Caring for a Sick Chicken

Caring for a Sick Chicken
A Blue Ameraucana Pullet

Caring for a sick chicken is a challenge that all chicken keepers face at one time or another. Keeping poultry has its challenges and one of the biggest challenges can be, getting an ill chicken well. Early detection and prevention are your best friends in keeping your flock healthy. Be sure to be on the alert and observe your flock when feeding them. An ill chicken will try to disguise its condition to protect itself from predators, that attack the sick and weak. By the time you see a chicken that really does look sick, it often is too late to save him. You should always be on the lookout for a chicken that is standing off by himself or not rushing to the food trough at feeding time. Chickens are very resilient to all kinds of environmental conditions, but once they get sick, if you don’t catch it early, their survival rate diminishes quickly. What should you do suspect one of your chickens is sick or just looking a little off?

When a chicken is ill it will usually be the one that is standing off by itself, not engaging with the rest of the flock. It may be standing is sort of a slump, with head slightly tucked in, crouching lower the ground. Be alert to the color of their combs, which should be bright red, a dull colored or purple comb can be a sign of illness. There can be a number of reasons causing a chicken to be ill. When we find an ill bird, we worm them, feed them probiotics, vitamins, and herbal tea that is made for chickens.

Internal parasites that affect chickens can come from a variety of sources, parasites that infect chickens live on the insects that chickens eat. For example, the gapeworm will live on the earthworm and infect a chicken when the chicken eats the earthworm. Chickens come in to contact with parasites in the dirt, rodents, and bird droppings. It is pretty much impossible to prevent your chicken from becoming in contact with parasites.

This little hen enjoyed the herbs too!

Natural worm prevention

There are natural ways to prevent worms by feeding chickens squash, cucumbers, garlic, oregano, and melons. The seeds help naturally flush out the parasites. Free-ranging allows chickens to peck at plants that naturally rid them of parasites. Planting a herb garden around their house is a good idea. oregano,

When Natural Remedies Don’t Work
Sometimes natural remedies, chickens can have a worm overload. It is best to have a fecal float done by your veterinary, which costs about $10 so that you know what types of worms your chickens may have. There are wormers made specifically for chickens on the market, but the majority of them kill one or two types of worms. What is the best wormer to use? there are multiple wormers on the market for chickens, but most of them kill only a couple types of worms. Fall of 2017 we had chickens looking fine one day and dropping dead the next day. It was crazy they all looked so beautiful, what could be causing them to drop dead? I took fecal samples to my veterinary to do fecal float, which costs about $10. He determined my chickens had three types of worms. I did research and found that a number of poultry keepers had used Safeguard for Goats, yes for goats. We tried it and within 3 days our chickens stopped dying. a week later after administering safeguard for goats I took a fecal sample back to my veterinary and he found no worms, it worked extremely well.

Standard Black Ameraucana added to APA in 1984


Because chickens are consumed as food sometimes it is tricky to find a good wormer, because of all the regulations by giving drugs to chickens. Safeguard for Goats is good because it is broad-spectrum killing pretty much every type of worm. We have the dosage we use noted here, however, we recommend that you consult with your veterinary before administering.

 Safeguard for Goats dosage we use:
.25 ml for bantam size
.50 ml for standard hen size
.75 ml for standard rooster size
1 ml for Jersey Giant Size chicken

Repeat dosage in three weeks.

** Very important administer dosage to either side of the tongue, you do NOT want to get any liquid in the trachea, this can drown and kill your chicken.

**Check with your veterinary for Ivermectin dosage – for worms, mites, and lice infestation.

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