Feedback on Chicken Diseases, Rattlesnakes and Natural Hay Fever Remedies

Readers offer feedback on past MOTHER EARTH NEWS articles about chicken diseases, starting a local bike shop, dealing with rattlesnakes and treating hay fever.

| July/August 1974

  • Local Honey
    Eating local honey every day and chewing honey comb may help mitigate seasonal allergies and hay fever.

  • Local Honey

Feedback on Chicken Diseases and Treatments

Patricia Earnest's article about treatments for chicken diseases in the March/April 1974 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS is a disaster. One old-time remedy I'd advise for her: "An ounce of prevention ..."

[1] "Chickens still get sick," the author says, "sometimes with fairly lethal diseases ... "; "Vicious" is a better term for Newcastle disease, pullorum disease, infectious bronchitis, etc. There is no treatment for these conditions. Disinfect the premises with lye and start over with clean birds.

[2] "Roup is caused by cold, damp or drafty quarters ... "; Roup is caused by a protozoan (Trichomonas gallinae). Pigeons and wild birds pick it up and transmit it to chickens via contaminated water. To prevent it, keep such carriers away from your flock — or at least from their drinking water — and try a little Clorox in the liquid. Dimetridazole (0.05 percent) in the water will help prevent severe illness if the disease occurs.

[3] Gapeworms "lodge in the hen's throat" ... nuts! The larvae of the gapeworm live and mature in the lungs, trachea and bronchi, causing a severe pneumonia in young birds. Holding the chickens upside down by the legs is as ridiculous as holding a human pneumonia patient in a similar position.

Gapes is transmitted when birds eat the larvae or eggs of the pest, or when they eat earthworms, snails and slugs containing the larvae. Prevention consists of keeping the flock off freshly plowed ground where they will pick up many earthworms, and giving 0.1 percent thiabendazole in the feed for two weeks.

[4] In cases of scaly legs, "that old cure-all potassium permanganate" just turns the legs purple and is virtually worthless. The vaseline Ms. Earnest recommends is somewhat effective, since the disease is caused by a mite and the idea is to smother it with a fine oil. A better, more penetrating coating, however, is one part kerosene to two parts raw linseed oil.

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