Boosting your birds’ immune system is key to raising a healthy flock of chickens, ducks, and turkeys and it must begin when they’re newly hatched, to help these fragile balls of fluff grow into strong, hearty, healthy poultry.
Coccidiosis, an intestinal disease caused by parasites, is the most common and deadliest threat to newly-hatched poultry, who are still developing their own immune system. The standard method has been to either vaccinate or provide medicated chick starter feed to fend off coccidiosis. But if you’re raising chickens organically or naturally, medication or antibiotics are not an option.
Healthy Mother Hen, Healthier Chick
Each chick receives antibodies from its mother hen through the egg in which it developed. That means the chick has antibodies against diseases the mother hen has been exposed to and, in some cases, vaccinated against. It also means a healthy, strong hen will hatch heartier chicks.
These antibodies from the mother hen are short-lived, however, and protect the chick with natural immune defenses only through the first few days of life. During this time, the chick is developing its own immune system. This is when the tiny chick is most vulnerable to coccidiosis.
Steps to Strengthen Chicks’ Immune System
You can help boost that fragile chick’s delicate immune system in several ways. Start them off with a highly-nutritional, quality feed, preferably one that contains essential oils, such as New Heritage Feed Co.’s Chick Starter. One university study concluded that herbal remedies, including rosemary, cloves, tea tree, sweet oranges, and thyme were able to destroy the parasites that cause coccidiosis – naturally and without medication. Essential oils, which are contained in New Heritage’s feed, also naturally boost chicks’ immune system and other functions of the body, allowing for a natural way for them to get and stay healthy.
- Keep your brooder clean and dry. Dampness is inviting to parasites.
- Replace bedding regularly so chicks don’t peck among their waste.
- Avoid over-crowding. Give your chicks room to spread out to keep parasites down to a normal level.