Monday, January 2, 2012

Better Safe than Sorry - Stocking your Chicken First Aid Kit


If you raise chickens long enough, the day will come when you need to administer first aid. Whether it be a sprain, hurt foot, broken toenail, puncture wound, insect sting, respiratory infection, cuts, frostbite, bumblefoot, open sores, mites, worms, or an injury from another chicken or a predator, you want to be prepared in advance so you aren't running around trying to find what you need, or making a trip to the store, an emotional mess, with a hurt chicken on your hands.


(I also find having a stocked first aid kit comes in handy down at the barn for when I injure myself, which happens more often than I would like to admit. I've had my share of splinters, stapled fingers, dust in my eyes and other minor maladies which are quickly remedied with items from the chickens' first aid kit.)


ASSEMBLING A CHICKEN FIRST AID KIT

You will need a sturdy plastic container with a cover.  Small fishing tackle boxes work well as do small plastic craft boxes from Walmart or the Dollar Store. Of course I keep so much on hand now that it all no longer fits into this small container !

Write your vet's telephone number as well as the phone number of our local feed store on the lid in permanent marker. Although your vet might not treat chickens per se, they will still be an important contact in many situations and many feed store owners are familiar with common maladies.

Inside the kit you will want to have:

Saline solution (to rinse dirt or dust out of eyes)
 Betadine (kills germs)
 Neosporin (triple antibiotic ointment)
Poultry VetRx (cures respiratory ailments, scaly leg and eye worm)
Nutri-Drench (liquid vitamins and other nutrients)
Liquid Childrens' Benadryl (to administer in case of bee,wasp or scorpion stings)
Liquid Calcium (helps an eggbound hen)
Green Goo (all natural petroleum jelly and Neosporin)
Vitamins & Electrolytes or Plain Pedialyte (to replenish electrolytes during extremely hot weather)
Honey (natural antiseptic with healing properties)
Epsom salts (for soaking feet with splinters or bumblefoot. Also when ingested, Epsom salts - or molasses - can neutralize and help flush toxins, help with intestinal tract blockage, reduce diarrhea and treat vent gleet)
Bag Balm, Coconut Oil and/or Vaseline (to prevent frostbite on combs or feet)
Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets (a natural stress reliever)
Kocci Free (all-natural anti-parasitic and coccidia remedy)
Vetericyn - non-toxic spray that can be used to treat cuts, scratches, bumblefoot, and ringworm.
Blu-Kote (an antiseptic/antipick spray *note that Blu-Kote is not approved for us in poultry)

Gauze pads, First Aid Tape, Vet Wrap, Sharp Scissors
Blood Stop Powder (available from your vet) or Cornstarch (also will stop bleeding)
Cotton Balls, Wooden Popsicle Sticks, Q-Tips, Scalpel, Eye Dropper, Tweezers, Small Pliers, Rubber Gloves, Dawn Dish Detergent, a Plastic Syringe, Dog Toenail Clippers, Small Flashlight with Spare Batteries


Note: Blu-Kote is a purple spray that is difficult to remove from hands, clothing, etc. Using a paper towel or toilet tissue roll to spray through will focus the spray into the chicken at the location of the wound and prevent the spray from getting on everything. Wearing gloves is still recommended if you don't want it all over your fingers tho!


WARNING:  Any antibiotic or pain killer that ends in 'caine' or 'cane' (bactine, novacaine, lidocaine, benzocaine, etc.) can be harmful or even fatal to chickens and should NEVER be used.

Instead Baby Orajel Naturals is a great natural alternative to use as a topical pain reliever (BUT - be sure it not NOT regular Orajel which is NOT safe to use on chickens)




Another good item to keep on hand is a Chicken Saddle. It is meant to protect your chickens from a roosters spurs, but also comes in handy in the case of a hawk or other raptor attack to keep the injured area clean and not a temptation for others to peck at, or in the event of other back injury or excessively pecked area.  Check out Pamper your Poultry for some nice hen saddles.


In addition, you should keep a small pet carrier and a soft blanket nearby for a possible trip to the vet.  A dog crate or large bird cage should also be kept handy. It will make a perfects 'recovery room' for a hen who needs to be separated while recovering from an injury or illness. That way any medication that needs to be administered can be easily limited to your patient's diet and you can monitor the hen's eating/drinking/pooping while keeping her safe from pecking by the others. 


