Taking care of chickens is generally pretty simple, but occasionally, you might need a few extra things and it’s really nice to have them on hand.
Here are a few things I can’t live without…
Vet RX– I put a few drops in their drinking water, and dab a little on their nostrils with a q-tip if I hear any sneezing or coughing…it’s great for helping respiratory issues, but you still might need antibiotics if it’s a bad infection.
Vetericyn– This is a lifesaver if anyone gets a cut, or injury, especially those from a “friend” who likes to peck. It sprays on really easily, and there’s even one that sprays on like a gel so it stays in place well…love this stuff!
Diatomaceous Earth-This serves several purposes, and some people swear by it, while others think it does nothing…I figure, it can’t hurt to try…so I sprinkle this underneath all the pine shavings in the coop, occasionally I put a bit in with the chicken food, and use it to fight off any pests around the coop since it’s safe for the chickens, as opposed to a pesticide spray.
Garden & Poultry Dust (Permethrin)-This is actually a plant based bug repellent used to fight off mites and lice on chickens. I sprinkle this under the pine inside the coop, and occasionally attempt to dust the chickens with it (NOT easy). It helps prevent, not necessarily treat, mites and lice.
Happy Hen Treats Dried Mealworms & Treat Squares-My hens will do pretty much anything for mealworms, and the dried ones are slightly less icky than the live ones. I use these to get the ladies back into the coop after free ranging…they are so motivated by food, it’s awesome! I hang the treat squares in the coop on rainy days when I know they won’t get outside much. It usually disappears in a day or so…they love it…food and entertainment all in one!
Blue Kote-This is great for bumblefoot since it’s an anti-fungal treatment. I apply this after soaking the foot in a warm epsom salt bath, and then I place a small piece of gauze over the wound/scab and wrap the foot with self-adherent wrap. **Word of warning…this STAINS…so unless you want purple hands and little purple dinosaur footprints all over you and the yard, wear gloves and use a towel to hold your chicken…then get the foot wrapped as soon as possible to cover it…unless you are superhuman, this is a two person job!
Pine Shavings-I love using these in my coop! I love the fresh pine smell, they are easy to clean and replace, fairly inexpensive, and absorb moisture nicely. I use a cat litter scooper to clean out the poop every morning, after the hens have roosted all night and dropped bombs from above. It works fairly well. Every so often, I add a bit more fresh pine, and then about once a month, I clean out all the pine and replace it. I also use it in the nest boxes. The hens love making their “nests” with the pine shavings. I know some people swear straw is the best thing ever, but the only time I switched and tried straw, we ended up getting mites…the straw is hollow, so the little nasties can hide in it. It was awful!!! I found the straw difficult to clean, and it was large and pokey…not soft at all. Needless to say, I went back to using pine immediately…it works best for my coop and chickens.
This is just a small sampling of a few things I use…of course I am always learning and adding more to my arsenal of supplies. If you have anything that you can’t live without, add a comment below and share!