Worming Chickens: Ultimate Guide

Worming Chickens: Ultimate Guide

Wondering whether worming chickens is easy? What are some all natural options? In this article, we’ll discuss the type of worms chickens can get, why they’re so dangerous, and what to do about it! 

Think about it: A chicken mama walks into her hen house to collect eggs. She reaches into the first nest and frowns. The egg has an unusual covering of chicken poop. This is not a massive problem. It just requires some extra cleaning. 
On to the next egg. It’s plastered with poop. The farmer begins to suspect something is wrong. Then, onto the third nest, where the prize-winner roosts. She is neat and tidy, and never leaves messes on her eggs. But chicken poop also covers this egg, and there’s some long white strands mixed in. 
Something needs attention, and she wonders what’s going on with her beloved birds. The list possible problems is a short one, and the solution is actually quite simple. These chickens have worms, and they need a better worming regimen.

What Are Worms Exactly?

Worms are parasites that can create health problems in chickens. Worms can cause lots of health issues, such as:
  • poor nutrition (because the worms are stealing vitamins and minerals from your flock)
  • internal bleeding
  • diarrhea
  • flightiness
  • pale combs
  • poor egg production
  • bloody stool
  • vision problems
  • death
You might also notice your hen doesn’t want to forage, and prefers to sit quietly in a corner.

How Do Chickens Get Worms?

A flock of chickens goes foraging, and might stumble upon a big, thick slug. It is a treat to the bird, but this yummy snack hides something insidious: a parasite. Your chickens swallow this parasite, and it finds a warm, comfortable place to live out its life cycle.
Chickens can also pick up worms from the soil, either by stepping on eggs, or ingesting eggs from dirt. Wild birds visiting their poultry cousins can also be a point of infection. Additionally, one chicken can effect her whole flock, since the worm’s eggs might infect her feces. Other hens might pick them up when walking around (which is why it’s important to clean your coop consistently)

What Kind Of Worms Do Chickens Get?

Chickens can get a variety of worms, including:
  • Tapeworms (Davainea proglottina and Raillietina cesticullus)  
  • Roundworms (Ascaridia galli)
  • Hair Worms/Capillary Worms (Capillaria obsignata
  • Gapeworms (Syngamus trachea)
  • Caecal Worms (Heterakis gallinarum)
  • Strongyle Worms (Trichostrongylus tenuris)
Each worm species effects chickens in different ways. But all worms are detrimental to your birds’ health. Most worms fall into two distinct classes.
  1. Direct – a chicken picks up these worms by scratching or pecking through contaminated feces. They spend their entire life cycles inside the chicken. Very often the eggs of these worms drop out of your chicken; they are quite durable and can hibernate for up to a year. Then, when another chicken picks them up, they then hatch, often by the thousands.  
  2. Indirect – these worms inhabit things that your chickens might have foraged. They might be hiding inside slugs, for example. Then, inside your chicken, they find a nice warm habitat to live out their life cycle. Indirect worms need a secondary host, such as an earthworm, before finding their permanent home inside your chickens
The following types of worms can infect your flock:

Caecal Worm

These are light grey to white in color and shaped like the letter S. They can grow to about ¾ inch. Caecal worms do not always show any symptoms in chickens. But chickens suffering a severe outbreak of these worms may look depressed or look worn out. The worms live in the ceca and have a direct life cycle. 

Capillary Worms

These worms are so small that one cannot usually see them with the naked eye. They are also called Hairworms or Threadworms. They live in the crop, intestines, and ceca, but in severe outbreaks, they can also inhabit the throat or the mouth. These worms are usually found in earthworms and slugs. A chicken infected by capillary worms will be weak and anemic. Their comb will pale, and the bird might appear emaciated. They also might suffer diarrhea. Extreme cases can lead to the bird’s death. They have both a Direct and Indirect life cycle. 

Gape Worm

worming chickens with gapeworms

Gapeworms in poultry throat. Image from Wikipedia.

Gape worms are red, and grow to ¾ inch in length. A male and a female lock together, resulting in a Y-shaped organism. Gape worms inhabit the trachea and lungs. They feed on blood get from micro blood vessels.  The most common symptom is a shortness of breath, often accompanied by a gaping beak, stretching its neck, and head shaking. The chickens will cough and frequently gasp for air and may also have a reduced appetite. They are Direct cycle parasites. 

Gizzard Worms 

These worms are very thin and grow to about 3/4 inch. They’re uncommon in chickens (far more common in geese). Symptoms include:
  • anemia
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • a sickly appearance (might include a hunched posture and sagging wings)
This can lead to death if left untreated. They have a Direct life cycle.

