Paralysis, Lameness in Broiler Chickens, Causes, Prevention and Treatment.
Paralysis, lameness in broiler chickens, is more prevalent than you can imagine. My chickens can’t walk, they are lying flat, can’t reach their feed, their legs are twisted.
These are common phrases or comments you often hear from broiler farmers from time to time.
This condition can be very annoying and frustrating. Especially if you can’t figure out exactly what is responsible for the paralysis or lameness in your flock.
Paralysis or lameness in broiler chicken is one of the top welfare crises faced by many broiler farmers.
Despite improvements in genetics, health, and nutrition associated with broiler farming over the years.
Many chickens still end up with paralysis or lameness, while some are just partially paralyzed.
This condition should never be underestimated by any serious poultry farmer (especially those engaged in broiler farming business).
Once you treat it with levity you are risking the welfare and health of your chicken. As well as the product quality and profitability in the long run.
Paralysis and lameness are not uncommon among poultry farmers especially broiler farmers, a lot of factors are responsible.
The first thing to do is to understand the root cause of the condition. And the possible ways to reduce or stop the sufferings of the broiler chickens involved.
And restore them to good health, and also prevent feature occurrence of this condition.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF PARALYSIS, LAMENESS IN BROILER CHICKENS:
Genetic modification and selection
Over the past 40 years and above, broiler chickens have been subjected to intense genetic modification.
And selection thereby increasing their weight gain and growth rate by over 200% percent (weight gainsay from 25g to 100g per day).
There is a tremendous increase far more than what is obtainable in the time past. Thereby aggravating leg problems in some cases making their bone structure unable to supports their tremendous weight gain over a short period.
The Used of Certain Antibiotics Such As Enrofloxacin could result in Paralysis, Lameness in Broiler Chickens.
On some rapid growing, fast weight gaining birds such as broiler chicken, after using it for 3-5 days in drinking water. It was discovered that it is capable of causing Paralysis, Lameness in Broiler chickens and leg abnormalities.
Vitamin Deficiency could lead to paralysis, lameness in broiler.
Lack of essential vitamins such as vitamin E. can result in a condition known as crazy chick disease.
This occurs especially in young chicks causing them muscular weakness, lameness, paralysis, and eventual death. Of cause, if a chicken is paralyzed it can’t reach either its feed or water and as a result of the chicken eventually dies.
The Parent Stock
The health and wellbeing of the breeding stock or parent stock is very important to the baby chicks. Baby chicks developing in the egg depends on the wellness and nutrient supplied by the hen (parent stock).
If the parents stock is not well fed with a balanced diet rich in minerals. And nutrients may result in deficiency in certain minerals or nutrients in their feed. Resulting in leg abnormalities, paralysis, and lameness in broiler chicks.
Too many broilers in a small space will leave them scrambling for space, food, and water all day. Thereby causing great stress to them.
Crowding and staying where the feeder and drinkers are placed will always result in stress. Thereby causing hock disorder and intense stress and discomfort to their legs. These may lead to Paralysis, Lameness in Broiler in the broiler chicks.
Keeping eggs too long before Hatching
Eggs are not supposed to be held for too long before placing them in an incubating machine. The ideal time to store eggs is just 3-7 days.
Anything more than that will reduce the quality of the eggs. Making the eggs to depreciate and the eggs may not hatch well. When this occurs it may increase the number of Paralyzed, Lame and crippled in the Broiler chicks.
Viral Disease and Infection may lead to paralysis, lameness in broiler chicks
Some viral diseases and infections can lead to lameness and paralysis in broiler chicks. And the best way to stay away from this malady is to vaccinate them and follow a strict vaccination scheduled.
While eggs are placed in an incubator, you must make deliberate efforts to make sure you maintain and place them at the correct humidity level. Low humidity can cause the chicks to have a very hard time hatching.
Making them to stick to the shells, definitely, it will not augur well for the chicks. And it may result in leg problems to the chicks after hatching.
Watch out For Disease Like Botulism
Botulism can affect both broilers and layers of birds. And can cause lameness and paralysis in the broiler chicks.
It is caused by a certain toxin gotten from carcasses of death rotten animals, especially when birds peck and feed on them. It is an easier way of causing paralysis in birds.
Avoid feeding Your Broiler Chickens Just Scratch Grains
Feed them with a well-formulated manufactured feed with the right kind of minerals and nutrients in the right proportion. So that their growth will be even and their legs will not be starved of any minerals. And vitamins needed to support the bones.
Lack of Enough Calcium can cause paralysis, lameness in broiler chicks.
To support their bones might be responsible in some cases. It is therefore advisable to make sure their diets are made up of calcium, or calcium is always included in their diets. So that their bones can always be strong, healthy, and can support their shoulder and heavy body mass of the broiler chicken.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF PARALYSIS AND LAMENESS IN BROILERS CHICKEN
Use high-quality feeds
Efforts should be made in feeding your broiler chicken with high-quality broiler starter feeds. With the right kind of nutrients and minerals.
So that they can have a well-formed and developed skeletal system that can withstand a fast growth rate. And body mass that is normally associated with fast-growing chickens like the broiler.
Add calcium it will help in reducing paralysis and lameness in broiler chicks
There is always a need to add calcium or other vital minerals in some cases where nutrients are deficient. And elements in their feeds i.e for instances if there is no enough calcium in their feed. You can add calcium to it. It will improve the strength and quality of their bones.
