Our fourth batch of chicks (in 12 years) was introduced to the older hens this month.  Once again, the “overnight” trick worked.

We’ve also been working on a portable chicken run and house so that the “retired” hens can do their part and help turn over the garden beds.

After raising batch after batch of babies (chickens and ducks), it does get easier. But easier doesn’t mean  that you should be less diligent.  Raising healthy chicks (especially non vaccinated) is crucial and the age old saying of “an ounce of prevention ” does hold true each and every time.    Case in point: We managed to avert a serious catastrophe in our young flock.   I don’t know what caused it but, a few weeks ago, I noticed one of the chicks was “off.” She was sitting by herself with the tell-tale “roached back.”  Of course, immediately the alarm bells went off.  This wasn’t a good sign.  Your brain quickly starts scanning off the list of diseases and matching the symptoms in order to properly diagnose which usually takes a few minutes to figure out.  Of course, you are never sure; but, sometimes, your gut or instincts can pretty much help to determine what is afflicting your animals.

In this case, the pullet had coccidiosis – one of the most dreaded words in the poultry world. Of course, I started wondering – what did I do, miss, how could this have happened?  Was I too busy to properly clean something,  forgot to add apple cider vinegar, etc., etc?   After the initial  self-blaming,  and  the  “I could kick myself..” ( you can kick yourself all you want but you got to treat the chick and fast), I finally  got down to business, treating and stopping the spread of this potentially deadly parasite.

Treating animals is hard enough; treating them naturally/holistically is even harder because there are no quick fixes.  The  first course of  action to take was to isolate the pullet and do the  flush  treatment protocol, i.e.,  give garlic and probotics together. Garlic to kill the parasite and probotics to help the gut.  Next was to continue to hydrate with Nuri-Drench (I can’t say enough about this natural product and have seen it save many a chicken/duck),  Last but not least, boost up their health and immunity with Jordanne’s Herbal Poultry Supplement

It is important not  to only treat the infected pullet but also to care for the others since this is highly contagious parasite.

The good news: the infected pullet recovered in less than TWO days and the others showed no symptoms!  Whew, what a blessing!  One thing (well, there were a couple)I did learn is that one has to TREAT  for a few weeks to make sure the cycle has been terminated.  So even though she perked up and was back to “normal” in two days time, still “treated” her for more than a week.

I think the most important thing that saved the pullet is that  every day I take time to WATCH the flock and be a “poop checker.” Yeah, not the most pleasant job but it might be the most important (good poop is the sign of good health – yes, you can TELL a lot from poop).  Besides feeding, watering (add Apple Cider Vinegar!)  and cleaning,  it is essential to watch your hens daily for a few minutes.Be a “chick watcher.”  Ask yourself:   Is one acting odd, not eating, etc.  Catching a problem early might just save a hen.

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