In 50 Do-It-Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens (Skyhorse, 2018) by Janet Garman, Get ready to jump into the world of chickens, one DIY project at a time. Owning and raising chickens doesn't have to be an expensive hobby. With imagination, simple tools, and salvaged or bargain materials, you can make everything your flock needs for their health and safety.
Let’s face it—we could easily spend a lot of money on retail products aimed at barnyard animal care. Some of these dollars would be well spent. There are also many common kitchen products for the barn and coop that can do the job just as well as commercial products, and without chemicals or unwanted additives—or the daunting price tags.
Olive Oil—Chickens can benefit from olive oil if they have an impacted crop. Using a small syringe, carefully open the chicken’s beak (or if you are lucky, she will open it for you). Slowly push the syringe so the oil drips into the mouth. Don’t squirt forcefully because you could force some into her lungs by accident. Massage the crop after the hen swallows the oil. This will help break up the clump so the crop can pass the material through to the gizzard.
Olive Oil—Another use for olive oil happens at the other end of the chicken. Occasionally a hen will strain to pass an egg. It might be an extra-large egg or she could be older and not as elastic as she once was. Coating the vent with a thin smear of olive oil can assist her in passing the egg.
Olive oil is a good way to add calories in an animal that has been undernourished. Do not over do this, though! Fats should still be the smaller nutritional component of the diet. For example, you could safely mix 1 teaspoon of olive oil into 1⁄2 cup of layer feed.
Epsom Salt—Epsom salt is a good source of magnesium. Soaking in a bath of warm Epsom salt and water relaxes the muscles of an egg-bound hen. It is also good for soaking bruised legs or feet. Chickens with bumblefoot abscesses can have a foot soak in Epsom salt and water as well.
Blood Stop Products
Few events are quite as scary as blood rushing from an animal’s wound. Animals hurt themselves, each other, and sometimes they hurt you. It’s a part of barn life that shouldn’t happen often, but when it does, you will want to be prepared. Keeping some or all of the following products in an airtight bin in the barn storage room might save a life one day.
All of the following can act as blood-stopping treatments. Once the blood flow is staunched, you can treat and bandage the wound. These products would be applied directly to the wound. Cover with a compress and apply light pressure to hold in place.
- Vinegar (it works but it might sting a little)
- Tea bags (moistened)
- Yarrow herb (crushed or chopped fine and placed on the wound)
Oregano offers natural pest-repelling and natural antibiotic action. Oregano can be fed fresh or dried. Add to food, sprinkle on the ground, in nest boxes, or mix into homemade treats.
Garlic aids the gut in staying healthy and repelling parasites. Use it fresh or dried in small quantities throughout the year.
Honey can be used as an antibacterial and healing ointment. Use raw, unpasteurized honey for the healing benefits.
Coconut Oil is one of the best treatments for skin irritations. Coconut oil has healing properties and coats and protects abrasions.
Molasses adds calories and some nutrition for a weakened chicken.
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