Regarding the health of a small flock - we feed
our kombucha mushrooms
and kefir grains to our birds which incorporate good bacteria into their systems. I also keep a bottle of apple cider
vinegar ACV with garlic cloves in it - I use one tablespoon of this in a gallon of water
and use this water for our chicks. Plus I give all the birds any extra whey, milk
I haven't ever used any wormer, mite or medication treatment and we have never had a sick bird in eight years. No feather loss, hen pecking, egg eating, nothing. I've keep some of the birds for up to 5 years before culling for sentimental reasons, but in a small urban flock you need a rotation plan - a two or three year plan works well. However, we haven't yet culled one of our ducks, they still lay as well as ever going on 5 years now. If it wasn't for the great composting
do for us I would have probably moved to ducks only a couple of years ago.
Two days ago we went to a small organic/natural chicken
farm and helped with the culling of 500 birds - 250 Cornish cross and 250 heritage breed. It was great, a lot like the video
of Joel Salatin
's operation for processing his birds.
I agree with Paul's video - housing is not so much important when keeping a small flock in an urban setting. A dry location, A clean location, A wind-free location. Plus fresh water and complete nutrition that includes a good oil source, protein source, mineral source and live-green source. Of course if you have extreme weather having a coop you can walk into will not only give your birds a shelter
but provide you some convenience and comfort doing your chicken
The truth is the more you confine/keep an animal the more work you make for yourself, and the more potential for disease due to bad bacteria overload in their environment. If you have to have housing start simple, figure out what's going to work best for you and your situation before you plan a lot and spend a lot. You'll be very glad you did in the end.