Roundworms

roundworms from chicken

Roundworms

Most common of the various worms that your chickens might contract. Roundworms are visible by the naked eye, and can reach lengths of up to 6 inches. Other symptoms can include:
  • Pale combs and wattles
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • stunted growth
Extreme cases can also block the intestines, which can kill your bird. The infected bird will shed the roundworm eggs in her poop. Another hen can pick up these eggs, which will hatch in the new hen. Round worms have a Direct life cycle.

Tapeworms

tapeworm chickens

Tapeworm illustration

Tapeworms are white, long, and flat. In chickens, they usually do not grow any longer than 13 inches. Segments of these worms can be visible in chicken feces – they look like bits of rice. Tapeworms live in different intestinal areas and feed on its host bird’s diet. As a result, the chicken will likely suffer an increased appetite, and will appear larger, primarily due to bloating. If a juvenile bird becomes infected with tapeworms, its growth could be stunted. Tapeworms have an Indirect life cycle; they need a host like beetles, earthworms, and other insects.

How Can We Protect Chickens From Worms?

Your chickens are very likely to get worms, especially if they live outdoors. This is a sad fact of life, but it is an important one. Stopping worms is not 100% about preventing worms from infecting your pets, but rather in minimizing the damageThe biggest risks are warm wet climates, and especially between late Spring and summer, when many parts of the USA endure heavy rains. Other areas of the country – the Pacific Northwest, for example – are ideally suited due to an almost year-round warm wet climate.
Worm eggs do not like extreme temperatures and go dormant in weather that is too hot for them or too cold for them. They are also averse to climates that are too dry to sustain them. To prevent a muddy coop, mix a good amount of stone, gravel, or having straight concrete flooring. This can reduce the number of active worm eggs in your flock’s home. 
Keeping grass short can also behoove a smart chicken owner. This helps to maximize the amount of UV light from the sun that reaches worm eggs. These eggs are particularly susceptible to UV light, and sunlight can destroy them. 
Be sure that your bedding is clean and dry. In wet weather, be sure to clean out your coop and chicken housing areas at least 2 to 3 times per week. If you use the deep litter method, and your chickens seem to constantly have worms, consider a different bedding option.

Should I Worm My Chickens?

Not sure if your chickens have worms? It’s easiest to collect some feces and take it to your vet. They can run tests to determine if and what kind of parasites your chickens might have. These tests are usually inexpensive. You’ll learn if your chickens actually need a worming regimen.
Worming regimens should not be year-long. You should do it only every so often (your vet can tell you how often). Parasites and chickens both can develop an immunity to the wormers. If this happens, it means you’ll have a harder time killing off this particular strain of worms. So, continuing to use it will have no effect. You can ask your vet about rotating options if you want to prevent worms. 

What Are The Best Wormers For Chickens?

There’s lots of opinions out there about what wormers are ideal. Some chicken owners might claim you only need natural solutions. Others insist that they are not enough. Ultimately, you should decide for yourself, using our list below as a set of options. Be sure to consult your vet as well. A list of some of the most popular options are below.

Flubendazole/Fenbendazole

In the United States, there aren’t any FDA-approved wormers for chickens. But elsewhere in the world, there’s pharmaceutical options. The UK has stringent standards when it comes to animal welfare, and Flubendazole is approved for this use. Since you can give it to goats, horses, etc, it’s worth asking your vet about it. If you can’t find Flubendazole, ask your vet about Fenbendazole. It’s a common medicine for goats, horses, dogs, cats, etc. Fenbendazole is usually sold in farm stores under the trade name Safeguard. Before proceeding, though it’s always best to ask your vet for dosage amounts.

Ivermectin

Like Fenbendazole, this isn’t specifically approved for chickens. But it’s safe for other species. It’s also proven effective. So it’s worth talking to your vet about it. You can buy it at any farm store.

Apple cider vinegar

This remarkable item offers many benefits, including deterring some worms. It is not a 100% guaranteed treatment, but it’s very cost-effective. It can also introduce healthy bacteria to your hens’ digestive systems. You can learn how to make it yourself here.

Garlic

Garlic is the wonder herb. You can add small amounts to chicken feed. It might help discourage worms from settling in the belly. It also can support healthy digestive systems. 

Chili/Cayenne

Worms dislike the spiciness of capsaicin, and will leave the host area. Like garlic, it discourages worms from settling in the digestive gut. 

