Assembling a chicken first aid kit will allow you to be more prepared and take better care of your flock when an accident or injury happens.
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Chickens are like ninjas in everything they do. If you don’t believe me, you can come watch my tiny bantam Cochin rooster fly through the air and karate kick roosters twice his size with those fluffy little feet of his. Or watch Linda the Legbar ninja-eat all my potted flowers in the 2 seconds flat. That’s some serious chicken ninja-ing!
Unfortunately though, chickens are also stealthy little ninjas when they don’t feel good. They can go from perfectly normal to near-death seemingly overnight! Since they are prey animals, they tend to hide signs of distress as long as they possibly can. Because of this, we chicken keepers have to act fast when an emergency or injury does arise.
Sadly, we can’t save every chicken every time, but it does help to be prepared. And since chicken vets are few and far between, treating at home is usually the only option. Assembling a chicken first aid kit is one of the best things a homesteader can do to be prepared to treat a sick or injured chicken.
Chicken first aid kits are relatively easy to stock and you may already have a lot of the supplies. Of all our first aid kits, our chicken kit is actually the least stocked. Primarily because most of the supplies are already stocked in our goat first aid kit. I don’t see the point in buying items twice as long as I have the proper supplies in one of our kits. I do however still stock some of the basic supplies and all of the chicken-specific supplies in our chicken kit.
Now that we store the majority of our first aid supplies in five-gallon buckets, it’s easy for me to find and grab the items I need, regardless of which kit they are in. You can read more about why five gallon buckets make the best first aid kits here! I also use the Medical Supply Inventory List from the Homestead Management Binder to keep a list of my chicken first aid supplies. This way, I never have to wrack my brain wondering what I’m missing or what I need to restock.
Every homestead is different and every chicken keeper will want to keep different items on hand. Below is the basic list of what I like to keep in my chicken first aid kit to help my little ninjas when they are feeling less than awesome.
Basic First Aid Supplies for Chickens:
- Thermometers (I keep a couple on hand because they like to get lost!)
- Disposable gloves
- Flashlight or headlight
- Notepad or pen
- Cotton swabs
- Vet Wrap
- Towels (Very helpful to “burrito” the chicken by wrapping it tightly in the towel so it can’t flap around while you are treating it)
- Rags or hand towels (for cleaning and drying)
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Saline solution or saline wound wash (for flushing wounds and eyes)
- Epsom salts
- Blood-stop powder, yarrow leaf or cornstarch
- Syringes, 1 cc (or dropper) and other various sizes
- Heat lamp or other heat source (for warming a chilled chicken)
Other Helpful Supplies:
- Vet Rx (buy it here)
- Vetricyn spray (buy it here)
- Liquid calcium drops: may help to stimulate contractions and help pass a bound egg (buy it here)
- Liquid Vitamin B: supplement for weak chicks & chickens or chicks with curled toes or splayed legs
- Blu-Kote (buy it here)
- Preparation H: use for a prolapsed vent that needs to be pushed back in
- Electrolyte “Sav-A-Chick” packages (buy it here)
- Pzozap Permethrin dust: to treat mites (buy it here)
- Diatomaceous Earth (aka “DE”): Rub into coop walls, floor, perches, etc to reduce mites in the environment then cover with shavings or straw as usual
- Duster: The easiest way to apply any type of dusting treatment! (buy it here)
- Providone Iodine Scrub or Betadine or Chlorhexidine Scrub
- 7% Iodine Solution or spray or Hydrogen Peroxide
- Green Goo (my fav! – buy it here) or coconut oil or Vaseline jelly: Coat legs to treat scaly leg mites
- Liquid Benadryl: for allergic reactions, bee stings, etc.
What do you keep in your chicken first aid kit? Share in the comments below so that we can all become better chicken keepers!