Archive for the ‘Chicken care’ Category

Coop Camp is right around the corner! Memorial Day special price!


Have you signed up for Coop Camp yet? Speakers include author Patricia Foreman (City Chicks) and Perdue’s Darrin Karcher and Patricia Wakenell! Check out the rest of the speakers and presentations!

Home to Roost will be speaking on chicken first aid and flock psychology.

Coop Camp is in Danville, IN ( just west of Indianapolis), June 7 to 9. Sign up for this weekend filled with chicken-y fun and great informational sessions on how to help your birds live healthier, happier lives! The cost has been cut to ONLY $99 (regular price $125)!

**Home to Roost’s promo code is HTR!**

Looking forward to seeing you there!2019 Coop Camp Registration June 7-9 in Danville, Indiana near Indianapolis!

Virulent Newcastle Disease Found in Chickens in California


Cases of Virulent Newcastle disease (vND) in chickens have been reported in the Western US. This highly contagious virus can cause disease and death in various kinds of poultry, as well as in parrots. Nearly 100 percent of unvaccinated birds may die. Even flocks vaccinated for vND are not completely safe.

There have been 422 cases of vND in California, including 132 in San Bernardino County, 246 in Riverside County, 42 in Los Angeles County, 1 in Ventura County, and 1 in Alameda County; 1 case in Utah County, Utah; 1 case in Coconino County, Arizona.

Symptoms are varied but may include lethargy; lack of appetite; respiratory issues (sneezing, gasping, coughing); fluids coming from nose and mouth; greenish, watery diarrhea; swelling of eyes and neck; and sudden death. It may also cause paralysis. Note that

The virus often originates in illegally imported exotics that have not undergone USDA quarantine.  It can be transmitted by contact with infected birds; by feed, water, air, manure; on hands, clothes, shoes, and equipment; by animal feet; and in incubators contaminated by eggs from infected hens.

FAQs for Chicago Chicken Owners

Do I need to be worried? Probably not, unless you’ve traveled to the areas affected and interacted with poultry or poultry owners.

What is the risk to humans? There are no reported cases of people getting sick from eating infected poultry that is properly cooked. In humans, the virus that causes vND can cause conjunctivitis (pink eye).

How can I keep my chickens safe? Practice good biosecurity, using the following tips:

  • Quarantine any new birds for 30 days.
  • Know your flock’s history. Do not take in birds whose origins and bill of health are not known.
  • Wash hands and clean shoes thoroughly when entering or leaving a place with poultry.
  • Disinfect equipment (e.g., such as coops, incubators, feeders) before it comes on to or leaves your property.
  • For more info on biosecurity, see the USDA’s tips at the Defend the Flock website.

What do I do if I think my bird has vND? Ask an avian vet to run a pathology report. This disease should be reported to state and federal officials. Call the USDA at 1-866-536-7593 and the Illinois Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare at 217-782-4944

Where do I find more information on vND?

USDA Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service’s vND page

Photos of poultry infected with vND

Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Animals pages

 

Rodent issues?


 

Do you have mice in your coop? Those pesky little visitors stop by looking for spilled feed, a dry place to hang out (or even worse, to make a nest – and produce more pesky little visitors).

Many rat and mouse baits are toxic to cats, dogs, and chickens – and all of these animals will happily make a quick snack of a rodent who’s had a bit too much toxin. So what to do?

A few ideas:

  1. Put your feeder at the height of the chickens’ backs. This will prevent them from swishing food onto the ground.
  2. Switch to a pelleted feed to minimize spillage.
  3. Purchase a weight-activated feeder. These feeders will open for chickens — but not for mice, rats, or sparrows!
  4. Try keeping your feeder in the coop all the time – and make sure to close the birds – and their feeder — in at night. Rats and mice are nocturnal (out most often at night), and this will limit their access to prime-time feeding.
  5. Mix hot pepper into your feed. Birds cannot taste capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers “hot,” but mammals sure can! Just be sure you don’t breathe in the pepper dust or touch your eyes while handling the feed.
  6. Build a better (nontoxic) mousetrap. Check out this idea from Backyard Chickens: Drill a hole in the bottom of a soda can. Place can on a dowel rod so that it spins. Drill holes in the top of a 5-gal. bucket so that the dowel rod (with the soda can on it) fits in the holes and spans the diameter of the bucket. Smear peanut butter on the soda can. Place a ramp up to the bucket. The mice will smell the peanut butter, run up the ramp, try to get the peanut butter on the spinning soda can, and fall into the bucket. Dispose of rodents as you see fit!

Helping Your Chickens Survive the Dog Days of Summer


Help your chickens beat this crazy hot and humid weather!

As the temperatures and humidity soar, you’ll want to help your hens keep cool. A few tips for helping your hens beat the heat. When temperatures reach the mid-80s, your birds will probably start panting. In temperatures above 100, your birds may suffer heatstroke. Here are some tips, excerpted from my class on chickens and heat, to prevent that.

1) Provide fresh, clean water – and lots of it.

2) Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them in the coop to cool it down.

3) Remove excess bedding, which traps heat.

4) Feed a crumble feed, rather than a whole-grain food. Grains generate heat as they are metabolized.

5) Provide shade.

If you notice that the birds are listless and lethargic (signs of heat stress), consider bringing them into a cool basement or to an air-conditioned mudroom (in a dog crate or portable cage).

As always, keep an eye on your birds and know what’s normal for them. This will help you catch problems before they become life threatening.

Chicken-keeping classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden


Sign up for a series of three classes (or pick and choose) at the Botanic Garden. I’m offering the following:

Raising Backyard Chickens Saturday, 6/4, 11am – 1pm

This class is designed for curious folks who are considering getting chickens, as well as for those who already have their own birds. Learn how to raise chicks, care for adult birds, and keep your neighbors happy!

Chicken Coop Basics Saturday, 6/4, 2 – 4pm

This class addresses what you need to know about building a safe and comfortable home for your hens. You’ll learn the basic needs of backyard birds. Find out the essential components of a coop, things to avoid when choosing construction materials, important construction tips, and see different coop styles. (Chicken-keeping class is a prerequisite.)

Summer Chicken Care Saturday, 6/11, 1 – 3pm

Many people worry about their birds getting through the winter. However, heat and humidity can also be rough for a chicken. How do chickens cool themselves naturally? Do you know the signs of heat stroke? What can you do to help an overheated bird? Find out how to care for your hens during the dog days of summer. (Chicken-keeping class is a prerequisite.)

Dog Trainers with Chicken Experience


Wondering how your four-legged friend will handle having two-legged, feather friends? Meet Ian and Kristy Dilworth, owners of Smart Dogs. They recently called me out on a chicken consultation and invited me to see their dog training and lodging facilities. They have worked with clients who have chickens and were interested when I mentioned that many of my clients ask about chickens and dogs. If you’re interested in boarding or training, give them a call!

Ideas for Class Topics


Are there any burning questions about chickens you’d like to have answered? What practical advice would you appreciate? What aspects of chicken keeping are still challenging?

I’m working on pulling together a new class on chicken keeping, and I’d like your input!
Write me a message below with your ideas. Thanks very much!