Pet Talk
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Pet Talk

March 4, 2020

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka speaks about most common diseases in chickens and more

How much food and water do chickens need?

A chicken, on an average basis, needs about 5 litres of water with half a cup of feed daily.

Do chickens make a family?

For chickens, family is very vital. Generally, a flock includes 12-15 birds. They have very firm rules for all members and they may make you a part of the family too.

What are the most common diseases in chickens?

Common Diseases of Backyard Poultry:

External Parasite like lice, fleas, mites, bedbugs.

Internal Parasites. Backyard poultry also carry a wide range of internal parasites like worms and protozoa.

Marek’s Disease. Marek’s disease is a viral respiratory infection.

Leucosis. It is a leukemic disease in chickens.

Fowl Pox. A viral disease in hens with coetaneous lesions on the featherless skin and / or diphtheritic lesions of mucous coats of the upper alimentary and respiratory tract.

Nutritional Deficiencies. May include growth retardation, drowsiness, weakness, in coordination, emaciation, and ruffled feathers.

Do chickens need Vaccines?

Yes. Marek’s disease (respiratory problems) is present in almost every flock. Hence vaccination of chickens is strongly recommended.

How to control the temperature to keep a chick?

Chicks generally need to be kept warm but should also have a habitat that has a range of temperatures. Use a lamp to heat one side of the habitat while keeping the other side cooler. This allows your chick to freely decide at which temperature she feels more comfortable throughout the day.

Construct a heat source using a 100watt light bulb in a reflective clamp style lamp or an infrared reptile heat bulb. Install either option on one side of the habitat. You can get both lamps at most pet and home stores.

Make sure the temperature is a constant 32-38 degrees C for the first few weeks of the chick’s life.

Your chick is the best thermometer for her habitat: if she is hiding on the opposite corner of the habitat from the lamp, then it is too hot. If she is smothering herself in the blankets, or along with other chicks, then you need to increase the heat.

Consider keeping your chick’s habitat away from radiators, or non-lamp heating devices, to help maintain a warm and consistent temperature. You may also want to keep it away from drafty areas.

Do chickens need a babysitter?

It is vital for your chicken’s health to have someone check in on them every day. Asking a trusted friend or family member, which the chicken recognizes, to either stay at your home to care for your chicken or check in on her and refill food and water every day.  

One of my chickens has a bald area on her bottom about the size of an egg and the area is red. What should I do?

Check to see if the chicken is egg bound. Egg bound means when a hen is unable to expel its eggs through the reproductive tract. Egg bound is fatal in chickens and can kill your chicken if not treated.


What are the symptoms of an egg bound chicken?

Symptoms may include loss of appetite, weakness, depression, fluffed up and drowsy, yolk coloured droppings, swollen abdomen. Other problems with the ovaries and oviduct can also cause problems which look similar to being egg bound.

How to treat Egg bound in chickens?

The easiest thing to do is to carefully bring the hen into the house and soak her in a plastic tub in your bathtub.         

Submerge her lower body and vent in warm water with some Epsom salts for about 20 minutes, gently rubbing her abdomen.

Remove her gently from the bath and towel dry her, blotting her feathers carefully. If it’s winter, or there’s any draft, dry her off with a hair dryer set on low heat.

Then rub some vegetable oil around her vent and very gently massage her abdomen once more. Put her in a quiet, dark location in a large crate or cage.

A dog crate or bird cage with a towel or blanket draped over it, a towel that has been warmed in the dryer on the bottom, and set over a pan of hot water (or with a heating pad under the towel) with a heat lamp is perfect.

If you can see the egg, you can try to carefully extract the contents of the egg using a syringe and then gently crush the shell, keeping the fragments attached to the membrane and remove it using vegetable oil squirted in and around the vent.

This is risky and carries with it the danger of your hen contracting an infection, so it should ONLY be used after all other remedies have been tried.

Do chickens need to be in the shade or sun all day?

Chicken need a mixture of shade and sunlight. Keep them in their coop when necessary, and let them roam in the sun or warm weather. If it’s shady everywhere, let them out a couple times a day, or set up some heat systems in your garden, as chickens need to maintain a body temperature.

Why has my chicken not laid an egg?

If your chicken is moulting, they definitely won’t be laying eggs. Moulting means shedding or falling of hair or skin to make way for new growth. The reason chickens don’t lay during a moult is because they don’t have enough protein.

Do chickens get sad?

Chickens DO get sad. Most people think they are just bred to be farmed, lay eggs, and then killed. But they are animals so you shouldn’t forget that. No one owns chickens or other animals. They are not things, they are individuals. However, if you have chickens living with you, you would know to leave their eggs alone. In fact, why not turn your land into a sanctuary for farm animals ?


How do I keep my chickens free of parasites?

These are some of the many ways to keep chickens clean and free from parasites:

1. Giving them a dust bath.

2. Adding herbs in the dust bath.

3. Adding garlic to their diets.

4. Keeping the chicken coop dry.

5. Constantly keeping a check on their health. 

How do you treat liver flukes in cattle?

Liver fluke is a leaf-shaped parasite which lives in the liver and bile ducts of infected cattle. Affected cattle experience the following: Weight loss, Poor milk production, Bottle jaw, Anaemia and chronic diarrhoea.

Treatment: Triclabendazole is effective at killing all stages of triclabendazole-susceptible flukes from two weeks old. Nitroxynil is licensed for the treatment of fascioliasis (infestations of mature and immature liver-fluke more than 8 weeks after infection). Clorsulon is only effective against adult flukes.

How do I protect my cows in the winter?

Deliver more cattle feed. 

Put up windbreaks.

Ensure that plenty of clean, dry and soft bedding, like sand or straw, is provided around-the-clock to help keep cows comfortable and warm. You can even make coats for them.

Provide cattle minerals and supplements.

Keep a clean environment.

In the case of temperature dropping below 30°F it is recommended that the young calf diet should be supplemented with more hay, silage, grain or a protein supplement and mineral mix. The energy thus gained helps the calf to tackle a temperature drop.

What is a Normal Cow’s Pulse?

If you have a stethoscope, you can listen for the cow’s heartbeat. You can feel for an artery under the cow’s tail, or you can feel the artery in the cow’s neck, near her jaw. A large artery runs around the base of the jawbone. A cow’s nominal heart should beat between 40 to 70 times every minute.

Are cows fearful of humans? If yes, how can that fear be reduced?

Many cattle have a natural fear of humans. They see their own species being hurt all the time and, like all beings, they remember. If you mistreat a cow, you will cultivate fear in her.

Mistreatment can be in the form of teasing or unnecessary roughness. Fearful cattle can be just flighty, or they can turn extremely mean. If you abuse your cattle, or allow others to mistreat them, they will be fearful. Don’t allow anyone to tease the cattle. Don’t allow people, who are unnecessarily aggressive with cows, to help you with them. Cattle should be handled quietly and with a minimum of excitement. Yelling, repeated slapping or hitting, and general chaos only stirs up stress hormones in cattle and makes them more fearful and difficult to handle. 

When are cows most active?

Cows are diurnal animals, so they are most active  during the day.


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