Just as it is impossible to stop flu season with humans, it is also impossible to 100% stop disease in a chicken coop. You can lessen the likelihood of disease by following our 6 tips to avoid disease in the chicken coop.
- Regularly clean the coop
- Minimize stress to your chickens
- Keep healthier chickens
- Start a healthy flock management program
- Avoid introduction of disease and parasites
- Quarantine sick or ill hens
While it sounds like a lot to do, you will find the 6 tips above uber easy to implement even if you are time poor.
Table of contents
Keep a clean chicken coop
Poultry and chicken disease as well as parasites spread through chicken poop. Bedding mites and lice lay eggs in the bedding and nesting boxes. So you don’t have to be Einstein to work out a cleaner coop can be a great start to less infection and infestation.
The best way for a clean chicken coop and reduce illness is:
- Allow chickens to roost so they do not sleep in their droppings
- Use dropping trays under the roosts for easy dropping removal
- Clean the coop regularly (weekly) with a broom out and change nesting materials
- Deep clean the coop once a month with diluted Apple cider vinegar. ACV disinfects and also helps remove odors.
- Replace materials you use for nesting every two weeks or when soiled.
- Once you have cleaned the coop with ACV, treat nesting boxes and dark corners with mite and lice spray or powder. You can use natural insecticides like Neem Oil or Elector PSP
- Place the coop in a sunny location that is well drained. Mites and lice love to breed in dark, cool, moist spots.
Use our free Printable checklist on How to thoroughly clean a chicken coop
Reduce stress and have happy calm chickens
As humans we are more likely to catch something if we have high stress in our lives. Chickens are no different. So by helping reduce stress factors for your chickens they will not only be less susceptible to illness but be happier and live longer.
How to reduce stress in hens
- Avoid over crowding. The more room the better
- Protect your chickens from extreme heat, cold and weather.
- Make sure the hens have a warm place to roost especially in winter. American winters can be very cold. So make sure you insulate the coop and seal up places where drafts can enter. The insulation will also help keep the coop cooler in summer.
- Keep the coop elevated off the ground to avoid rising damp and moisture.
- When chickens are molting, breeding or have been recently transported make sure you monitor them for signs of illness. These times can make them more vulnerable.
- Chicken dietary supplements may help lessen the toll of stress.
Start a chicken health management plan today
Sounds time consuming but it actually is easy to implement. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
- See the vet about vaccination against Coccidiosis
- Implement Amprolium Coccidiostat into your chickens drinking water
- Every 6 months treat the chickens for worms. Intestinal worms can be lethal to foraging birds such as chickens.
- Use rotenone dust as an external treatment to prevent mite and lice infestations on the body under the feathers. Other treatments for internal parasites are ivermectin and maldison.
- If there is an outbreak such as Gapeworm or Coccidiosis, once you commence treatment, move the chickens to a fresh pasture or run so they are not foraging in infected fecal matter on the ground.
Simple preventative measures above had to be included as part of our 6 Tips to avoid disease in the chicken coop. By implementing this in your chicken health routine you make sure your chickens are healthier and stronger to fight of illness.
Limit introduced disease and parasites to the flock
Follow these tips to help prevent the possible external introduction of disease and parasites to your chickens.
|Use a rodent-proof, no waste chicken feeder. No waste on the ground means less interest for rats and rodents to come and feed. Rats carry parasites and disease which can easily spread.||If you have a rat problem, remove rat droppings on the ground or dispose of feed as it is a prime source of contamination|
|Use bird netting or wire mesh to stop wild birds from entering the coop or chicken run||Wild birds carry mites, lice and disease such as Coccidiosis|
|Do not put newly purchased chickens into the flock straight away||Quarantine new chickens, treat them with mite and lice powder and also ensure they are vaccinated. Two weeks is recommended|
|Keep the chicken run dry||Muddy puddles are a breeding ground for bacteria and disease. Fill muddy puddles up with sand or grit at first opportunity|
If they are sick, remove them!
At the first signs of a sick or ill bird, it is recommended by professional poultry experts to remove the affected bird from the flock. This lessens the chances of a full flock outbreak of illness. Follow our steps in our Quarantine Sick Chickens article and seek advice from your vet.
Where to buy treatments
Dine A Chook USA is not associated in any manner with the companies referred below. The links below are for your convenience. We do not accept any liability arising from any issue of purchase through the below companies.
We hope you have found this article informative. If you like it please share it with your fellow chicken keepers. If you have other tips we’d love to hear them. Send us an email.