WormBGone Nesting Herbs

There’s a long history of certain herbs “doing the trick” to keep parasites from bugging backyard chickens. WormBGone Nesting Herbs includes the best herbs! Made with herbs traditionally used to promote healthy digestive systems and prevent worms. This is an affordable option many chicken owners love.

Vetrx Poultry Aid

You can apply this natural wormer directly on the effected chicken or put it into their water or in treats. 

Durvet Ivermectin Pour On De-wormer

You can pour this wormer onto the infected area. It’s a topical anti-wormer.  

Fleming Wazine Chicken De-wormer

You can mix this solution into feed or water.

My Pet Chicken Organic WormGuard Plus with Flax Seed

This natural mix also claims to reduce odors and moisture in chicken coops. 
Internal parasites are a massive problem that can effect your birds at any point in their lives. And it’s not only their health at stake. Worming chickens can also effect your life. After all, a healthy, worm-free, bird will produce healthy eggs for consumption. 
Feed Chicks Apple Cider Vinegar Like A Pro

Feed Chicks Apple Cider Vinegar Like A Pro

Best Chicken Waterer: A Buyer’s Guide

Best Chicken Waterer: A Buyer’s Guide

We all know hens need water….but do you know what’s the best chicken waterer to make sure your fluffy butts are safe?

 

A good chicken waterer can make or break your flock. During the summer, it needs to provide consistent access to cool water to avoid heat stroke. In winter, it needs to be tough, so it doesn’t freeze over.

 

In this article, we’ll explore the various options available for chicks and adult hens. Chicken waterers are the easiest and best way to water chickens, regardless of season OR flock size.

 

The best chicken waterer we recommend:

 

The best chicken waterer for summer:

The best chicken waterer for winter (to keep water from freezing):

Why do I need a chicken waterer?

In short, because chickens need consistent access to water. Without it, they’ll become dehydrated, sick, and eventually, they’ll die. Waterers also let you keep track of your flocks liquid intake. This is especially important on hot days, or if they seem sick or stop laying eggs.

And if you want to provide herbs to your flock, soaking the herbs in water makes it easier to ensure all your hens get the benefits.

 

Chicken water feeders, or drinkers, come in a variety of sizes and shapes – what’s most important is that the waterer is safe, can hold enough water to last your chickens all day, and that your flock can’t knock it over and dump the contents everywhere.

 

How many chicken waterers do I need?

It’s best to have 1 waterer for every 5 chickens, especially during the summer (very hot climates might want to have 2+ waterers per chicken, especially if you’ll be gone all day.) If you have less than 1 waterer per 5 chickens, you will probably have to fill it up more frequently. If you use a automatic chicken waterer system like nipples, you just need to make sure there’s enough water in the system for all your chickens.

 

Different Kinds of Chicken Waterers

There’s different options with waterers and chicken water drinkers, and it’s best to know all the available options so you can pick the right one for your flock. (You can also check out the best chicken feeders I recommend here.)

 

There’s several kinds of waterers:

  • Mason jar waterers
  • Plastic waterers
  • Stainless steel waterers
  • Nipple waterers
  • Pet bowls
  • Drinker cups

 

Mason jar waterers

These are perfect for chicks, and they’re relatively inexpensive. They’re not the best for adults, however, because they don’t typically hold enough water. You will have to clean them daily, otherwise mold and moisture build up on bottom of the waterer, and form a gnarly bacteria culture.

 

Plastic waterers

These are an affordable option, and they’re also easy to clean. Sometimes they hold enough water for chickens, especially if you have a flock of 1-5 chickens. They’re also good for bantam chicken flocks. For larger flocks, however, they typically don’t hold enough to last all day. Like the mason jar waterers, you need to clean these daily.

 

Stainless steel waterers

These tend to be bigger than plastic waterers, but the same issue applies. They’re usually not big enough to accommodate flocks of 10 or more chickens (although you can use more than one waterer). They’re also usually heavier, so they’re harder for hens to knock over (which is a good thing). This is one of the easiest to use for all chicken breeds.

 

Nipple waterers

These systems make watering chickens very easy, and it keeps the water cleaner than the options above. Typically, the water supply is housed in a barrel, and the water automatically fills the nipples. Your chickens can then get a drink whenever they want.

 

The downside is that:

  • they’re sometimes hard to clean,
  • don’t provide a lot of water at once,
  • have a learning curve for your flock,
  • and tend to be more expensive.

