Understanding the Causes of Poultry Diseases and What to Do If Your Chickens Are Sick
Understanding the causes of poultry diseases and how to effectively combat them is a major key factor in any poultry farming venture.
Poultry diseases and the resulting deaths that may occur is one of the major sources of discouragement in the poultry industry.
It is the wish of every poultry farmer to have or keep his flock healthy and disease-free throughout the entire rearing period.
Is it possible to have or keep healthy birds all through the rearing periods? The answer is a Yes or No answer. But what if they fall sick what do you do.
Do you just fold your hands and watch them die one after the other, of course, no.
You have to take a decisive step in understanding the cause of the poultry disease, in order to save them at the same time restore them to normal health, and avoid further economic loss.
Just like humans we often try our best to stay healthy, live a healthy lifestyle, avoiding some harmful or bad habits just to stay healthy. But somehow we still go down with one form of illness or the other.
Chickens can be infected with all forms of poultry diseases from different sources we list expect.
Understanding the causes of poultry diseases
Understanding the causes of poultry disease, their sources, and knowing how to tackle them will help us a great deal in restoring them to good health. And also in avoiding future occurrences.
So many farmers especially poultry farmers will always say that they practice bio-security, and are always using disinfectants at all times or that they don’t use antibiotics in their farms, all these rules are very good and work perfectly well.
What if you have observed all the bio-security rules and regulations on your farm? And yet your birds are sick or you don’t want to use antibiotics on your farm, probably you want to go organic.
Unfortunately, your birds suddenly become sick, because the possibility of your birds becoming sick does exist.
What do you do? Do you just fold your arms and watch them die, of course, no, you may have no options than to use antibiotics to end their suffering. And to restore them back to their normal health.
Especially if it is a bacterial infection or other poultry diseases other than viral infections.
This article will help you understand fully the causes of poultry diseases. And how diseases get into your farm even when you try your very best to stay away from diseases.
And how best to treat your chicken, and how to restore them back to normal good health.
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Understanding the Causes of Poultry Diseases, And Ways Your Chicken Get Sick
There are quite a number of ways your chicken can get sick or infected with poultry diseases and eventually die from their sickness if proper care is not taken.
From vectors and other sources
Most poultry farms especially in Africa are constructed with big and wide-open windows to aid ventilation.
And allow for the free flow of fresh air and also to cushion the effect of extreme heat.
As a result mosquitoes and other harmful vectors will gain access into the chicken coop therefore causing harm to the chicken.
For instance, the mosquito has been known to cause poultry disease to chickens. They have been known to cause fowl pox poultry disease.
Though with less mortality rate, fowlpox poultry disease has been known to weaken the immune system of poultry birds.
Thereby giving rise to other opportunistic or secondary infections to your birds. These may cause other poultry diseases leading to the eventual death of your birds.
The best way to curb this disease is to vaccinate your poultry birds, as from 3 weeks old depending on the species of the bird, and how endemic the poultry disease (fowlpox) is in your region.
Visiting other poultry farms
Unfortunately and unknowingly to a lot of poultry farmers visiting other poultry farms is a major source and causes of poultry disease.
When you visit other poultry farms, especially if there is a poultry disease outbreak or widespread infection in the farm you visited.
The possibility that you can carry along with you some germs, bacterial on your shoes, clothes back to your farm is very high.
Thereby infecting or spreading the poultry disease on your farm. The best thing to do is to only visit other farms when it is absolutely necessary with serious precautionary measures taken.
It is also very important to practice biosecurity measures thoroughly each time you come back from a different farm other than your farm.
Try as much as possible to disinfect your apron or farm clothes with a good disinfectant, disinfect your shoes or boot very well so as to avoid infecting your flocks.
Vertical Transmission of Poultry Diseases
There are many bacterial and viral diseases that can be transmitted from parents to their offspring that is baby chicks.
Poultry diseases such as salmonella, mycoplasma, etc. can be transferred from parents to their offspring.
This is the more reason why it is very important, you buy or order for your day-old chicks from a very reputable and good hatchery.
And from farms that practice extensive and good bio-security measures adhering to all safety measures in order to produce healthy chicks.
If you get it wrong from the onset you may likely have problems throughout the rearing period.
So please make sure your chicks are well vaccinated against most of the major poultry diseases such as Marek’s, Newcastle infectious bursal disease, fowl typhoid, etc.
