herbal products but after a trip to the vet and a worm sample, they have found their birds to be suffering with a very heavy worm load.

Further reading.

There is of course more information about Flubenvet for chickens, worming and other articles about keeping chickens on the poultrykeeper website, however I would recommend investing in one book that will cover much more than just worms and much more than just chickens – . Victoria Roberts “Diseases of Free Range Poultry” is written in a clear and easy to understand manner and is worth every penny.

With a little routine care and regular worming, worms should never become a problem!

Please remember the advice given in this article is given in good faith, based on my experiences but please remember it should not replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian who can advise you about worming.

Tim Daniels of poultrykeeper.com


Why Do Hens Eat Eggs?

I am often asked why hens eat their eggs.

  • Egg eating can begin when a hen finds a broken egg.
  • They get a taste for the eggs, they really love the egg yolk and I wonder if this has nutrients in it that they crave.
  • Sometimes they do it out of boredom.

Here are some tips to try to sort the egg eating problem!

* Gather eggs more frequently or earlier. The longer the egg stays in the egg house the more chance of the egg being broken.
* Make nest boxes as dark as possible. Bright lights in the nesting area can increase nervousness and picking behavior.
* Fill empty egg shells with mustard. They do not like the taste of the mustard.
* Use coloured stones or pebbles to discourage egg eating. The hens will peck at them and when they can’t break them they will ignore the real eggs.
* Give hens plenty of oyster shell and green vegetables.
* Hang treats from the ceiling to distract them.
* Feed mash instead of pellets as the hens fulfil their intake more quickly on pellets and therefore have more time for bad habits!
* Trim the birds beaks or place a pecking device on their beak.

I was given the tip of adding mustard to egg shells but the only mustard I had was flavoured with mead and honey and was wholegrain and the hens seems to like it.

Do you have any tips for stopping hens eating eggs? If so then please leave a comment.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:

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Can You Make A Hen Broody?

I have been asked if you can make a hen go broody.

It depends on the breed of hen as some breeds are more susceptible to becoming broody than others. Bantams and Silkies (I have friends that have used Silkies to hatch guinea fowl and quail eggs before now) are known for being broody hens.

Things you can do to try to encourage a hen to go broody is:

  • You can try leaving a couple of eggs or pot eggs in your hen’s favourite nest site, (if using real eggs I would just mark them with an ‘X’ so you can tell those eggs from the fresh ones).
  • Leaving the eggs to build up in a nest will encourage a hen to sit as birds in the wild will lay a clutch of so many eggs and then sit on them.
  • Give the hen plenty of fresh clean straw for the nest as  fresh straw can encourage hens to lay.
  • Broody hens usually prefer a dark, secluded, well hidden type of nest so that they are more protected from predators.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Hens & Cockerel Take Revenge On A Fox

I have just been writing for my poultry newsletter about how it is a good time to think about how well protected your hens are against the threat of foxes and other predators especially as March is a time when fox cubs are born and so foxes will be looking for more food and so can be seen at different times of the day and not just at dusk, when I came across an article in the Daily Mail about some hens and a cockerel that killed a fox! The hens and cockerel in this article certainly managed to protect themselves from the fox, infact you can’t help but feel sorry for the fox – it certainly picked on the wrong gang of hens!

Despite what these plucky hens and cockerel did, it is definately a good idea to think about how well protected your hens are, is their hut fox proof  and to think about the time that you get your hens in and try to make sure that you are not late getting them in as foxes somehow know when you are late and the hens are vulnerable. If your hens free range during the day, are they protected from predators, do you have fencing that will protect your hens against the fox?

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:
Delivered by FeedBurner