Health and performance are synergistic. When you don’t feel well, you simply don’t perform, regardless of if the task is at your job, being a nurturing parent or partner or sometimes even just with a simple task of decision making. Your feathered friends in the backyard are no different. When they are stressed or sick, they are not going to be at the top of their game. They could stop laying eggs, go off feed and water, or worse case scenario, die.
Birds are much like humans. They require the basic nutrients of life – water, sun, vitamins and minerals. They need a clean space, an area for exercise, a “bathing” area and a safe place to rest at night. It is important to provide your chickens these necessities, so they stay healthy. Not only can chickens carry and spread disease to one another, there are a handful of zoonotic illnesses (sicknesses that can be spread between species), that chickens carry. Keeping your backyard chickens healthy and happy will keep you healthy and happy too.
1. Keep a clean coop.
Arguably, chickens are not the cleanest animal you could choose to have. Its up to you to help keep their coop and outside pens clean. This includes cleaning excess manure from both the inside and outside of the coop and keeping it away from the chickens to keep insects and other parasites away. Make sure their coop and pens are dry, and if not, be sure to provide clean, dry bedding. Keep feeders and drinkers outside (when warm weather allows) and provide fresh feed and water daily. If water is spilled in the coop, clean up any damp litter, and replace with dry bedding as soon as possible. Keeping a clean coop and pen helps eliminate odor-build up and decreases the chances of fights and egg eating and breaking.
2. Give them space to roam.
Chickens need space to roam, peck for insects and get exercise. Crowded chickens are prone to cannibalism, egg eating, fighting, odor and disease. Depending on the size of breed you select, chickens typically need at minimum three to four-square feet of coop space each. By allowing them time in an outdoor pen each day, you are letting them get sunshine, fresh air, the ability to peck and eat bugs, fluff their feathers and get a dust bath.
3. Did you say dust bath?
Bathing in the dust is an important part of keeping chickens healthy and clean. A dust bath helps to remove excess oil and parasites like lice and mites, while it maintains the water resistance of the outer feathers of a chicken. Providing a dry area with fine dirt and sand in the outside pens is an important part of making sure the chickens can get their dust baths.
4. Protect them.
Although you want your feathered friends to have space to exercise and ruffle their feathers, you also want to be sure to protect them from predators. Be sure to keep them in a fenced area where they won’t be bothered by dogs, rodents or other animals. You will also want to confine them to their coop at night, as birds are prey animals. Be sure that the coop door is secure and there is no way for predators to get in and attack, hurt or kill your chickens.
5. Nutrition 101
Just like humans, good health and proper nutrition work closely together. First, be sure to provide them with fresh, nutritional feed and water each day. Next, supplement your feed regimen with a high-quality supplement like Backyard Boost® Daily Essentials. Daily Essentials is a pelleted, natural protein supplement fully fortified with the prebiotic Amaferm®, vitamins, minerals and organic trace minerals to maximize growth and egg production and support overall flock health. It contains additional protein to support growth, feather quality, and egg production and calcium and other nutrients for natural improvement of eggshell and yolk quality. While maximizing the overall performance of your backyard chickens, it also helps improve gut health and overall wellbeing.
And if your chickens do get sick or stressed, you can provide them the relief they need with Backyard Boost Defense, a liquid supplement that promotes feed and water intake and helps support digestive health and a healthy inflammatory response. Defense also contains the precision prebiotic Amaferm to help combat the negative effects of stress and get hens back to producing eggs faster. In addition, it provides MOS to trap and expel unwanted disease-causing pathogens, limiting their ability to do harm, and electrolytes to support proper hydration.
Nutritional supplements like Backyard Boost not only help keep your chickens healthy and happy, but they also help them convert and absorb the nutrients in the feed you are already supplying them.
Keep your flock flourishing with these five health tips. For more information, visit www.backyardboost.co.