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While we always hope that none of our chickens will get sick or injured, sometimes luck isn’t with us and we need to provide some emergency first-aid. The following is my list of chicken first aid supplies that I keep on hand for such occasions. Many of these items are also useful for other fowl and livestock.
Chicken First Aid Kit List
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- Saline – a sterile salt/water mix for cleaning wounds and flushing eyes. You can make this yourself or buy it near the eye care section of a store.
- Neosporin or generic (with no painkillers) – a mild antibiotic to pack into wounds before bandaging. Make sure that whatever you get is painkiller-free as they can be detrimental to chickens.
- Vaseline or generic – good for treating leg mites and irritated skin.
- Epsom Salts – mix into warm water to soak a chicken that is eggbound or has bumblefoot.
- Sugar – sprinkled onto draining wounds to dry up fluid and kill bacteria. I initially learned of using sugar from a veterinarian treating a severely injured horse.
- Flour – great for drying up blood if you accidentally nick the quick when trimming nails.
- Isopropyl Alcohol or Hydrogen Peroxide- use this to clean your first aid tools, work surface, and around the area you are working on.
- Gauze – for bandaging.
- Athletic wrap (vet wrap) – for keeping the gauze on.
- Sharp Knife/Scalpel – a very sharp knife or scalpel is essential for minor surgeries like bumblefoot.
- Pruners/Garden Nippers – used to trim nails and occasionally beaks.
- Scissors – to cut bandaging materials.
- Gloves – bumblefoot is typically caused by Staph bacteria which you should protect yourself from AND in case you need to check a hen’s vent.
- Red Cell – a vitamin and mineral supplement intended for horses. Added to poultry waterers at 1 tsp/gallon 1x weekly (up to 3x weekly). Also given to juveniles and chicks who have finished treatment with Corid.
- Blu or Red Kote – a scarlet oil based wound treatment. Spray around minor wounds to clean and promote healing. Use Blu Kote if the chicken will remain with the flock (red encourages picking). I personally have Red Kote – injured birds are put into my “chicken hospital”.
- Betadine – another option for wound treatment.
- Corid (amprolium) – most common treatment for coccidiosis. Amprolium is a vitamin B inhibitor, not an antibiotic.
- Elector PSP – an expensive but amazing option for treating external parasites in chickens.
- Assorted Syringes & Droppers for measuring and dispensing medication.
- Bath Towels & Rags – for drying wet chickens, covering heads, and wrapping into “chicken burritos” before treatment.
- A “chicken hospital” – an area set aside to house a sick or injured chicken where it can’t be bothered by the rest of the flock. I use a large dog crate.