1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Husbandry: problems

Animal Husbandry: Day to Day Chicken Care - Problems and Solutions.

Backyard chickens are pretty easy to care for. But problems do happen and knowing what to do when they arise is critical to your flock's well-being.

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.

Chicken husbandry problems - Pin for later.

It's always good to be prepared to face them before they happen.

Here are links to the twelve 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; flying; clipping wings.

Chicks: treating wry neck.

Health: isolating sick birds; lice and mites; sudden death; in memoriam.

Rodents and Predators: rats and mice; the pine marten (weasel family).

Seasonal: heatstroke; frostbite.


General Husbandry.

Good husbandry for chickens - what is it? Link.

What is animal husbandry?

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.


Can chickens fly? Link.

When chickens fly.

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.


How to clip chicken wings - link.

Clipping chickens' wings.

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.


Chicks.

Wry neck.

Treating wry neck in chicks - link.

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.


Chicken Health.

Using electrolytes to help sick chickens.

Electrolytes for chickens - what they are and how to make them. Link.

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 draft.


Solitary isolation for chickens - link.

Isolating sick chickens.

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.


Sudden chicken death syndrome - link.

Sudden chicken death.

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.


More about sudden chicken death syndrome.

Sudden chicken death syndrome - link.

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.


In memoriam.

In memoriam: leave a tribute to your hen or roo. Link.

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.


Rodents, Bugs and Predators.

Dealing with rats on the chicken coop - link.

Rodents.

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.


Chicken mites - find, treat and prevent them - link.

Red chicken mites.

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.


Chicken predators - the pine marten - link.

Predators: the pine marten.

Pine martens are very common throughout Europe, but even if they're not as well known in your part of the world this article is likely to be relevant to you too.

Why? Because the pine marten is a member of the weasel family, and all members of that family tend to hunt in the same way.

This article covers what they look like, why and how they kill, and how to prevent a weasel attack in your flock.


Seasonal.

Saving your chickens from heatstroke.

How to spot heat stroke in chickens - link.

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!


Managing frostbite in your flock.

Treating frostbite - link.

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.


If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, I'd love you to let me know by clicking this button - thank you!


Thank you for sharing the chicken love! 

Link to Raising Happy Chickens home page.