And the rest of poultry diseases that may pose serious economic loss to your farm along the line.
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Lack of Proper Quarantining Is a Major Causes of Poultry Diseases
In the first place, it is not ideal to introduce a new chicken you just bought from the farmers market or from a nearby farm into your flock.
You might be inviting trouble to your existing flock because you don’t know the history of that particular chicken, whether they have been vaccinated against the major poultry disease that is endemic in your area.
Your farm stands the risks of getting infected with both viral and bacterial poultry disease.
As a poultry farmer, you have to look into these major causes of poultry disease, the best thing to do is never introduce a different bird into your flock without proper quarantine.
If you must introduce a new chicken make sure it is quarantined for some time and it is certified healthy by a qualified veterinary doctor, and that you really know the vaccination history of that particular bird.
How Do You Identify a Sick Bird?
As a good farmer close monitoring and observation of your flock should be your watchword.
It will help you detect when there is a problem in most cases it is already too late before some farmers get to understand that their birds are sick.
The following points will help you detect if your birds are sick:
- Inactivity: Chickens have excellent hearing ability small noise will make your birds reacts. So when you shout or hit something a normal healthy chicken will fright or try to run for cover. But when you make noise, and your chicken still remains where it is motionless. Then there is a problem, lethargy, inactivity, moodiness, depression is an indication of sickness or disease in your flock.
- Check the color of their comb or wattles: Healthy chickens will always have bright red comb and wattles, pale or dull red might be an indication that your chicken is sick and not feeling too well.
- Loss of appetite and reduction in water intake: For instance, if you have about 100 chicken. And they are used to consuming 5kg of feed in a single day, and suddenly you notice they cannot even consume 2kg in a single day or the quantity of water they are used to consume they cannot consume it as usual. This is a serious indication that your chicken is sick and needs urgent attention.
- Abnormal droppings: White like chalky droppings, green or red droppings might be an indication of the presence of certain viral, bacterial, fungal, or protozoa infections such as coccidiosis. the symptoms of coccidiosis are bloody dropping, Newcastle might be green water droppings.
- Other behaviors that may help you understand if your birds are sick are: cloudy not too bright eyes, watery nostrils and swollen eyes, ruffle feathers are all indications that your birds might be sick. The bottom line is that just be observant and look out for strange behavior from your chickens so that you can take immediate action and restore your chickens to normal health.
How to Restore Your Birds to Normal Health
Administering of vaccination: The best form of defense they say is an attack to save your flock, and yourself a whole lot of trouble the best thing to do is to have a comprehensive vaccination schedule. And follow it strictly depending on the type of birds or species of birds you keep.
Diseases such as Marek’s, Newcastle, Infectious bursal diseases, IBD, Fowlpox are all viral infections that require vaccination. Due to the fact that they don’t have a cure can only be treated in case of any secondary or opportunistic infection.
- The use of antibiotics: I hear a lot of farmers say they don’t use antibiotics they prefer to go organics. They use one form of herbal combination or the other, this and that.
But to be honest, if your birds are sick or down with a bacterial infection such as E Coli, salmonella, cholera, or are suffering from coccidiosis will you fold your arms, and watch them die one after the other of course no you have to do something.
Consult with your veterinary doctor for proper treatment and subsequent cure with the use of antibiotics prescribed by the qualified doctor.
Avoid at all costs indiscriminate use of antibiotics but always consult with a veterinarian in order to avoid further loss or death of your chickens. Proper prescription and dosage will always help you save your birds.
- Balanced feed: In order to keep your chickens healthy and maintain the proper health of your birds and ensure even growth. Do not cut corners cutting corners will only and always bring you loss and disappointment.
Please give them all the nutritional, mineral, and vitamin requirements needed in their feed and water this will go a long way in keeping them healthy. And also help them fight diseases.
Given the right amount and adequate quantity of feed to your chicken will help you avoid hunger and malnutrition which will definitely discourage disease and ill health amongst your flock.
Preventing and understanding the causes of poultry disease and following a strict vaccination schedule will always help in keeping your chicken healthy at the same time helping you to make the desired profit on your farm.
Make friends with veterinary doctors, and also with experience or old farmers so that you can tap into their wealth of wisdom and experience.
This will help greatly in preventing further loss or death of your poultry birds.