Preventing Coccidiosis and Other Tips for Raising Chickens

Learn tips on using permanganate for preventing coccidiosis, getting grit for your birds, and hatching your own fertile eggs.
By Esther Shuttleworth
January/February 1971
Add to My MSN

Chickens need to have access to grit, as it is vital for chewing their food.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF


Content Tools

Related Content

Join Us for a Free Poultry Webinar

Sign up to attend a free poultry webinar on the topic of starting a backyard flock.

Shrimp and (Really Good) Grits with Greens Recipe

Recipe for Southern-style shrimp and grits, made with superb Floriani Red Flint grain corn.

What Vegetables Are the Best for Preventing Cancer?

Studies show that eating some vegetables may help prevent certain types of cancer. Find out which ar...

Hey Chickie, Wanna Buy Some Scratch?

Is there such thing as a poultry pop star? If so, then I think I am one.

As a follow-up to our article on getting started raising poultry, here are a few more tips for you chicken-loving homesteaders out there.

Preventing Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis doesn't have to be a problem for homesteaders who raise chickens. We used to buy .10 or .15 cents worth of permanganate of potash (the price is probably a bit more now for the same amount—2 tablespoonsful) and dissolve it in a pint jar of water. Permanganate of potash looks like freeze-dried coffee, only the crystals are dark purple. After it's dissolved, you add just enough of the pint mixture to the chickens' drinking water to turn it a faint lavender.

If you do this as soon as the chicks are hatched, they'll rarely get the disease because coccidiosis is actually a class of protozoan that live in a chicken's intestines as a parasite, and the permanganate knocks them for a loop. Of course, if you wait until the birds already have coccidiosis, you'll have to use a stronger mixture of the permanganate, and you may still lose a few chicks. It's better to use the potash as a means of preventing coccidiosis from the beginning. Any country drugstore should have it.

Got Grit?

Chickens need grit. It goes into their gizzard and is what they use for "chewing" their food. Some soils just do not contain enough fine gravel to supply this need (the chicks will even pick up broken bits of glass in such cases), and you may have to buy grit for your birds.

From the point when pullets are almost ready to lay, and on throughout their adult life, they need some ground oyster shell to eat. This replaces the calcium that is pulled out of their systems to "package" the eggs, keeps the hens healthier, and prevents soft-shelled eggs. Feed dealers have the material already crushed and bagged.

Hatching Chicks

There's no need to buy "store bought" chicks. You can hatch your own if you have fertile eggs. The average hen can cover 21 eggs, but she has to be set in a place where no one will disturb her. If you use your brooder house, you can set several hens in the same room provided each has her own box or nest. Sometimes, however, it's impossible to find a broody hen. If that's the case, you can scout around for one of the incubators that many old farmers have tucked away in the attic. We used to have one that held about 100 eggs.

Learn more in Raise Your Best Flock Using Broody Hens.

Accolades for Leghorns

One final point: Don't sell the large English Leghorn short. Folks used to let their Leghorns (the layin' hens) fend for themselves while feeding ground grain to some heavier breeds reserved for the table. Naturally, when the Leghorns finally went into the stew pot, they were tough. Properly fed plenty of corn, wheat and other grain, they're actually better eating than White Rocks and other heavyweights.

For that matter, we've had Big English Leghorn hens weigh as much as 6 pounds, and you'll find that you get more meat from a 3-pound Leghorn fryer than a heavy fryer of the same size because the Leghorn's bones are smaller.

For a real treat, start some Leghorn chicks in late February or early March. By late May or the first of June (maybe even sooner if you really pour on the feed), you'll have 1-1/2 to 2 pound broilers that are just right for individual servings: one chicken to each eager eater. Talk about tender and delicious!


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.