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Here it is in a "nutshell." What have I learned from raising chickens in the last 14 years?
I've learned that I do not control the weather, cold, heat, rain, floods, gravity, temperature or bacterial growth, Mother Nature nor Natural Selection- I have learned to let go and raise the chickens to the BEST of my abilities. And I have learned that raising chickens is a "cycle" of replacements as your coop needs change, or your chickens begin to "age," or losses due to illness or predators chickens will need to be replenished and replaced over time.
Fact: 90% of ALL chicks are carriers of Mycoplasma. (MG/MS) This is a known fact in poultry hatcheries. Some hatcheries claim to be MG free, but generally, this is not the case. The small microscopic disease also known as MG, CRD, Newcastle Disease is a genetic marker in the DNA in nearly all chicks sold from hatcheries and backyard hobby farms. Not all chickens will exhibit the signs of infection, MG can be passed from the hen to the egg. Mycoplasma cells, once activated, can also be carried in the air, passed from rodents or even birds flying overhead. The simple stress of moving a chick/started pullet or hen from one pen to the other can "trigger" an outbreak. Most of the time MG can be cured with organic essential oils in a mild case in other cases antibiotics can be used. Once an outbreak, chickens are always a carrier, and some diseases can spread to the other chickens in the flock. Since nearly all chickens can carry the MG marker and the potential to exhibit symptoms, most poultry are susceptible to the outbreak. On large farms, ill chickens are routinely "culled" to prevent the spread of infection to the other birds. Other factors that may cause MG include stress, free-ranging birds in the open, changing weather temperatures, and seasonal changes to soil and bacteria. But no worries, chickens are instinctive birds and are really easy to keep! Check out our HELP! page here
( See known poultry genetic disease page here!) It is my personal opinion that after raising many thousands of birds, and many different breeds and from many different hatcheries as well as breeding my own, that the commercial strains of hardy chickens have a better liveability and stronger immune system than pet fancy varieties. (which are coincidentally are bred to have sometimes a shorter lifespan and weaker immunity so that hatcheries sell more of the pet breed the following spring!!!! ) Poultry scientists and research CAN reduce the harmful strain of MG and perhaps eliminate it altogether, it is due to corporate GREED that this disease continues! There ARE chickens in private research facilities that are NOT for sale to the public that are disease-free... why is the public not allowed to know this fact? IMHO!)
We STRONGLY recommend that breeds that you purchase during the wet fall and cold winter seasons are commercial variety breeds instead of fancy pet breeds that do not fair as well as commercial breeds during off-seasons. We sell many breeds year-round.
READ this! "The Healthy Coop" page and other best practices are: Do NOT use pine/cedar shavings (causes respiratory problems in some chickens) and Avoid "Free Ranging" even in your back yard. There are MANY diseases brought in from birds flying overhead and bacteria that your chickens are walking in! Plus, Adding: 1 tsp of powdered garlic or crushed garlic bulb and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar per gallon of water daily will prevent bug bites and parasites. (worms) Further, adding Ivermectin to chickens water because of mites/parasites (CLICK!) preventive is a good practice too. IMPORTANT!!!!! Remember to SPRAY your coop with a safe insecticide such as Liquid Sevin 500 from March to July each month (depending on the weather in your area) to reduce parasitic pests that can kill your chickens. About mites and other parasites that breed in your coop, you can't see them! Spray your coop with a safe insecticide. (note: Diatomaceous Earth alone may not be your only solution against insects around your chickens and coop.)
1) The Healthy Coop 2) Raising Baby Chicks 3) Rooster Return Terms
Raising a coop of chicks or hens takes patience and skill and sometimes things can go wrong and not according to plan. Sometimes mistakes can just happen to your coops or chickens. (or accidents, predators, bad weather or worse.) Even using bagged pine shavings with toxic chemicals can be reasons for some illnesses!
LEARNING ABOUT RAISING CHICKENS and EXPERIENCE is a process that you must learn yourself. These are skills that you must find on your own!
*** Read our policy on buying poultry and that buyers assume all risks! *** There is a learning curve to raising a flock of chickens! There are NO OTHER FARMS that replace live outdoor farm chickens either. READ: Blue Star Ranch Poultry Guarantee
Thank you! to all my happy customers over the years who buy feed and chickens from Blue Star Ranch. This article is deeply thought out by me to try and share information about backyard coops and changing weather can effect your chickens overall health and life.
This page is also about how people today are different than our grandparents and great grandparents. And that people have changed, but chickens have not.
The real truth is, raising chickens from chicks to grow hens for eggs or establishing a coop for a flock of hens takes time, experience, and skill. It isn’t something you can master by visiting backyard chickens chat room! Now can you handle the TRUTH?
The environment, seasons and weather in which you raise your chickens can (AND DO) affect the overall health and livability of your chickens.
Most common chicken breeds do well in outdoor coops. BUT Bottom line: U-N-L-E-S-S you raise your chicken INDOORS ONLY (most people do not) then you need to be aware that chickens health is based on its living environment, and very importantly changing weather! When the weather changes (30 to 50 degrees in a matter of hours in Texas), or goes from dry to wet!!!! Or if your coops gets flooded from storms then some chickens may become ill from sudden changes in the weather. Its up to YOU as the new owner to provide a safe and healthy coop free from wet, cold drafts or muggy wet soil. Even if you raise your chickens in a covered coop, weather changes are still a concern!