 

Pet bowls

Yep, you can use a large canine pet bowl for your chickens – they work great. They’re durable, easy to clean, and can hold a lot of water. There’s nothing that says you need to spend a lot! (You can learn about other costs of owning a chicken here.)

 

These are also great if you need cheap or DIY chicken feeder ideas.

 

One downside is that your chickens can easily tip them over (you can always place rocks in them), and the water can get dirty very easily. 

 

Drinker cups

These are a type of automatic waterer that fills a drinking cup at eye level whenever your chickens are thirsty. They’re easy to set up and for chickens to learn to use. One downside is a lot of them aren’t very deep (so your chickens won’t get a lot of water per swallow) and they can freeze during winter.

 

How Much Water Does A Chicken Drink?

On average, chickens drink about a quart of water daily – so your waterers should be able to hold enough to keep each member of your flock happy. Using an automatic chicken waterer is the easiest way to make sure your flock has enough to drink. If your chickens become dehydrated, they can become sick or they might not lay eggs as efficiently.

 

What Should A Chicken Waterer Be Made Of?

Your chicken waterer can be made of several different materials:

  • Plastic,
  • Rubber, and/or
  • Stainless steel

There’s advantages and disadvantages to each option.

 

What’s better, plastic, rubber, or stainless steel?

On a grand scale, all are equally just as good – so when deciding on the best chicken waterer for your flock, choose the material that works best for your situation.

 

Plastic is always going to be easier to clean, especially in crevices. Rubber tends to shred, or get marks on it where bacteria can hide. It’s important to note, however, that plastic is less durable, and more likely to be cracked than rubber or stainless steel.

 

However, in winter, rubber tends to freeze less than plastic or metal. With a stainless steel chicken waterer, it’s important to take note that in the winter it can freeze faster, so if you don’t use a water heater, plastic or rubber is the better choice to go with.

 

With rubber heater buckets they tend to be black, this is so they’ll attract heat, and make the frozen water melt faster. (You can learn more about how to keep chicken water from freezing here.)

 

These are a type of solar heated chicken waterer – so using a rubber ground feeder, you can make your own diy heated chicken waterer. Amazon has good options, and there are many tutorials and resource material available on the internet to make a chicken waterer diy.

 

Watch this video for more information:

 

 

Do Chickens Need An Automatic Waterer?

Your flock doesn’t necessarily need an automatic waterer, but it can make it easier to ensure that your chickens have access to water all the time. This is especially during the summer, when heat stroke can take its toll (learn more about how to keep chickens cool here).

 

On average, a mature chicken can drink approximately 1 quart of water each day in temperatures from 40 – 75, and even more in hot weather. They’ll also tend to drink more in winter, when the air is drier, so if you live in an area with long winters, consider investing in a 1 gallon heated chicken waterer.


In the winter, if you have an automatic waterer make sure that it will work in sub-freezing temperatures.

 

This is the automatic waterer we recommend:

 

What Size Chicken Waterer Is Best?

For adult chickens, it’s best to get 1 waterer per 5-6 chickens, and possibly more if you have flock bullies. Especially during summer, it’s important to make sure everyone can access water. You’ll need a waterer that holds about 1-2 gallons, if you have a flock of 5-6 chickens.

 

For day old chicks, a mason waterer is best. It holds enough water, and is shallow enough so your chicks won’t drown.

 

If you have adult chickens or chickens over 16 weeks, a 5-gallon bucket waterer is perfect – just make sure to turn it into an automatic waterer like in this video. While it’s tempting to just put the 5 gallon bucket in the coop, it’s too deep, and your chickens might fall in and drown.  

 

 

Should I Use A Nipple System For My Chickens?

Many people are happy with a chicken water feeder that includes nipples. They do have to be set up, but are handy devices designed to give water to chickens with minimal mess. Make sure your flock can get enough water, and also remember to hang it just a few inches above ground so your chickens can reach it. To hang it, use a stud or 2×4 board, since the waterer tends to be heavy..

 

In winter, these aren’t the best choice because they’re typically made with metal, which can freeze easily.

 

Should I Use Drinker Cups?

Using drinker cups might be the best chicken waterer system for your flock since it’s an easy and affordable automatic system. Remember to check the depth of the cups – in some cases, they aren’t deep enough for an adult chicken to get enough water. These are great for chicks, though, because they prevent the baby chicks from falling into the water and drowning.

 

Also, make sure any pipes in the drinker cup system are easy to clean or replace when they’re dirty. It’s important to prevent bacteria from forming and harming your flock.

 

Should I Use A Water Heater In Winter?

