Farm Store | articles | Common Chicken Problems

Common Chicken Problems

What To Watch Out For

Maintaining a backyard flock offers great rewards, but it's not always easy to keep your chickens stress-free — especially when they're young. Understanding the environmental, nutritional and pest threats your chicks may encounter and knowing how to react to these challenges will ensure your chicks grow to be healthy, producing hens.

Environment

If chicks feel stressed, they may show signs of lethargy or be especially noisy, indicated by insistent chirping. To alleviate stressful conditions, first check the following:

  • Temperature. If your brooder is too hot, chicks will scatter away from the heat source, and if it's too cold, they'll huddle directly underneath it. Use your heat lamp to maintain newly hatched chicks at 95°F; after the first week, you can lower the temperature 5°F each week until the chicks are 5 weeks old.
  • Excessive moving or handling. Shipped chicks are often stressed upon arrival, but you can reduce their stress by limiting unnecessary movement after they're settled into their new home.
  • Pasting. Pasting occurs when the chick';s bottom becomes matted and plugged with excrement. Use warm water to gently remove the plug.

Avoid lining the bottom of the brooder with potentially smooth surfaces, such as newspaper or wood, as a chick's inability to gain traction can lead to permanent leg damage. Instead, use a soft, absorbent litter made of textured cloth, such as burlap, or paper towels.

Nutrition

In addition to poor overall health, improper feeding habits or using the wrong chicken food can lead to weak legs, breathing trouble, malformation and nervous system complications. Avoid scratch, table scraps and corn, which do not provide the appropriate vitamins, protein and minerals.

Instead, for the first six to eight weeks, rely on a pre-mixed commercial chick-starter made up of approximately 20 percent protein. From nine to 20 weeks, a chicken grower feed is sufficient. After 20 weeks, chickens should eat a laying feed such as laying crumbles or mash.

Parasites

When found in large numbers, intestinal parasites can have negative effects on chickens' overall health, including growth and egg production. The following parasites are most common:

  • Roundworms affect young chicks most severely, causing poor growth, intestinal blockage and death.
  • Lice irritate chicks'; skin. Excessive scratching can lead to secondary infections and death.
  • Mites can weaken young birds by sucking their blood, as well as cause irritation that can lead to infections.
  • Fleas also cause irritation when they attach themselves to chicks.

Use insecticides and keep your coop clean to help control pest populations. Additionally, thoroughly sanitizing the coop between each new group of chicks will kill any remaining parasites.

Shop Poulrty Health

Related Products

More Products Like This:
Grid View
List View
  • Southern States All Grain Layer & Breeder Pellet 50 lb

    SKU 52352011
    Southern States All Grain Layer & Breeder Pellet is a complete vegetarian feed that is ideal for egg layers and breeders 16 weeks of age and up. The nutrient dense, all-natural formulation results in eggs produced with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 content, and superior egg shell and yolk quality. The added pro-biotic optimizes feed digestion and overall heath in a natural way. Southern States All Grain Layer & Breeder is free of antibiotics, animal proteins and animal fats. Available in crumble form, SKU: 52352071.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States All Grain Layer & Breeder Crumbles 50 lb

    SKU 52352071
    Southern States All Grain Layer & Breeder Crumbles is a complete vegetarian feed that is ideal for egg layers and breeders 16 weeks of age and up. The nutrient dense, all-natural formulation results in eggs produced with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 content, and superior egg shell and yolk quality. The added probiotic optimizes feed digestion and overall health in a natural way. Southern States All Grain Layer & Breeder Crumbles are free of antibiotics, animal proteins and animal fats.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Traditions 2-Grain Scratch 50 lb

    SKU 52354051
    Southern States Traditions 2-Grain Scratch is a high-energy supplement for poultry with coarse cracked corn and whole wheat. Use it blended or top-dressed with other supplements or regular feeding regimen for chicks after four weeks of age through maturity.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Traditions Egg Layer Poultry Feed Pellet 50 lb

    SKU 52711011
    Southern States Traditions Egg Layer Poultry Feed Pellet is a complete feed for laying poultry over 16 weeks of age. This feed is available in crumble or in pellet form to suit the preference of your flock, and contains 16% crude protein to promote bigger eggs. Healthy hens eat Southern States Traditions Egg Layer Poultry Feed. Available in crumble form, SKU: 52711071.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Traditions Chick Start & Grow (AMP) Medicated 50 lb

    SKU 52360071
    Southern States Traditions Chick Start & Grow (AMP) Medicated is a complete starter and grower feed for meat and egg type chicks. Medicated with Amprolium as an aid in prevention of coccidiosis. An economical formula that provides complete and balanced nutrition without compromising on quality.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Flock Balancer 20% Booster 50 lb

    SKU 52543011
    Southern States Flock Balancer 20% Booster is a pelleted complete feed for growing and mature poultry. It brightens plumage, builds great muscle tone and improves all-around performance. 20% crude protein ensures developing birds get the nutrition they need to be in top form.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Super Breeder 50 lb

    SKU 52361071
    Southern States Super Breeder is a complete poultry breeder and layer feed for all your egg producing birds. From broilers to turkeys, gamebirds to emus, Southern States Super Breeder gives you healthy birds and healthy eggs. PrimaLac for good gut microbials and 21% crude protein for excellent muscle development and beautiful plumage gives you poultry that's healthy from the inside out.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States All Grain Start-N-Grow 25 lb

    SKU 52350072
    Southern States All Grain Start-N-Grow is an all natural 18% protein feed for growing chicks. This feed has added vitamins, minerals and amino acids for growth, muscle and feather development. Southern States All Grain Start-N-Grow is free of antibiotics but does incorporate a pro-biotic which optimizes feed digestion and overall health in a natural way. This feed includes marigold extract for a bright, healthy skin and plumage.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers