Day 1… I was really unsure of how well my chickens would respond to the antibiotics in their water. With no way of telling exactly how potentially sick my flock was, I was trying to be safer than sorry. Being told to euthanize the whole flock, sterilize and start over didn’t go over well for me, nor did the idea of just moving the sick birds. By the time the birds are showing the symptoms they are not going to last very long. It was much easier to treat all my birds as having been exposed and move ahead. The evening after two birds dying, I replace water containers with two 3 gallon waterers treated with antibiotics, added electrolytes, and some ascorbic acid to aid with absorption. I cross my fingers and head to bed.
Day 2… 1,2,3,4…13! I have 13 lively active chickens pecking in the feed pans when I let them out. Good sign, since they haven’t had access to the treated water yet. I’m pretty sure I observed most if not all chickens visit the waterers at some point before we headed to work. After pulling in the driveway, all the chickens came running to the fence for scratch (spoiled spoiled birds.) We made it through the afternoon and into the early evening. After closing the birds up for the evening, I emptied the waterers, as the directions state clearly to provide fresh mix daily, and then treated 3 gallons of water. This water was split between the two containers. The chickens hadn’t consumed much more than 2 gallons total, and in order to reduce waste I will be making less mix.
Day 3… 13 beautiful birds came pouring out of the coop this morning happily pecking away at fresh produce scraps as soon as they hit the run floor. Today being a training day for work, I managed to be home much earlier than normal. Guess what? 13 healthy looking chickens. I know it’s probably too early to tell for sure, but I think they will be fine. Completing this cycle of antibiotics will end simply and I can’t wait to start collecting eggs for breakfast again. They were also very excited to get let out into their big yard for some forage time.
I am definitely excited about my chickens acting normal. The added step of adding antibiotics to the water has not really added much work to my routine. I typically change the water for the birds in the evening after cooping them for the night, and they always get fed in the morning. Feeding in the morning has really reduced my observations of any scavenger animals such as possums, raccoons, or the odd field rat near the coop. Chickens at times can become a bit of work, but if you work out a system that reduces your chores, all is well.