Tag / yogurt

Chickens Health Issues

Live and Active Cultures

Oyster Cracker, Sunshine and Dolly enjoy their yogurt.

The girls love yogurt!  It had been a little while since they had some and they were so happy when I arrived with two bowls filled with plain organic yogurt.  As I called out to them to announce my arrival, they knew.  They saw this time that I was carrying two bowls and that could only mean that yogurt was on its way.  The energy at the door was frantic.  Oyster Cracker pushed her way through and got the first taste even before I could place the bowls on the ground.  Usually, I bring two bowls.  Each filled halfway, to ensure that even those on the lowest of the pecking order get to enjoy this delicious treat.
I love watching the chickens as they eat the yogurt.  I think this is as much of a treat for me as it is for the flock.  Yogurt eating is a messy endeavor.  Be prepared for lots of yogurt flinging and feathers dotted with white yummy goodness.  When they do come up for air between bites, their beaks are dipped in gooey yogurt.  If only they had longer tongues.
Coming up for air
I have always felt that yogurt is beneficial to my flock for a number of reasons.  Although some folks say that it causes their chickens to have loose stools, I myself, have never witnessed it.  In fact, I have seen the opposite.  I find that my chickens are happier when they have the yogurt.  It brings calcium and probiotics to their gastrointestinal system.  It helps to maintain and promote the balance of normal bacteria that live in the gut. Did you also know that the University of Florida, believes that feeding milk based products to your flock can help prevent egg eating by the chickens?
This morning the three broody girls were in the boxes, as usual, before the yogurt arrived.  Feathers saw it first and darted out of her box.  The other two soon followed.  They came running when they saw the yogurt.   You know they love it if it can break the broody spells over three of my chickens.  If you do decide to try yogurt with your flock, I recommend only serving plain unflavored yogurt with live and active cultures.  It might just be their next favorite treat.

Closely guarding one of the bowls


Chickens Health Issues Stories from Our Nest

Under the Weather?

So, yesterday morning and today, Oyster Cracker drank water like crazy!  Then she walked over and vomited what appeared to be water.  Other than that, she appears to be totally normal.  She is eating, drinking and pooping normally.   Her crop is normal and she doesn’t have any foul smells coming from her. Her tail is up.  She has bright eyes and her comb and wattle are both brilliant red. 

I searched around this morning.  I found one post on www.backyardchickens.com.  The poster said that sometimes chickens can drink too much and they vomit up the rest.  After she vomited, she did sound a little congested, but that cleared with time.  I removed her from the coop and placed her in my makeshift infirmary.  I put food and water in the infirmary.  I also scattered some scratch on the ground.  Finally, I gave her a big bowl of yummy yogurt.  Over the course of the next couple hours, she acted entirely normal.  She ate the entire bowl of yogurt and did not vomit anymore. 

While I was back inside, I heard the hens and rooster calling for her from the main coop.  Then she started answering them.  It was the loudest BWACK, BWACK I had ever heard.  After about a half hour of this continuous chicken talk, I caved in.  I decided that I would take my chances and return her to her family.  Their reunion was beautiful.  Everyone came over to talk to her and ask her where she had been.  They truly did miss her and their love was clearly evident.  So, for now, I am taking a risk that perhaps she has a little cold or just drank too much water.  I will be picking up some electrolytes to add the everyone’s water supply to help boost their immune systems.  If she appears to be getting worse, I will separate her again.  However, sometimes being around your loved ones is all you need to feel better.

Chickens Health Issues

Dealing with a Sick Chicken

Every morning when I let the girls out, I always watch them for a few minutes.  Mostly to make sure everyone is feeling good, happy and acting themselves.  I pick each of them up almost on a daily basis.  Just to check-in.  About 2 months ago, Tilly was not acting her normal self.

Tilly seemed sad.  Her head and tail were both down.  She was sluggish and not pecking at the ground like everyone else.  I continued to watch her for a few days and she became worse.  She started sneezing, breathing like she had something stuck in her throat and had a runny nose.  Tilly was definitely ill and not getting better.  I became worried for a few reasons.  First, she was our head hen.  We like her in that order.  She keeps the girls calm and when she free ranges, she never goes too far away from the coop.  Second, she was just a baby.  She had so much more life to live.  Third,  we were raising them entirely organically.  This meant no medications.  Fourth, she was a beloved pet.

Initally I read all my chicken references on hand.  The diagnosis was still unclear.  Cape Cod being small and rather rural, I was unsure that I could even locate a veterinarian with chicken experience.  After making a few phone calls, I was able to reach a vet that does treat birds and has started to spread over into the realm of chickens.  She was about a half hour away.

I caught Tilly, and put her in a Pampers box.  She was quiet the entire way.  While checking in and waiting in the waiting room, she only wanted to be held in my lap.  She nuzzled into my arm and closed her eyes.  This was not my Tilly.  Finally, we saw the vet.  After her exam, it was not entirely clear as to what was going on.  Therefore, the vet decided to deworm the entire flock and give Tilly an antibiotic for a respiratory infection.

Tilly was on the antibiotic for 5 days.  By day 4 she seemed to be getting better.  Afterwards though, I noticed that her crop became rather enlarged, soft and squishy.  After extensive internet research, I figured out that Tilly developed a sour crop from the antibiotics she was on for her respiratory infection.  I subsequently treated her with Nystatin for 10 days.

Tilly’s crop was distended for about 1 month.  It has since then made a full recovery.  This is the point at which I started giving the chickens the weekly yogurt and adding apple cider vinegar to their water supply.  I feel that both are adding to the overall digestive health of our chickens.

What about raising the chickens entirely organically?  Well sometimes life takes those unexpected turns for the worse.  If I hadn’t given her the antibiotics which did violate organic chicken raising, then we would not have Tilly.  The antibiotics saved Tilly for that I am sure.  We still have our chickens on an organic feed.  So our eggs will have an organic component.  I’m just glad that Tilly is still with us.

Chickens Health Issues

Yogurt Mondays!

Did you know that chickens love yogurt??  It is such a fabulous food for them.  I feed them plain organic yogurt with live and active cultures. ( It is important that they don’t get any extra sugar.)  When they see me coming you should see the commotion.  It is crazy!  There is so much yogurt flinging and they get it everywhere.  Some of the added benefits of adding yogurt to your chicken’s diet include calcium for egg laying, promotion of a healthy digestive system and assisting in the balance of the “good” gut bacteria.  Next time when your girls seem bored…try some yogurt.