You can use a heated chicken waterer, just make sure it’s safe and won’t cause a fire. In Southern areas of the USA, it’s not really necessary as long as temperatures don’t get below freezing (especially during the day).  Plastic or rubber are also the least likely to freeze. (You can learn how to keep water from freezing with this trick – it also works for heated duck waterers too).

 

In some areas of the US, you likely will have to use a water heater, especially if temps in your area are consistently under 32 degrees F. Insulated chicken waterers are another option, however, even they will freeze eventually.

 

If you do use a water heater, it’s best to not use an extension cord because this can spark a fire. Always plug directly into a socket, and frequently check the cord to make sure it’s in good condition.

 

Where Can I Buy Chicken Waterers:

 

The Top Waterers On Amazon

Harris Farms Plastic Poultry Drinker  3.5 Gallon

This Harris Farms chicken waterer has the capacity to hold a 3.5 gallon of water, it’s durable and easy to fill with a twist-lock system that comes with a hanger/carry handle.

 

LITTLE GIANT Automatic Waterer, 5 Quart

Created by Little Giant, this easy to assemble and clean automatic waterer can hold up to 5 quarts of water providing a continuous flow of fresh water for adult poultry. The automatic float controls the water level to ensure that there is no spilling or overflow. The cover prevents roosting and keeps debris out of the water and it has a 0.75-inch hose that attaches to a standard garden hose.

 

Miller Manufacturing 740 Mason Jar Water Base

Designed by Miller Manufacturing, this plastic base waterer is perfect for poultry and game birds. It’s molded from shock resistant polystyrene and fits a model 690.

 

5 Gallon Chicken Waterer – Horizontal Side Mount Poultry Nipples

Created by RentACoop, this chicken waterer has the capacity to hold 5 gallons and is made from 100% food grade and BPA free plastic. The horizontal nipples prevent the ground/bedding from getting wet and comes with a no-roost cone to keep the lid clean and bacteria free. It comes in complete setup no assembly required!

 

RentACoop Automatic Chicken Water Nipple Cup Waterer Kit for Poultry

Created by RentACoop, this automatic chicken waterer doesn’t need tabs to push and the cups are always half full! It’s a solution for clean water for ducks, geese, turkeys, and an innovative chicken water drinker.  Watch this video to see how it works:

 

 

 

Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Twin Waterer with Automatic Valve Operated Cup

Designed by Royal Rooster, this twin waterer is a no-mess solution to water your chickens or ducks! It’s easy to fill and clean and hooks straight onto mesh or attach to the wall with brackets.  It has the capacity of 1-gallon cup style drinker (suits 4-6 chickens/ducks), 20” tall, UV stable, durable PVC plastic, Australian made quality.

 

Premier Chick Nipple Waterer

Created by Premier, this nipple waterers has a 1-liter capacity that sits or hangs above the litter so water is always clean. It’s ideal for easy clean-up and a no-mess solution to giving waterers to chickens.

 

Farm Innovators Model HPF-100 “All-Seasons” Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain, 3 Gallon

Designed by Farm Innovators, this is by customer demand one of the best chicken waterer on Amazon. It’s a premier one chicken waterer that has the capacity to hold 3 gallons and it prevents water from freezing down to 0-degree F due to it being thermostatically controlled. It’s an all-around heated duck waterer and one of the most well reviewed heated chicken waterer Amazon has.

 

Premier Chick Nipple Drinker with Wall Bracket

Created by Premier, this 1-liter nipple drinker can sit or hang above the litter to ensure that water is clean and fresh, comes with a wall bracket for hanging on a brooder or coop wall. The lightweight wire hanging bracket is also included with the nipple waterer for attachment to the cage.

 

Muddy Hill Farm Sideways Sipper Horizontal Drinker Nipple – Spring Action, No drip, Side Mount, Poultry Nipple Drinker

Designed by Muddy Hill Farm, this sipper uses a horizontal drinking nipple to ensure no drips and leaks, unlike vertical nipples. Easy to install with its unique wing-like shape, just drill a ⅜” hole in your plastic container and screw in the Sideways Sipper Horizontal Poultry Drinker Nipple.

 

How To Clean A Waterer

How Do You Clean A Chicken Waterer?

To clean a chicken waterer:

  1. Soak the entire waterer in hot water
  2. With a stiff cleaning brush, gently scrub away dirt and bacteria.
  3. You can also use a gentle soap (make sure you get all the soap out of the waterer after scrubbing).
  4. If you don’t want to use soap, you can use hot water and white vinegar instead.
  5. Make sure all residue is cleaned off the waterer before returning it to your chicken coop.

