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

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A Tip To Stop Poultry Tipping Up Their Feeders

I have received a chicken feeder tip from Anthony Marriott from Marriotts Smallholding to help stop your poultry from tipping up their feeder.

Anthony says, “We have found that chickens like to scratch their feeders as much as the grass etc.

To solve this problem just get a couple of galvanised tent pegs and push one in the ground each side of the feeder and clip them over the respective edge to stop the chickens from tipping them over and wasting the food, and making a mess.

This method also allows the pegs to be moved with the feeder, of course you can always use a hanging feeder but these are not always a viable option.

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.

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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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Age Of Maturity Of Male Birds

The age of maturity of male birds will differ between species of birds. The maturity refers to the age at which the males reach sexual maturity and will start breeding with their female partners.

Quail = about 60 days old.

Hen = about 6-8 months old.

Partridges = male grey partridges mature from about 10-12 months old.

Pheasants = about 6-7 months old.

Guinea fowl = about 8-10 months old.

Ducks = about 8 months old.

Turkeys = about 8 months old.

Geese = about 8 months old.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop to browse through our collection of books on sale.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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

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Age Of Maturity Of Female Birds

The age of maturity of female birds will differ between species of birds. The maturity refers to the age at which the females reach sexual maturity and will start laying eggs and breeding with their male partners.

Quail = about 50 days old (I have observed that female Japanese quail will start to lay eggs from about 6-8 weeks old.)

Hen =  about 6-8 months old.

Partridges = female grey partridges mature from about 10-12 months old.

Pheasants = about 6-7 months old.

Guinea fowl = about 8-10 months old, however female guinea fowl can start to lay as early as from 16 weeks old.

Ducks = about 4 months old, generally domestic ducks will start to lay from 21 to 26 weeks of age. My khaki campbell ducks started to lay from about 20 weeks old.

Turkeys = about 7 months old.

Geese = about 7 months old.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop to browse through our collection of books on sale.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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

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Male To Female Ratio For Keeping Different Varieties Of Poultry

Here is a rough guide to the male to female ratio for keeping different varieties of poultry together.

Quail = 1 male to every 3-4 females.

Hen = 1 males to every 6-10 females. (The Domestic Fowl Trust normally recommend 1 male to 6 females for breeding chickens.)

Partridges = 1 male to 1 female.

Pheasants = 1 male to every 6-7 females.

Guinea fowl = 1 male to every 2-3 females. Although best paired up.

Ducks = 1 male to every 4-6 females. (Debbie at South Yeo Farm normally puts 1 drake with min of 6 ducks and she says, “but some are more rampant than others!” I too have 1 drake to 6 ducks.)

Turkeys = 1 male to every 10 females.

Geese = 1 male to every 4 females.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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 email updates of the farmingfriends website posts:
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Coccidiosis & Apple Cider Vinegar

I am sometimes asked about coccidiosis in hens and whether apple cider vinegar can help with this.

Does anyone know if giving acv helps against coccidiosis,
or if there is anything that you can give them, one of my hens has milky runny droppings but is generally healthy, is she ok? Sarah

I thought I would mention it here as I have managed to gather together some links that may be useful, so here is my response to Sarah and the links which may help with coccidiosis in hens.

Hi Sarah,
Here is a link about coccidiosis  http://farmingfriends.com/coccidiosis-in-chickens/

I was asked why hens get coccidiosis before so here is a link to what I found out http://farmingfriends.com/why-do-chickens-get-coccidiosis/

With regards to apple cider vinegar http://farmingfriends.com/does-cider-apple-vinegar-help-prevent-or-cure-coccidiosis/

It seems that lots of people on the web use apple cider vinegar for their poultry and game birds.

They put one tablespoon per gallon of water.

I have read that you need to use real apple cider vinegar.

I also heard that milk is used for treating coccidiosis but don’t know how effective it is http://farmingfriends.com/using-milk-to-treat-coccidiosis/

A hens droppings are a good indication of health http://farmingfriends.com/hen-with-yellow-discharge-and-diarrhea/

Here is a link about droppings http://happyhenhouse.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=poop&action=display&thread=6492

Hope this helps.
Kind regards
sara @ farmingfriends

Have you used apple cider vinegar to treat coccidiosis in hens? If so then please leave a comment to let us know how effective it was.

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