Chickens are relatively easy to keep, so long as you provide quality layer feed, fresh water and a clean, dry, well-ventilated coop for them. However, chickens can get sick or injured so it’s necessary to be prepared with a chicken first aid kit if the need arises.
Many items that are good to have are either easy to buy or you may already have in your home. Other items are made specifically for treating poultry and there are links within to purchase them.
Pet carrier and small coop as a hospital ward
In case you need to take your chicken to the vet or if you need to isolate one from the rest of the flock while it recuperates from an injury or illness. A small coop is great if your bird needs to be isolated for any length of time. Keep in mind, the coop needs to be predator proof and well ventilated. Also, if a chicken is kept away from its flock for too long, integration back into the flock will need to be done carefully.
In case of a predator attack where your birds get wounded, you will want gloves to stop the transfer of germs. Gloves are a must when you need to clean up some poop off their fluffy butts too during a bath too.
Dish pan or small plastic tote
Great for bathing a bird with the aforementioned poopy butt or if you need to get a bathe a chicken or get it wet for any other reason, such as heat stroke.
For wrapping up stressed birds.
Dog nail clippers, nail file, super glue
For trimming nails, beaks, or spurs. Nail files and super glue help if there is a beak injury. If the beak breaks but is still attached you can use a thin piece of paper (like a coffee filter) or fabric to bridge the two pieces together and hold it together with super glue.
This is great for administering medicine, especially if it has measurements on it. It’s also handy if a chicken isn’t drinking on its own or you need to fortify a liquid diet for an ailing bird.
It covers wounds from predator attacks or overly aggressive roosters. It’s also good to cover spots from excessive feather picking.
Non-stick gauze pads
For cleaning and covering wounds.
Vaseline or Coconut Oil
Both can be used to prevent frostbite on combs and wattles, some people prefer coconut oil because it’s more natural. Both are also helpful for treating scaly leg mites, egg binding, and any other ailments that require lubrication.
Cornstarch or Styptic Powder
You probably have cornstarch in your kitchen, and like styptic powder, it can help stop bleeding in small wounds, such as bleeding nail, beaks, or pin feathers.
Aspirin helps pain management. Crush 5 regular aspirin (325 mg) into one gallon of water.
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Helps speed healing for treating wounds and bumblefoot infections.
Green Goo First Aid salve is a power packed formula that helps aid the body’s own healing abilities and is safe for humans and all other animals. It’s a natural alternative to common antibiotic ointments (such as Neosporin) that can also be used on combs or wattles to prevent or treat frostbite and it can even treat bumblefoot, so it’s versatility makes it a great product to have on hand.
Used to clean wounds instead of hydrogen peroxide, which is thought to possibly kill healthy cells, and can be used initially on wounds and in any following cleanings.
An anti-bacterial gel spray, Vetericyn is used to clean wounds and treat infections. Vetericyn is safe for almost all animals so it is a really handy product to have on hand for any animal owner.
For soaking chicken’s feet in the case of bumblefoot.
Used to treat prolapsed vent.
Sav-A-Chick Electrolytes comes in small packets and can be a vital tool in helping a chicken in distress, whether from excess heat, a chick failing to thrive, shock from a predator attack or listlessness. Just mix into the water. Rooster Booster is also great for adding electrolytes and has added probiotics.
Poultry Nutri-Drench contains electrolytes and it also has antioxidants to help birds in stress and help restore the immune system for healing birds.
Poultry Vet Rx
Used as a natural antibiotic, it treats respiratory problems, scaly leg, and eye worm. Vet Rx can be given to birds orally, dabbed under the wings or nostrils, (think of menthol rubs) or even added to their drinking water.
This is an antiseptic spray that is commonly used on an open cut. Chickens are drawn to raw skin or bleeding wounds and will often pick at it, making it worse. Blu-Kote dyes the area blue which makes it less noticeable to other birds. (It will stain your skin and clothes too)
Some don’t like to use Blu-Kote on their chickens if they eat their eggs or raise meat chickens because it’s not clear whether it is completely safe for use on animals used for food. If you don’t want to take a chance, you can make your own version. Here is a recipe from Fresh Eggs Daily.
Used for the treatment of Coccidosis, which is caused by a parasite. Medicated chick starter feed contains amprolium to help prevent young chicks from contracting coccidosis. However, most chicks aren’t vaccinated against coccidosis, it’s a good idea to have Corid on hand.
An injectable antibiotic used when symptoms of a respiratory infection appear, such as swelling in the face and eyes and discharge around eyes, nose, and beak.*
*As of January 1, 2017, backyard chicken keepers could no longer purchase water soluble antibiotics for their birds without a prescription due to the U.S.D.A.’s Veterinary Feed Directive. The purpose behind the directive, which was aimed at the commercial chicken industry, is to prevent antibacterial resistance in humans by restricting the use of medical antibiotics in food-producing animals.
Injectable antibiotics and bacitracin (topical ointments) are excluded from the USDA’s restriction.
This seems like a lot, but many of the items you probably already have or are easy to get, plus we added links to purchase many other things to make it easier for you. You don’t need to get everything on the list and many are different choices for the same symptoms. But since avian vets are few and far between, it’s good to be prepared, just in case.