Regulate their feeding
Research has shown that due to the large body mass of some broilers and the inability of their legs or bones to support their body mass. These can result in paralysis, lameness in broiler chicks.
It is advisable to reduce or slow their growth rate especially during the first few weeks of their lives. To allow for the bones to gain strength and be strong.
And then speeding it up once you observed the bones are strong enough and can carry the weight of the broiler chicken.
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Avoid using strong antibiotics without a proper diagnosis by a vet doctor
Studies have shown that using strong antibiotics such as enrofloxacin in the prevention, treatment, and cure of disease.
In some fast-growing chickens, particularly the broiler chickens after 3 to 5 days. Administering in drinking water, the broiler chicken will show signs of, or suffer from paralysis, lameness and leg abnormality.
Especially when it is administered in hot weather conditions. Administering a lot of multivitamins during hot weather conditions will help considerably in calming the birds. And reducing stressful conditions and in turn, improve their general well being.
Vitamin D will help in reducing paralysis and lameness in Broilers Chicks
Chickens with leg abnormalities, especially those reared in harsh environmental conditions, should be given dietary vitamin D.
They can starts showing signs of recovery from lameness immediately and eventually can be cured of it, lameness can be caused by skeletal lesions.
Vitamins D., when fed to broilers, is a very good tool in reducing lameness considerable in broilers.
Always give special treatment to broilers suffering from paralysis and lameness
If Paralysis, Lameness occurs in your flock, remove the affected broiler chicken to a separate coop. Ensure he is placed in a very good condition to relieve him of any stress and to allow for rest.
Lower their feeding trough and drinker so that they can reach their feed. and water with ease. If left together with other healthy flocks with no deformities they might die of taste and starvation.
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Provide them with a lot of fresh drinking water with minerals, electrolytes, and vitamins. It can restore them to normal health and improve their leg condition. And after several weeks of care, it is advisable to have the chickens humanely killed to end their sufferings.
Be sensitive and observant
Not to get your baby chicks from parent stock with genetic defects. Breeding chicks with genetic defects that have to do with leg abnormalities. Entails that you keep having chickens with leg abnormalities over and over again.
Experience has shown that stuffy and extreme heat is capable of causing paralysis and lameness in broiler chicks
Broilers should be well taken care of especially those reared in hot climatic conditions. Efforts should always be made to provide them with a well-ventilated shade that has provision for cross ventilation. So that fresh air can always circulate all the time.
Fan and air-conditioning can be provided so that the temperature can be regulated at all times. Intense heat has been found to contribute to leg deformities. Especially in the northern part of Nigeria. Cases have been reported of serious Paralysis, Lameness in Broiler chicks.
Get your birds from a reputable hatchery this will help in reducing paralysis and lameness in your broiler chicks
When ordering for your baby chicks especially fast-growing birds like a broiler chicken. care must be taken to get them from a reputable farm with very good track records of excellent broiler breeds and good parents stock.
Broilers purchased from such farms should have high quality and a good return on investments after the rearing periods.
Avoid botulism by all cost
Always watch out for decay, carcasses of dead chicks around the chicken coop to avoid infection from a condition known as botulism. Botulism is a disease characterized by paralysis and lameness of the neck and limbs. Quite several birds are affected by this disease.
Feed your broilers quality feed
Avoid cutting corners and feeding your baby chicks with just scratch grains. And other treats that lacks the basic nutritional requirements of a standards quality feed.
Proper nutrition and well-formulated feed will always prevent most leg disorders in poultry. Especially rapid growing birds like broiler chickens.
Always handle your baby chicks with care and tenderness
You should always be careful and observant. Each time you enter into their brooding house not to trample on them these may result in injury or death.
Injury might result in Paralysis, Lameness in your Broiler chicks. While the death of a baby chick that is not detected early might result in the condition mentioned above known as botulism. Which causes paralysis if other healthy chicken feed on the decay carcasses of the dead bird.
Those of us in the business of hatching eggs should avoid holding eggs for too long maximally for 7 days.
Anything more than seven days, it will reduce the hatchability of the eggs. And may result in hatching baby chicks that are crippled, and having weaker legs.
Keeping broiler chicken can be very interesting and rewarding if we stick by the rules and always follow a strict vaccination schedule.
Get your chicks from a good hatchery with good parent stocks i.e. the parent stocks should be properly vaccinated. And once the baby chicks are hatch they should also be vaccinated. To keep them free from viral diseases and other bacterial infections.
If the parent stocks are healthy they will lay healthy eggs for hatching. And the prevalence of some of the diseases that cause Paralysis, Lameness in Broiler chicks will be greatly reduced.
Taking time in sorting healthy chicks, while purchasing them as day-old chicks from day one. It will also help in reducing paralysis, lameness in broiler chicks.
Contacting your veterinary doctor for proper diagnoses is also very important, especially if you have tried all you could. And you are still not getting the right kind of result or no visible improvement in the health of your broiler chickens.
Lastly having the zeal to keep chickens. Passion and compassion towards your chicks will help them maintain good health conditions.
Avoid the use of antibiotics on fast-growing birds without proper prescription from a veterinary doctor. Must people a fund of using antibiotics indiscriminately. These may lead to other complications such as resistance to some diseases.
Giving them the right kind of feed at various stages of their lives and restoring them to health. whenever they are sick will help in ensuring standards and profitability.