Pharmacy essentials


Pharmacy essentials So useful!

In order to be well prepared for any eventuality, having a pharmacy with various products for chickens will be very useful if one of your chickens should become ill.

Bleach Solution Recipe
To disinfect accessories, soak them for 10 to 15 minutes in a mixture of 60 mL (¼ cup) bleach and 3.7 L (1 gal) water. To spray surfaces, mix 15 mL (1 tbsp) of bleach in 3.7 L (1 gal) of water.

This is the step that removes pathogens. However, it is not instantaneous and a minimum contact time of 10 minutes should be allowed. If you use a chemical disinfectant, it is best to read the label carefully to ensure proper use. You could also disinfect surfaces and accessories by a physical and natural method: exposure to the sun’s UV rays. When disinfecting, surfaces and accessories should be thoroughly sprayed and small items should be soaked in a tub of water and disinfectant.

Then comes the drying stage. It is very important that the surfaces and accessories are completely dry before reintroducing your chickens to the coop, as the chemicals used could be toxic to your chickens, and humidity is also a problem. After cleaning, wash your clothes, coats, boots, shoes, etc. thoroughly.

NOTE: Vinegar is not a disinfectant

Dakin Solution
An inexpensive, do-it-yourself disinfectant solution for cleaning wounds and preventing the growth of bacteria can be made at home: Dakin solution. 1] This high pH antiseptic solution is easy to make. Here’s the recipe: mix 5 ml of 4% bleach in 750 ml of boiling water (1 tsp. in 3 cups of water). If you are using 6% bleach, dilute the same amount in 1.25 L of water (1 tsp. in 5 cups of water). Some people add 5 mL of baking soda. The solution should be used up quickly and the excess discarded.

It is also possible to make a chlorine-free solution using 0.05% (1:2000) chlorhexidine, often sold as Hibitane 20%. You will need to mix 2.5 ml of this product in 1 L of water (1/2 tsp. in four cups of water). This product is more expensive but very effective and does not discolor fabrics. Unused portions should also be discarded.

Diane St-Cyr, “Dakin Solution: a use based on both a century-old tradition and evidence,” Nursing Perspectives, July-August 2010, p. 33, <>.

Recipe for homemade electrolyte

Mix the following ingredients in 4 L of cold water and serve the drink to your chickens during hot weather:

5 mL (1 tsp.) baking soda
1.25 mL (1/4 tsp) potassium chlorite, also known as salt substitute or Morton’s salt (optional)
15 mL (1 tbsp) salt
15 mL (1 tbsp) sugar

Basic material to have 

Transportation cage
Scale to weigh your hens
Thermometer dedicated to hens to take the internal temperature
Mini chicken coop or dog cage for isolation
Frontal flashlight
Magnifying glass to better see parasites
Colloidal silver
Paper towels
Towels and plastic tablecloths
Old, wide socks to pull over the head
Hot water bottle or electric heating pad
Large scissors
Old toothbrushes
Cotton balls and cotton swabs
Disinfecting wet wipes

Spray for disinfecting visitors’ shoes
Bleach for disinfection solution used for several purposes
Graduated syringe in ml for administering medication
Disposable surgical gloves
Cat litter scoops
Mini hand brush
Medium-sized brushes for applying creams and lotions
Boiler or container for bathing chickens
Natural soap, cubed Marseille soap or black soap (or any other pet soap)
Baking soda
Pipe cleaner stem to use as a sling


Pharmaceutical products

Surface disinfectant
Antibiotic ointment (Polysporin)
Antiseptic ointment (Bag Balm)
Mineral oil
Self-adhesive bandage (Vet Wrap)
Baby Aspirin 81 mg* Antibacterial Solution
Dexidin 4 antibacterial solution for cleaning and disinfecting a wound
Petroleum jelly in a tube (Vaseline)
Precipitated sulphur-based ointment for paw scabies
Rubbing alcohol
Epsom salts to treat pododermatitis or soaks
Sterile eye drops or saline water

Electrolytes for hens
Sulphur powder for leg scabies and sand baths
Essential oils
Green or white clay for diarrhea
Vet Rx (multipurpose oil with camphor, menthol, oregano and rosemary)
Pick-No-More Lotion
Diatomaceous earth for food
Amprol for coccidiosis (prescribed by a vet)
Parasite powder (prescribed by a vet)
Dewormer (prescribed by a vet)

When you keep chickens, it is very likely that you will need to consult a veterinarian from time to time about their health. It will be important to visit a veterinarian who is knowledgeable in diagnosing, treating and prescribing antibiotics and antiparasitics for your chickens. A list of veterinarians specialized in backyard poultry is available on the EQCMA website


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Mylène Ferron
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