It is important to clean your chicken water dispenser often. because nasties like bacteria, dirt, or algae can contaminate your flock’s water. In some cases (like stainless steel or nipples), you might also notice rust buildup on your waterer. Clean your vessel monthly with a brush, hot water, and a gentle dish soap. If you do not want to use soap, you can use white vinegar instead (we use this when cleaning our chicken incubators to get rid of bacteria.)

 

Is Bleach Harmful To Chickens?

In large quantities, it’s poisonous. Because chickens are so much smaller than humans, they feel the effects of bleach fumes more than we do. When cleaning your chicken waterers, it’s best to steer clear of bleach and use milder options.

 

How Much Vinegar Do You Put In Chicken Water?

If you want to clean your waterer with vinegar, use 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water. Be sure to clean your waterers with hot water, and use a stiff brush to scrape away dirt and buildup. If you want to give your chickens apple cider vinegar in their water, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per 1 gallon of water, and add the mixture to their water dispenser.

 

How Do I Keep Algae Out Of My Chicken Waterer?

To keep algae out of chicken water:

  1. Keep your waterers out of the sun
  2. Clean them frequently
  3. Use a fountain, or other waterer that’ll keep water moving

 

Algae grows in standing water that’s in sunlight. So, to keep your flock’s water algae-free, make sure to keep their waterer out of direct sunlight, and clean them frequently. Since algae grows in standing water, you can also use a fountain since the moving water makes it harder for algae to grow.

 

Can Chickens Drink Water Out Of A Bowl?

Yes – large canine bowls (for great danes or irish wolfhounds, for example) are best. You can use just about anything that can hold liquid to give water to your chickens. Some common devices to keep hens from flipping over their water bowl are halves of tires, tip-over pails, rocks, and tubs.  

 

Can Chickens Drink Cold Water?

Yes. Chickens like drinking nice cool water. During summer months, you can provide cool water for most of the day by putting a block of ice in their waterer in the morning. Even in the winter, chickens will prefer cool water over hot.

 

Do Chickens Need Lots Of Water?

The average chicken drinks about 1 quart of water a day. So, you will need to provide enough water to satisfy your entire flock. You’ll also need to check their water intake in winter to make sure they’re drinking enough – otherwise, they might become dehydrated.

 

How Much Water Do Chickens Need A Day?

A typical full-grown laying hen will on average need a quart of water on a daily basis, however, this varies on the size of the hen, seasons, and outdoor temperature. Do not limit a chicken’s water because having an inconsistent supply of water will stop them from laying eggs and their health will deteriorate.

 

Do Chickens Need Water Inside Their Coop?

Yes, especially if they stay in a coop and/or run full time. Even though chickens don’t drink once they roost, they’ll be up at the crack of dawn (since chickens see more colors than we do, they’re up earlier). They’ll want a drink as soon as they wake up and start moving. During summer, they might return to their coop because it’s shady. In winter, they might not want to leave to stay warm. So, it’s always a good idea to keep water in your chicken coop. You can learn about what your coop should include here.

 

Do Free Range Chickens Need Water?

Free range chickens are no exceptions – they still need an adequate amount of water for them to remain healthy. They need a clean, fresh water source in the garden or access to their waterer located in the chicken coop.

 

Can Chickens Go Without Water At Night?

Yes, because once night falls and they roost, chickens usually won’t want to eat or drink. However, it’s still a good idea to keep water in their coop. Once they wake up and start moving, they will want water.

 

How Long Can Chickens Be Without Water?

Chickens can be without water for a couple days, but it’s not recommended. To remain healthy and to lay eggs, chickens need full time access to water. Without it, they can become dehydrated and stop laying eggs. It can take several weeks for them to recover.

 

Will Chickens Drink Dirty Water?

Yes, they will. Chickens aren’t too picky. However, it’s not a good idea to give them dirty water. It can contain harmful bacteria or mold, or any other thing that can make your flock sick. It’s best to provide fresh, clean water at all times.

 

Will Antifreeze Kill Chickens?

Yes, antifreeze is poisonous to chickens. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic – it can take just a few drops to kill a chicken. It’s always best to keep your antifreeze away from your chickens (and other household pets).

 

Can I Put Apple Cider Vinegar In My Chickens Water?

Yes, chickens love apple cider vinegar, and it’s easiest to offer it to your flock in water. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per 1 gallon of water. You can learn more about apple cider vinegar and chickens here.

