Now that my birds are getting older, I wanted to have information on-hand to help me maintain their health and intervene when needed. Having read and valued the Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickensby Gail Damerow, I decided to purchase another of her titles, The Chicken Health Handbook. The contents are comprehensive, and my favorite feature is the index-style listing of “Diseases and Disorders” in the final chapter of the book. Each is listed in alphabetical order and gives the vital information: also called, incidence, system/organ affected, incubation period, progression, symptoms, percentage affected, mortality, postmortem findings, resembles, diagnosis, cause, transmission, prevention, treatment, and human health risk.
One of Damerow’s suggestions is to keep a comprehensive log of your chicken activities, a flock history. According to Damerow:
“A flock history is basically a diary that includes anything and everything pertaining to your flock. Start it the moment you acquire your first birds, noting the date […], source, strain […],anything the seller tells you about the birds’ past history, and any health certificates that come with the bird.
“Document your feeding and management practices and any changes you make, including vaccinations you give and medicines you use. Write things down as you go along. It may seem like a time-consuming chore, but it’s easier than trying to reconstruct events later if you need the information to help trace a health problem,” (Damerow, 1994, p. 9)
So, I have begun a flock history of my own in Excel, which you can see below. I’ve written down the source of my hatching eggs, the food I am using, when they move, etc. I am sure I will figure out more information to track as I go on.
Lastly, please take a look at the Scratch Cradle Resources page, linked at the right of the banner. I’ve begun collecting not only pages and blogs of interest but links to chicken health information that you may want to print or favorite.