Is it Murphy’s Law or do most emergencies happen at night or on the weekend when vets and services are closed? I had a dog with a knack for eating foreign objects that required surgery to extricate them. Most of his troubles seem to happen when the vet was closed, adding another whole level of stress to potentially life threatening events.

We live in an earthquake zone and most of us know we should have an emergency to-go bag packed and I’d hazard a guess that the vast majority of us feel like the ‘big one’ will not happen in our time. And from reading posts on several FB farm groups its apparent that most of us are unprepared for all the things that may, and do, go wrong with chickens.

In the ten years I’ve had chickens I’ve experienced predator attacks, pecking injuries, a prolapsed vent, an egg bound hen, split beak, bumblefoot, worms, lice, scaly leg and body mites and chicks born with curled toes. I’ve also had birds that just seemed ‘off’ and either recovered, or sadly, died without a diagnosis.

So my questions to you are: Do you routinely check your chickens for parasites or injuries? Do you know what to look for? Or what to do if you find something? Got a good first aid kit?

I’ve assembled a number of things and have them all packed in an easy to carry plastic tote:

  • Alcohol swabs (cleaning equipment)
  • Apple cider vinegar, with the mother (digestive health)
  • Aspirin: uncoated baby 81mg (pain relief)
  • Brewer’s yeast (vitamin B, probiotic)
  • Cornstarch/stypic powder (stops bleeding)
  • Cortisone Cream
  • Dog crate/infirmary
  • Epsom Salts (bumblefoot, flystrike, prolapsed vent)
  • Flashlight, LED
  • Forceps, sharp scissors, tweezers
  • Gauze, non-stick pads, Q-tips
  • Gloves, disposable
  • Glue, super (damaged beak)
  • Heat lamp, heating pad
  • Honey, unpasturized (antibacterial)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Iodine
  • Lube (internal exams)
  • Nail files, nail clippers (trimming split beaks/damaged nails)
  • Oil, Mineral (impacted crop)
  • Polysporin/Neosporin (without ‘caine’ pain relief, which is toxic to chickens)
  • Poultry Vet Rx (respiratory issues)
  • Preparation H without pain relief (prolapsed vent)
  • Prid (homeopathic drawing salve for bumblefoot)
  • Rescue Remedy
  • Saline solution (rinsing eyes, wounds)
  • Scalpels (for bumblefoot , or other, surgeries)
  • Sheets, towels
  • Stop Pick
  • Sugar, white (for shrinking mucous membrane tissue i.e. prolapsed vent)
  • Syringes/eye dropper (giving water or meds)
  • Tape, medical
  • Thermometer
  • Trauma Cream (with arnica, applied topically)
  • Tums (calcium)
  • Vetericyn (wound care)
  • Vetrap
  • Vitamins
  • Witch Hazel (astringent, prolapsed vent)

Chick Care

  • Bandaids (curled toes)
  • Electrolytes, Sav-A-Chick
  • Poly-vi-sol without iron (vitamins)
  • Popsicle sticks (splints)
  • Rubber bands (spraddle leg)
  • Straw, plastic drinking (spraddle leg)
  • Vitamin B (foot/leg issues, feather growth, weight gain)
  • Vitamin E with selenium (wry neck)

Parasites

My suggestion is to start off by collecting the things you’ve already got at home (e.g. bandaids, gauze, polysporin, vaseline) and then start going through the list to accumulate some of the essentials.

Some of the meds aren’t easy to find and you may have to buy them in a size you’ll never get through. When I have to purchase things in larger quantities I split them with other chicken keepers so we all end up with a reasonable amount and to ensure we’ll use them before their expiry dates.

Find yourself a handy tote (they are easy to find at thrift stores) and have everything in one place so you’re not wasting time or energy looking for errant supplies.

Let’s hope you have no need for all of those things, but better safe than sorry.

Chicken first aid kit

If you’ve got something in your first aid kit that you think is useful and it’s not on my list please let me know and I’ll add it.

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