It is very important to learn how to identify a healthy chicken. This is especially true if you keep chicken or you want to buy some. Leaning what to look out for could help you know if any of your birds is sick and help you provide treatment before it's too late. Alternatively, you can avoid wasting money buying a sick bird only for it to die soon afterwards. While some people are experts at identifying signs of sickness in chicken, most have to learn the technique. In any case, it is better to regularly examine each individual bird for signs of ill health.
A physical examination is the best way to find out how healthy your birds are. There are some physical markers you should be on the lookout for. A healthy chicken is usually alert and active, at least during the day. Any bird that shows signs of excessive drowsiness or lethargy should be examined. Watch out for any bird that sits away from the rest of the flock with its head tucked in close to the body and in a hunched up pose. This could be a sign that the bird is not healthy.
The chicken's comb is another good indicator of the bird's health. It should be bright red in colour. A pink comb is normal in hens and simply indicates that the bird is not in lay while a red one indicates she is. If the comb has a bluish colour you should take it as a warning that the bird has poor blood circulation and is not in good health. A comb full of scabs shows that the bird has been in fights. You should take care to assess the temperament of a cock before buying it. Purchasing a bird which likes to fight will only antagonise and disturb the rest of the flock.
Another sign of a healthy chicken is shiny feathers which have a nice sheen to them. You should examine each bird for signs of parasites. The most common ones are lice and these have a habit of hiding between a chicken's feathers. Also take a look at the shanks of the feet. The scales should be smooth. Protruding scales could be a sign that the bird has scaly leg mites. The feathers under and around the vent should be clean and not messy. Birds which have dirty and scruffy feathers should be examined for any signs of illness. The bird should also have straight toes with no bending or twisting. Bent toes do not always indicate sickness since it could be a genetic trait. Such birds should not be allowed to breed with the others.
While examining the bird, check the eyes to ensure they are bright and clear. Any discharge or bubbles around the eyes and nostrils could point to respiratory problems. If the bird wheezes when breathing, you have reason to suspect it has a respiratory problem. A healthy chicken has an upper and lower beak which meet at the middle. They do not cross over each other.
Learning these few signs enables a person to tell which birds are sick and which ones are healthy.
ChickenHousesPlus.com has a large variety of fertile chicken eggs of different breeds, duck eggs, guinea eggs, bantam eggs and chicken egg incubators. We are a one stop shop for all of your backyard chicken needs. All breeds of day old chicks on sale now, join our mailing list to be notified when chicks become available to ship. We have specials on all of our fertile chicken, duck and bantam fertile eggs.