If you are in any doubt about your chickens’ welfare or health, always call in a vet. Remember, one sick bird can contaminate a whole flock in a matter of hours.
Your chicken’s eyes should be bright, clear and with that slightly naughty glint that means they are full of vitality.
Just like humans, chickens catch colds, so nostrils should be clear of discharge. Also check for beak deformaties.
One of the surest signs that a chicken is unwell is that they lose feather condition. Plumage should be clean, sleek and well-groomed (by the chicken). HOWEVER, chickens do moult, and during their moult they look very tatty indeed.
When checking your chicken, you need to pick it up and gently pull the feathers back to reveal the roots, where parasite can lurk. Check under the wing too.
Yes, this is the chicken’s bottom. It should be clean, free of dirt and parasites, slightly moist, but not giving any discharge. Droppings should be firm and grayish-brown, with a white cap. Don’t be squeamish about this process; you can tell a lot about a chicken’s health from its vent.
Chicken’s legs are naturally scaly, but should be smooth and blemish-free. Rough scales may indicate parasites.
Your chicken’s comb should have good, strong colour and be free of scabs. Your chicken’s comb is susceptible to frostbite, so apply a layer of Vasoline to protect them on cold night.