Many people all over the world invest in poultry production hoping to earn some good return out of it. During the first few months everything goes well until a chicken disease outbreak hits the poultry farm and ends up killing the chicken and reducing production. Most chicken diseases are introduced to a chicken flock by one way or the other and goes unnoticed. These ways include; keeping a new chicken with the others, pests, disease from equipments, vermin and others. The best way to get the most of of chicken is by keeping them healthy. It is always best to prevent chicken diseases than to treat them.
Types of chicken diseases
It is important for every farm owner keeping chicken to be aware of the different chicken diseases that are likely to affect the chicken. Below are the major types of chicken diseases.
- Pecking and cannibalism: It is characterized by continuous toe picking, pecking at growing chick's feathers and vent pecking in older chicken. It can be prevented by separating the chicken in terms of breeds, age, size and health status. Its treatment is to clip the beaks of the affected chicken.
- Rickets: It is a nutritional deficiency characterized by rubbery bones that cannot support their weight. In some severe cases, chicks are unable to walk and die of suffocation since their bones cannot support muscle movement required for breathing. In some cases chick's have a stiff gait, decreased growth and bone deformities. Treated by change of feed, supplementing the diet with oyster shell or free choice limestone, vitamin D3 and exposure to sunlight.
- Lice infestation: Chicken scratch and peck themselves frequently. Feathers look dry and ruffed, chicken loss weight and reduce egg production. Lice can be spread from one chicken to the other. Use insecticides to get rid of lice.
- Mycoplasmosis: Characterized by dirty nostrils, coughing, watery eyes and sneezing. There is slow development and decreased egg production. With time, infection causes cheesy material accumulation at the eyelids, outward swelling and sinuses. Best treatment is to reduce dust and clean the coop accompanied by antibiotics and proper diet.
- Ascaridiasis: Characterized by diarrhea and weight loss. In severe cases, it can cause intestinal blockage. It is contagious when the round worm egg passes through the feces as the roundworm eggs remain on the soil till ingestion by other chicken. It is treated with piperazine in drinking water.
How to prevent chicken diseases
Observe chicken behavior:
Observing your chicken health and behavior daily will help notice any changes in appearance and behavior. This way, you are able to treat the chicken diseases before they become severe.
Keeping the coop clean:
Proper management and sanitation practices are among the main causes of chicken diseases. Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the chicken tools and facilities minimizes the chances of chicken diseases affecting your chicken.
It is important for large flock owners to vaccinate their chicken as as preventive measure. Vaccination should be backed up by avoiding overcrowding and keeping the chicks separately from the adult birds.
Provide your chicken with a balanced diet and in sufficient quantities. Provide clean water that should be in clean drinkers all the time. Dirty drinkers contain salmonellae and E. coli bacterias.
Tips and comments
- Before bringing in a new flock.
- Wash the house thoroughly with clean water.
- Disinfect the house.
- Remove all the drinkers, feeders and litter and replace with new ones.
The best way to strengthen chicken immune is by minimizing stressful conditions by providing enough breathing space and keeping the room temperature moderate. This way, there will be little or no cases of chicken diseases.