We are all about 3 or 4 generations removed from the farm (most of us) from REAL farm life, but yet the hobby and lifestyle of raising chickens is bigger than ever! This page will show you REAL information that is not really talked about by pet chicken owners.
Wet bacteria from soil, mud or sand can cause illnesses in chickens.
A DRYER chicken is a HEALTHY chicken! 100% of all chickens are carriers of bacteria and some genetics that may cause diseases!
SO if you choose to raise "Natural or Backyard Chickens" then understand that sometimes chickens can become ill from bad weather, flooding or bacteria on the ground that they eat. Constant changing weather (even if you have a covered coop) is one of your biggest concerns.
THIS IS A SCIENTIFIC FACT!
Chickens that eat bacteria (they ALL do) eat dirt or poop and other germs from the ground can ingest bacteria that remains "dormant." Now when the weather changes outdoors (In Texas we can have 30 to 50 Fahrenheit degree changes in a matter of hours.) Or from dry to wet (or wet to dry!) The "dormant" bacteria that your chicken ate can become "active" and cause illness in chickens. Most chickens recover and have strong immune systems to absorb bad bacteria and re-align their gut systems.
There are some breeds that are just STRONG AS TANKS (most commercial breeds) and have strong immune systems and generally can withstand outdoor conditions. We sell strong commercial breeds and pet chickens too. Many of the popular or pet breeds do not have as good of livability in wet, cold or sudden weather changes.
Now let me be harsh for a moment: What did your GRANDPARENTS DO? with sick chickens? Well, they did not take chickens to the vet, nor put diapers on them or dress them up in clothes or put bows in their feathers! (yes there are chicken owners that do this!) Your farm/agricultural rural Grandparents did not take their chickens to the local veterinarian and pay several hundred dollars to care for a sick chicken!
Our Grandparents were from another time and UNDERSTOOD NATURAL LIFE PRINCIPALS They "culled" any chickens that got sick. PERIOD. Then they hatched more chicks to replace the ones that were killed. It was a way of life.
*** Chickens are an agricultural animal and considered disposable. Before people made chickens city pets, chickens were "disposable" to many people. Its a fact. ***
A covered coop in your backyard does NOT count for "climate controlled system"
uv light portable sanitizer to kill bacteria and virus portable and can be used in coops - use small uv lights in your coop to kill germs
****THINK ABOUT THIS! ****
Why do poultry factories use climate controlled buildings, ventilation fans, heaters and daylight balanced light bulbs for light and Ultraviolet Light (UV Light) for killing bacteria? Because this is the BEST way to raise chickens without fluctuating BACTERIA in the gut that causes illness!!!! Because this is the best way to raise mass qualities of healthy chickens (100,000 or more in just a few weeks! to use meat breeds for example.)
These outdoor free range chickens or cooped chickens ARE NOT CLIMATE CONTROLLED- AND ARE SUBJECT TO MORE ILLNESS AND PREDATORS
uv light sanitizer to kill bacteria and virus portable and can be used in coops - use small uv lights in your coop to kill germs & can help sick chickens!
If you love and dress up your pet chickens, understand that chickens haven't changed much in the last 100 years, People have changed how they think about chickens.
But chickens still have the SAME gut system. If you raise your chickens in outdoor coops (nearly everyone does) learn that MOTHER NATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT is the controlling factor in your chickens health!
large commercial climate controlled factory
with UV & daylight balanced lighting & ventilation
Chicken owners should LEARN AND UNDERSTAND SIMPLE BASIC SCIENTIFIC AND AGRICULTURAL FACTS - if you just don't "get it" yet then It's time that you learn.
(If you do not raise your chicken in an indoor climate-controlled regulated ventilated building with bacterial control and on wire cages - like large corporations, but instead put your chicken in the backyard or free-range OUTDOORS and allow them to have unregulated bacteria them then understand its just Mother Nature, and Natural Selection! that will "rule the roost" SOME CHICKENS CAN GET SICK!) But overall MOST chickens (strong commercial breeds) will live and fare well based on your weather, environment etc.
Doing your own "research" by reading "Backyard Chickens" or calling your friend that has 3 pet hens to advise you is not the same as my years of "eggsperience" raising chickens! So believe me or not, this is up to you to decide.
But this article is factual and based on science.
I have raised many TENS OF THOUSANDS of chickens over the years. Most customers are very satisfied with the chickens they buy at Blue Star Ranch and we have many repeat customers!
Bacteria, Weather Changes & Preparing Your Coops -
If you want HEALTHY CHICKENS watch these videos!
This is a safe climate controlled regulated barn with uv lights, ventilation fans & bacterial control
IF YOU RAISE CHICKENS IN TRADITIONAL COOPS OR LET THEM OUTDOORS THEN THE WEATHER, BACTERIA, WIND, SUNLIGHT AND MANY FACTORS WILL AFFECT THE HEALTH. My suggestions are to buy chicken breeds that are right for the seasonal temperatures in your neck of the woods. (commercial breeds and game fowl are the strongest BEST for having the greatest immunity) Begin to understand about nature and natural life cycles.