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Animals can bring so much joy and entertainment to our lives. From chickens and guineas, all the way up to horses and bottle lambs, it’s hard not to love having animals around. Even though they bring us joy, there are bound to be some minor injuries along the way. That’s why I always keep a first aid kit handy, just in case! In this blog post, I’ll share with you some of my must-have animal first aid supplies for all species, as well as some specific supplies for birds that live on my homestead.
The Basics For Every Species
No matter what type of animal you have, there are certain items that should be kept in your first aid kit at all times.
- Vet Wrap - Not only is vet wrap incredibly versatile—it can be used for bandaging sprains or holding an ice pack in place—but it also stays put even when wet or dirty. This makes it perfect for animals who spend a lot of time outdoors or get muddy often. Or even the perfect band aid for yourself.
- Gauze Pads - These are essential for cleaning out any wounds that your animals may get. They’re also great for absorbing blood and other fluids from deeper cuts or scrapes so that you can properly assess the damage and treat accordingly.
- Diapers - Believe it or not, diapers are very useful in animal first aid kits! They make an excellent padding material when bandaging large areas (like a horse's leg) because they have soft material on both sides and are thick enough that they won't tear easily. Plus, they're absorbent so they'll help keep the wound area dry during treatment. They are perfect for keeping a foot clean in the case of a foot abscess too. For how to treat that, click here.
- Duck Tape – Honestly this is in the vet kit and tool box. In the first aid kit, duck tape is the top layer in an abscess boot, or the final rings on a leg wrap.
- Calendula Salve - This salve is amazing for treating minor cuts and scrapes on any species of animal. It has anti-inflammatory properties which will help reduce swelling and discomfort while promoting healing and tissue regeneration at the same time. I have used this on scrapes and gashes from untrimmed rooster spurs. Read how to make it here.
- Epson Salt - Epson salt is essential if your animals ever has an abscess. Typically, you dissolve the salt in warm water to make a soak solution.
- Clean Bucket – Having a clean bucket nearby helps you transport water or cleaning solutions easily while keeping your hands free during treatment of your animal’s injury. It also comes in handy if you need to soak any gauze pads before using them on a wound—just fill up the bucket with water, add whatever disinfectant you prefer, then drop the gauze pads into the solution until ready to use!
- Cotton Batting – Cotton batting is great for wrapping around sprains since it provides cushioning without being too tight against the skin which could cause further discomfort for your pet (or livestock). Also works well as stuffing inside bandages if needed!
- Clean Rags – These come in handy when wiping away dirt from wounds before applying topical treatments like calendula salve or iodine solution (which we'll talk about later). They can also be used to clean off tools/supplies between uses so that everything stays sanitary throughout treatment processes.
- Syringes – Can be used to deliver needed antibiotics, but most often I’m using them for drenching, or washing out wound areas to small for a hose.
- Iodine – This is specifically for disinfecting tools or cleaning out abscesses.
- Lavender and Copieba Essential Oil – I use these two with calendula salve, to speed healing and decrease the pain on open wounds.
For The Birds
If you have chickens, geese, turkeys or guineas in your flock then there are two additional products that I would highly recommend having on hand: Nutri-Drink and Hydro-Boost. Nutri-Drink is an electrolyte supplement that helps poultry stay hydrated in hot weather while Hydro-Boost provides essential vitamins and minerals necessary for proper nutrition. Both products can be added to water and they taste great so birds will drink them willingly! Any time a bird is injured or stressed (like newly shipped chicks), I add some to the water for the first day and help out.
Having the right supplies on hand when caring for injured animals can make all the difference between a successful recovery and an unsuccessful one. With this list of must-haves in mind, you will be well prepared if an injury occurs with any of your animals—especially birds! Gather up these items now so that they’re ready when needed; doing so will give you peace of mind knowing that if the worst happens you’ll have everything necessary to provide the best possible care to your beloved pets. Good luck!
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