Good husbandry is the key to raising healthy, happy chickens. Even with this best care in the world, though, you may face several unpleasant issues during your time as a chicken enthusiast.
It's always good to be prepared to face them before they happen.
Here are links to some of the most common issues faced by backyard chicken owners, whether raising poultry in the city or homesteading in an idyllic rural area.
Each article covers not only the problem, but easily implemented solutions.
Use these links to jump to whichever section you're particularly interested in - or read through them all.
General: what is animal husbandry; general health issues; egg eating; flying; clipping wings; dealing with aggressive males.
Chicks: treating wry neck.
Health: bird flu; sudden death; isolating sick birds; feather loss; in memoriam.
Rodents and Predators: rats and mice; red mite; flies; predators.
Seasonal: heatstroke; frostbite.
Good husbandry is simply the care of any livestock, including poultry, to ensure they have the longest, happiest and most productive life possible.
It makes sense whether you're raising chickens in your urban backyard, or on a rural homestead or smallholding.
This article covers five simple things you can do to keep your chickens safe, healthy and free from infection and disease.
One day you have a brooder full of happy little balls of fluff. Twelve months later you have a male chicken who seems intent on killing you and anyone else who dares to trespass on "his" territory.
This article examines why roosters suddenly become aggressive, when it's likely to happen and what you can do about it.
This page will lead you to all my articles about specific health issues in your flock.
From issues with newly-hatched chicks to adult diseases and specific problems related to chickens as they age, the information covers how to spot illness, what to do about it and how to prevent it happening again.
It's always better to be prepared before these things happen. These articles will show you how.
Have you noticed your chickens losing feathers recently?
There can be a number of reasons – some natural seasonal changes, others caused by disease.
This article covers all the different causes of feather loss, together with information about what to do in each case.
It happens in every flock larger than three chickens – a natural way of establishing a hierarchy within a flock.
But there are times when it can descend into bullying, which needs to be managed before it becomes a problem.
This article describes the origins of the pecking order: what it means, how it's dealt with by the flock, how to tell what it means for your own chickens and what to do if it becomes a problem.
Chickens who eat their own eggs will quickly become a major problem.
This article explains how to spot the culprit, gives 10 steps to prevent egg eating happening in the first place, and offers three possible solutions if it has already become a problem.
Once the habit is established, it is extremely hard to break. Takes steps now to prevent this becoming an issue in your flock.
This free ebook looks at five ways to keep your flock healthy and happy - the natural way.
Covering all you need to know about the calming effects of some herbs, the beneficial effects of some weeds, the immune system strength of cider and more.
It uses natural remedies you're likely to have available in your home and back yard and tells you how to make them work for the benefit of your flock.
It's free and ready for you to download now. What are you waiting for?!
From the age of around a week old, chicks begin to develop their wings. Before long, they're experimenting with using them.
In the wild, poultry use their wings to fly out of danger. But does that really apply to domesticated chickens?
In this article, I examine the pitfalls of flying chickens, and begin to consider what we can do to protect them from themselves.
Some chicken breeds are more prone to fly than others. If you have birds who constantly try to fly out of their coop and run, you'll know how stressful it can be.
But is clipping your chickens' wings the answer? Will it hurt them? How to know which feathers to clip and which to leave? And what happens if it all goes wrong?
This article covers all that and more, complete with a "how-to" video to help your confidence in clipping wings.
One of the most common ailments of baby chicks, wry neck (also known as "star gazing" and "twisted neck") can be distressing to see but is actually pretty easy to treat.
This article looks at the symptoms of wry neck in baby chicks, what causes it, how to treat it and how to help prevent it.
Based on experience and peer-reviewed scientific research, the advice it contains is invaluable for anyone facing this issue with baby chicks or adult hens.
Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is a virus spread by wild waterfowl. It's highly contagious, and chickens can be susceptible to it. It can also be passed from chickens to humans.
This article explains exactly what bird flu is, how it's spread, what symptoms to look for, what the treatment is and how to prevent it in the first place.
Don't wait until you have an outbreak near you. Learn about it now.
