Avian Flu and Backyard Flocks


With the avian flu outbreak, I’ve gotten a number of questions about how it will affect backyard flocks.

The key to protecting your flock is biosecurity. You can read more about avian flu and protecting your birds on the following links:

PREVENTING AVIAN INFLUENZA IN BACKYARD POULTRY FLOCKS

Avian Influenza Basics for Urban and Backyard Poultry Owners

Do I need to be worried about bird flu if I keep chickens?

The most important thing you can do is keep your birds isolated from other flocks of chickens.

  • Limit travel to other flocks.
  • Do not allow visitors who have chickens to access your birds.
  • Keep a dedicated pair of footwear that you use in your coop only.
  • Prevent contact with wild birds.
  • If you must bring in new birds, take them from reputable sources only.
  • Quarantine new birds for 30 days before introducing them to yours.

More likely than not, your backyard birds will be just fine.

Coop Ideas


Thinking about building a coop? Here are some great ideas with instructions! I love the Hobbit Hole coop.

Fluffin’ Butts video tutorial on how to dust for external parasites


I can across this hilarious video the other day. This guy is a stitch! [As a side note, when I’ve dusted my birds, I’ve held them upside down by the legs with one hand, away from my body, put the powder in the butt feathers (fluff), worked the powder down through the bird’s body, and then put powder under the wings as well.]

If your birds have lice, you may want to use a dusting powder (he mentions pyrethrin/permethrin). Pyrethrins are insecticidal compounds that occur naturally in certain flowers. They can also be synthetically produced (called permethrin). They are low-toxicity pesticides and are biodegradable. For chickens, the compound is formulated as a powder, which can be placed in the fluff and under the wings. The powder will kill adult lice and mites. It will not kill the eggs on the feather shafts and so must be reapplied seven days after initial treatment. Apply 2-3 times after initial treatment, seven days apart.

Signs of lice infestation include red, irritated skin (esp. on the back end); dirty vent feathers; lack of energy; bald spots; ragged feathers; and (most obvious) spotting lice or eggs on the bird. The adult lice are about 1/16 of an inch long, pink, and quick moving. (You may find them walking on you after you handle your birds, but humans CANNOT get poultry lice.) Lice deposit their eggs in the fluffy feathers near the bottom of the shaft. Louse eggs look like clumps of gray, matted material starting at the base of the feather shafts, close to the body. 

Northern fowl mites/Red mites look like tiny red, pin-prick dots on the birds. If the bird has mites, you may see scabs around the vent area. Mites generally like to live in the cracks of wooden coops. They will come out at night to feed on the birds. If the coop has a mite infestation, the birds may not want to go into the coop at night.

You can prevent lice/mite infestations by limiting the birds’ contact with wild birds and providing places for them to dustbathe. Some believe that putting some diatomaceous earth (DE) in their favorite dusting spots; however, I’ve spoken to avian veterinarians who have cautioned against the use of DE because they believe that inhalation of DE can harm the birds’ respiratory system.

It is best to treat the flock as soon as you notice lice/mites on the birds, to prevent a heavy infestation.

 

 

Spring Chickens!


Spring is here, and it’s time for chicks!

Feel free to contact Home to Roost for any of our personalized services:

  • Phone consultation – great for basic questions
  • Assessment consultation – a visit to your home to answer your questions and provide personalized information on how chickens will fit into your life
  • Healthy hens visit – a visit to your home to check the health of your birds and your coop set-up
  • New babies consultation – a visit to your home to help you set up and install your new chicks
  • Emergency housecall – a visit to help out and give advice in case of illness or accident (*note: Home to Roost does practice veterinary medicine and will refer you to an avian vet as needed)

See the Resources tab for more information and pricing.

Let us know if there is anything else we can help with! We’ll be happy to consider it.

Karl the Guinea Fowl Gets His Very Own Folk Song


A Guinea fowl showed up in Evanston, IL, in May 2014. The bird was initially in poor health, and to the delight of the neighbors, regained his strength. He became something of a neighborhood pet. As winter neared, the neighbors decided to capture the bird and rehome him on a farm in central Illinois. Folksong writer Kristin Lems produced a tribute for Karl. Read more about Karl and his special song!

Chicago Tonight Covers Urban Agriculture


Chicago Tonight covered urban ag in this fun piece. They focused on goats and touched on bees and (of course!) chickens!

REMINDER! Chicken Health Class This Saturday!


Come learn about keeping your hens healthy and how to help them in an emergency! We’ll cover common issues that urban chicken keepers face, as well as prevention strategies.

Sat., May 2, 10 AM-12 PM at Garfield Park Conservatory, http://www.garfieldconservatory.org

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