 

Which do you think is the best chicken waterer? Leave a comment below!

Stop Pendulous Crop In Backyard Chickens In Its Tracks!

Stop Pendulous Crop In Backyard Chickens In Its Tracks!

Pendulous crop in backyard chickens can be a stressful event to manage.

 

You might even be wondering what pendulous crop even IS, especially if you’re a new chicken mama or papa.

 

Well, I’m not going to pretend pendulous crop isn’t serious – it can definitely be an issue and it must be addressed.

 

Without taking care of it, your chicken might not absorb the nutrients she needs and eventually, will waste away, lose weight, and die.

 

In this article, I’m going to tell you exactly what pendulous crop in backyard chickens is, and how to deal with it.

 

At the end, you’ll have a good idea of how to handle this situation, should you ever need to help one of your chickens!

 

What is pendulous crop?

You might have noticed the word “pendulous” in pendulous crop, and that’ll give you a starting point to understand this health issue.

 

In case you don’t know, the crop is part of your chicken’s digestive system. It’s where food is stored and begins the breaking down process.

 

As you can imagine, it’s critical the crop is healthy and in good shape to help your hen digest her food.

 

When a hen gets pendulous crop, it can be due to a couple things:

 

  • The crop is impacted, and the weight of the food the hen consumes is getting heavier and stretching the crop.

 

  • The hen might also be anatomically predisposed to having pendulous crop, meaning her crop is larger, or naturally sags more than it should.

 

Either way, the crop has become impacted and needs to be cleared out.

 

You might wonder what the difference between pendulous crop and impacted crop is. Basically, pendulous crop is a type of impacted crop.

pendulous crop backyard chickens

Photo courtesy of Heretha Bell

Why does pendulous crop happen?

Simply put, the reason pendulous crop happens in backyard chickens is because the crop stretches due to too much food or possibly the anatomy of the chicken.

 

After your hen swallows food, for whatever reason (possibly a piece of food that’s too big, too much food, etc), her meal gets stuck, and can’t leave the crop.

 

As your hen eats more and more, the pieces of food then sit there, fermenting, and not getting passed through the digestive system.

 

While pendulous crop is an issue by itself, it also means the chicken isn’t getting nutrients, and eventually, the chicken can die of starvation.

 

How do I know whether my hen has pendulous crop?

If you see her crop is bulging and sagging and possibly moving around (meaning, it doesn’t feel like a nice, right, round ball about the size of a peach), she might have pendulous crop.

 

If you notice her crop isn’t smaller in the morning or if your backyard chicken looks physically poorly or sick, then she might have crop issues.

 

It’s always best to double check with a vet!

 

pendulous crop in backyard chickens

Photo courtesy of Heretha Bell

What can I do about pendulous crop?

First, make sure the chicken actually has a crop issue by keeping her off food for 24 hours (still give water).

 

When crops are full, they can be quite large – anywhere from the size of a golf ball (in a young chicken) to the size of a peach or orange in an adult.

 

So, you should first determine whether the crop is actually functioning.

 

If you stop food for 24 hours, and notice the crop becomes completely empty the next day (for example, it was very full and now you can’t see much of a lump at all), the crop is working the food towards the rest of her digestive system and likely not impacting.

 

If it’s still full and you know she hasn’t eaten anything, her crop is likely impacted (you’ll want to double check this with a vet).

 

To empty the crop, you will have to “burp” your chicken (which is not as much fun as it sounds).

 

Burping consists of helping your hen regurgitate the feed that’s in her crop, and (hopefully) removing whatever is causing the crop to be impacted.

 

You can read full instructions about dealing with impacted crop and emptying it in this article.

 

After the crop is empty, keep the hen off food for another 24 hours (still give water) and observe her closely for signs of additional problems. (Double check with a vet about any signs you should look for in your particular backyard chicken – they’re all different).

 

You can then slowly reintroduce food, making sure it’s in small pieces. If you’re still concerned, you can err on the side of caution and offer moistened food that’s easy for your backyard chicken’s digestive system to break down.

 

You can also mix raw organic apple cider vinegar WITH THE MOTHER (more on apple cider vinegar here) into her water – the beneficial bacteria will help her digestive system.

 

We also have apple cider vinegar granules in the store, which are a shelf-stable probiotic.

 

You can also offer dried oregano with her feed, and parsley (which are both full of amazing nutrients for chickens).

 

As for food, dried river shrimp are a good option – they’re small and easy for beaks to break apart. They’re also very high in protein, and if your hen is still recovering and nervous, they’re very tempting for even the pickiest eater.

