Feeding Sick Chickens – The Ricketts Diet

As chickens can hide their illnesses very effectively until quite late in the development in any infections/viruses etc is it very important to act quickly to assist your Feathered Family Member to get better.

The first thing you need to do is isolate your sick chicken into a restricted, warm area. This is important to reduce the chance of anything infectious spreading to the rest of your otherwise healthy flock. For the individual sick chicken though, they use approx. 70% of their enery to stay warm so if they are unwell they need assistance to retain a reasonable body temperature so their energy can be redirected into getting better. 

The fastest and most efficient way to provide sick chickens (and maintain health in your flock everyday) is by adding commercially produced, tested supplements to their diet for a short period of time until the health issues are addressed. Suburban Chooks Healthy Chook Spice Mix and Suburban Chooks Respiratory Support Spice Mix are produced by us to be added to food as a tonic and has multiple health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, providing an immune boost, respiratory, antiviral and kidney health support, internal parasite control, assisting in feather regrowth in moulting chickens and stronger egg shells.

Also readily available in our online shop is Solvita Plus Trace Elements, which is a highly concentrated, high quality, broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement. Simply dilute this product as per directions and spray directly onto pellets. It is a bright yellow colour and is easily identifiable regarding where it has been sprayed.

Another fast option that is more of a home remedy is known as the ‘Rickets Diet’ and can be easily made from existing ingredients in your fridge and pantry, or easily bought from your local supermarket. The following information about the ‘Ricket’s Diet’ was sourced from the Backyard Poultry Forum

“It (the Ricket’s diet) is designed to give a sick bird vitamins, minerals and energy very quickly. It is high in protein and can be fed to a sick bird as a tonic. You can replace/substitute ingredients with others with similar nutrients. It is just a guide. It was initially meant for birds that have developed rickets as a result of deficienceis, but it is also very helpful for most sick birds, particularly those that haven’t been eating well.

A sick bird can often be helped by the Rickets diet. Feed the birds once a day for three days or until you feel the bird is looking and acting better – usually 3 weeks.

This amount feeds one bird. Each serving consists of:

– 1/2 to 1 cooked egg yolk (crumbled into mixture)
– 1 teaspoon cod liver oil
– 1 very small drizzle of honey
– 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt (no sugar)
– 2 to 4 tablespoons rolled oats or Baby rice
– 1 dessert spoon of beef tin cat food (not dog food)
– 1 few grains of multi vitamin powder
– 2 tablespoons of grated apple

Mix to make a crumble mixture, not runny. If you have to roll into pellets and force feed, and then gently massage the neck in a downward motion to get it down into the crop then do it. The bird may be too weak to eat or have lost the desire to eat…

Always have fresh clean water available at all times for the birkd and good quality food (we prefer Laucke Showbird MP).

Feed the Rickets diet in the morning. Also have their normal feed and fresh clean water available at all times. If the Rickets Diet has not been fully eaten within 12 hours, it then needs to be thrown out and a fresh batch needs to be made the next morning. Don’t add to it, as some of the ingredients are prone to spoiling which can cause further problems. Also clean out the dish is was served in that morning before feeding the new/fresh mixture.”

Providing a garlic water mix can also assist sick chickens. For more information, see ‘The Benefits of Garlic’.

Good luck Chook Lovers.

Common Chicken Illnesses
Common Lice and Mites of Poultry - Identification and Treatment