The crate needs to be sturdy, safe, large enough that the chicken can move around a bit and preferably in a quiet corner. You can also drape a towel over it to allow your patient more privacy. 

Keeping the crate outside in the run while your patient is recovering (if weather permits), and what she is suffering from isn't contagious, will avoid the injured chicken from being at the bottom of the pecking order when she is ready to be returned to the run and make re-integration easier.


Your brooder box (click HERE to learn how to make this one) also makes a nice sick bay turned on its side for recovering hens.

Keep the crate handy and your first aid kit stocked (and if you use something or it expires, replenish right away with a new supply). Keep the kit where you can access it quickly.  With a well-stocked first aid kit you will be set for almost any chicken emergency - but hopefully you will never need to use it.


For our recommendation of the ten essential all-natural first aid items you absolutely need to keep stocked, click HERE.

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21 comments:

  1. I'm going to work on this. Thank you for the post.

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  2. I already have most of this stuff, but there are a few items that I don't have and that I didn't know about so you've been very helpful. Thank you!

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  3. Thank you both for reading ! I have lots more information that should be helpful in the coming weeks, so stay tuned !

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  4. I have been following all these recommendations...for almost a year now...all information is very researched and documented accurately....I just can't get enough....I hope others will do the same...

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  5. Thanks Peg ! I appreciate it.

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  6. The kit sounds good and looks very thorough but I don't know what half that stuff is used for. :(

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  7. Good point ! I'll add some more notes in parenthesis.

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  8. I just got baby chicks about a month ago. It looks like I have a lot of stocking up to do. Thanks so much for the very helpful information!

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    1. At least the basics for now - some antiseptic spray or cream, vitamins & Electrolytes, gauze, vet wrap, etc. Trust me you don't want to be running out to buy stuff in an emergency.
      As my grandmother (a longtime chicken farmer) used to say about chickens: if they can get stuck in it, choke on it, strangle themselves on it, step on it, they will....

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  9. Bactine contains lidocaine. How can it be safe? You said that lidocaine is harmful/fatal to chickens. Is there an alternative to Bactine that you would suggest instead?

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    1. Good catch ! I cant' believe I missed that. It does indeed contain lidocaine. I pulled my original first aid kit list off a very well-known chicken site - well before I had read any warnings about the 'caines'. I actually never used the bactine - I use betadine instead for my antiseptic.

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  10. Wow! I'm just seeing this for the first time.
    This is great, Lisa. Thanks so much and I really appreciate your telling us what each product is for.

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    1. I hope you'll never need any of it..but chances are one day you will, so good to be prepared.

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  11. I used regular oragel when I had to do 'surgery' on a chick with fused toes. It didn't hurt him a bit. I swear by Vetricyn. That is a MUST for first aid kit. I also keep Terramycin eye ointment. Denagard is a great antibiotic for respiratory infections. I deworm 3 times a year with Ivomec.

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  12. OM Gosh I'm a new chicken mama and who would of known all these things that can happen to chickens. I am overwhelmed and my head is spinning. I will be making a list and checking it twice to make sure I have what is needed to keep them safe and healthy. Thank you for this information. I have lots to learn. :)

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  13. With Liquid Calcium you stated that it helps an egg bound Chicken. "Is Liquid Calcuim a supplement to be given to the Chicken before they are egg bound?" "What can you do to help an egg bound Chicken?" I have just lost a Chicken that was egg bound.

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    1. Hi I am so sorry. There isn't alot you can really do to prevent egg binding, other than keep your chickens healthy, but some seem prone to it. This article might help. The liquid calcium can be given if you notice soft shelled eggs. http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/2012/06/egg-bound-hens-how-to-recognize-treat.html

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  14. Two things you might want to add to your kit are suturing supplies and super glue. Super glue to paste together smaller deep cuts/wounds and sutures to sew up the large ones. It's very hard to stitch a chicken up with a straight needle from the average sewing kit!

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  15. Impressive! Very detailed and useful information. A must share and must read to everyone. Thanks for sharing this.

    First aid supplies

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  16. This is a great article. I did not know that first aid kits can consist of all nature items. It makes sense since it seems to be a lot more safer. I always make sure my first aid kit is properly stacked with the most important items. Besides the essential items, I always tell people to consider having a Duoderm because they are a great for apply pressure to sore areas.

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  17. By the way I love your chicken metal first aid kit!!! I would buy one if you know where to purchase them.

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Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily
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