 

You can also mix their feed with brewer’s yeast, if you want to make sure your hen is getting plenty of vitamins after her bout with pendulous crop.

 

Our brewer’s yeast is fortified with vitamin B 3, B6, and B12 and garlic, oregano, and echinacea (all herbs traditionally used to support healthy immune systems).

 

It’s important to remember that if your backyard chicken gets an impacted and pendulous crop once, it’s possible she might get it again.

 

The best thing to do is keep an eye on your backyard chicken and double check the crop is working correctly, and you don’t see any further signs of pendulous crop.




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What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market This Month: Thanksgiving Edition

What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market This Month: Thanksgiving Edition

Can you believe that it’s almost November? I feel like this year has flown past!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I am so excited for this year! I love to find seasonal foods at my local farmer’s market for Thanksgiving. Eating local food tastes sooo much better and that makes it perfect for Thanksgiving!

In my area it’s still 80 degrees (can you believe it? ugh) so the growing season is a little bit longer here. But I know for many of you, especially those of you who live further north, the farmer’s market pickings are getting slim in November.

Because of the variety of climates in the United States this is farmer’s market guide is pretty general. If you want to know exactly what’s in season in your area you can head over to The Seasonal Food Guide. I love this website because you can put in your zip code and know exactly what’s in season throughout the year in your area!

So let’s get started! Here’s what you should be looking for at the farmer’s market in November!

Apples

I’ve said it many times before, but I LOVE fresh apples. And fresh apples are perfect for making apple pie for Thanksgiving! In my opinion, there’s nothing better than homemade apple pie. You can check out my favorite homemade pie recipes here: Homemade Pie Recipes For The Holidays

You can also use fresh apples to make homemade apple cider vinegar! I have a guide for how to make apple cider vinegar here!

Mint

If you’re lucky you might be able to find some fresh mint at your local farmer’s market this month. It’s still in season in my area at the beginning of November, so keep an eye out for it! Having mint around during Thanksgiving is a must have for me because mint soothes upset tummies. I like to chew on the leaves, or I’ll make mint tea if I have an upset stomach (from eating too much!)

Plus mint has tons of benefits for your chickens! I use dried peppermint in my hens’ nesting boxes! You can get dried peppermint in my shop here: Dried peppermint 

Potatoes

If you’re lucky you might still be able to find some local potatoes for your Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. Since potatoes are fairly easy to store long term you can usually find farmers who have stored their crop from earlier in the season. When I lived further north I would go to a local farmer who stored potatoes in a massive root cellar! It was awesome because you could get local potatoes year round!

Check out my favorite recipe for Southern Style Mashed Potatoes and Gravy that you can make in your instant pot!

Sweet Potatoes

Yum! I love sweet potatoes! And good thing they’re in season in November, so you can make candied yams for Thanksgiving! This recipe for candied yams looks delicious (This recipe does call for sweet potatoes, not yams. Typically in the U.S. the words sweet potatoes and yams are used almost interchangeably which can be confusing!)

You can also try my favorite recipe for Southern Style Sweet Potatoes!

Winter Squash

I’m really looking forward to trying some recipes with winter squash this year! There are so many varieties of winter squash (spaghetti, acorn, butternut etc.) and I’m really looking forward to trying some out!

Some recipes I’m dying to try this year are:

Pumpkin

There are still fresh local pumpkins hanging around after Halloween, I promise! I love using fresh pumpkin to make pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice because it’s perfect for the holidays! You can find my recipe here: Pumpkin Puree & Pumpkin Spice. But my favorite thing to do with fresh pumpkin is make pumpkin pie! You can check out my favorite holiday pie recipes right here!

Carrots

Where I live, fresh carrots start showing up in October & November (since summers are so hot!) This recipe for Maple Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots would be the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving!

Mustard Greens

Yum! Mustard greens are perfect for salads and they would be great for a Thanksgiving side dish. Check out this recipe for Sautéed Mustard Greens With Garlic and Lemon!

Thyme

I love fresh thyme! Typically November is the last month there’s fresh thyme at the farmer’s market, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can! I just made a recipe for meatball orzo stew tonight for dinner, and the best part was it featured fresh thyme! You can find the recipe here: Slow cooker meatball orzo stew.

Well that’s all folks! If you’re looking for Thanksgiving décor ideas for your home, I’ve got your covered! Head over to this article here for my favorite fall themed décor! What are you going to buy at the farmer’s market this month?