Have you ever had a chicken who was healthy and happy one minute, and the next had suddenly died?
If so, this article is for you. It covers the symptoms of sudden chicken death syndrome, why you should not blame yourself if it happens, how you can take steps to help prevent it, and how losing a chicken can affect you personally.
It's written from a mixture of personal experience and scientific, peer-reviewed research. Don't miss it.
If the previous article is factually based information about sudden Chicken Death Syndrome, this one is a very personal perspective on what is a little understood but completely devastating syndrome.
Sophia Lor-hen was one of my first flock of chickens. A Golden Laced Wyandotte, she lived up to her name - she was a colourful, showy diva.
And then, one day, she died. She was not ill, she had shown no signs of being unwell or even a little off-colour.
This article examines why an otherwise healthy hen might suddenly die.
Chickens are very sociable creatures. Left to their own instincts, they'll bond together with others and form a flock.
But there are times when, for their own good, chickens need to be separated from their playmates.
This article covers why that might arise, when to make the decision to isolate, how to do it and when to re-introduce a chicken to the group.
Got problems with chickens who seem a little under the weather? Who need a boost to their immune system? Or maybe you have a problem with red mite, or even northern fowl mite.
Garlic is a well-researched, heavily documented answer to a lot of chicken (and human!) health issues. But keeping your flock well stocked can mean expense, and sometimes a chemically treated product, at the supermarket.
This article looks at how to grow and store your own garlic. Getting one complete bulb from just one tiny clove, it's a must-do for all chicken owners.
Electrolytes are a kind of miracle cure for many chicken ailments. And they can be made from items you're likely to have in your store cupboard.
This article looks at what exactly electrolytes are, when chickens may need them, how to make your own and how to make sure that your chickens get enough of the right kind.
It also covers what to do if you don't have the necessary ingredients for a home-made recipe.
If you've lost a much-loved hen or roo (cockerel), this is a place where you can leave a personal tribute.
Your words will have their own place - for longer tributes, a page of their own; for shorter, a page shared with others who have also suffered a loss.
Young or old, long or short, whether the death happened a long time ago or in the recent past - all tributes are welcome here.
We've all said it: "You'll never find rats in my chicken coop". Until the day when, with a sinking heart, you realise you have an infestation.
This section deals with everything rodent-related: how to tell whether you have rats or mice; myths and realities of dealing with rodents; the effects on chickens; ten ways to get rid of the problem; and the most effective way I have found to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
As the weather warms up for the summer, mites take particular pleasure in feeding on the blood of chickens at night.
The result? Loss of egg production, anaemia and even death in young and vulnerable birds.
This article covers how to know whether you've got an infestation, how to deal with it and how you can help prevent it happening at all.
Summertime inevitably means flies. and flies can mean flystrike, one of the deadliest issues chicken keepers have to deal with.
This article offers fourteen different ways to make sure you limit the number of flies visiting your coop and run. From prevention to ways to get rid of flies, it's the most comprehensive list you'll find.
Not every step will be right for you. Choose those that are and rid your chickens of this summertime blight!
Pine martens, foxes, hawks, raccoons...
Just some of the articles about the most common predators of chickens in this section. With information about how to spot them, what they look and sound like and how best to get rid of them - humanely.
Using high resolution photos, and audio clips of tell-tale sounds.
Chickens are far better able to deal with the cold than with extreme heat. It's critical to be able to recognise the signs telling you your flock is in need of protection from the heat.
This article examines ten ways to recognise when your flock is suffering from heat stress, and gives simple solutions for making sure that they cope with even the hottest summers.
Be prepared - don't wait until the heatwave strikes. Start planning now!
Chickens can cope well with even extremes of cold. The one thing they aren't able to manage is frostbite.
Usually a sign of poor ventilation and excessive humidity, this article looks at what causes it, the symptoms to look out for, dealing with frostbite in feet and combs and, importantly, how to prevent it from happening at all.
As with heat, it's important to plan in order to avoid your flock being affected by the cold. Don't wait until frostbite has done its worst.