As chicken lovers, we try our best to keep our chickens happy every day by offering some treats and toys, letting them free-range in the backyard, and enjoying the dust bath. Meanwhile, install an auto chicken coop door for your chickens to keep them safe and happy! However, as with other animals, poultry can get sick from various bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens even if you have some disease-resistant chicken breeds. To top it all off, we need to keep our chickens not only happy but also healthy! Today we will list some common diseases you may encounter in your flock.
1. Avian Influenza
Avian influenza is a highly contagious respiratory viral disease. It spreads directly from bird to bird. There is a higher risk of contracting this disease when chickens come in contact with wild waterfowl that are natural hosts for the AI virus.
If you notice some chicken disease symptoms like trouble walking, diarrhea, lack of appetite, egg laying reduction, discolored comb, or wattle, your chickens may develop Avian Influenza. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine, and the chickens infected will always be carriers. The best way to prevent this is through good sanitation and rigid biosecurity practices.
- Fowl pox
Fowl pox is a contagious viral disease characterized by nodular lesions on the unfeathered skin areas of the bird. Symptoms of fowl pox disease include lesions in the mouth, on the comb, wattles, or white spots on the skin. Sometimes they develop some lesions in their throat, which can cause difficulty breathing, even death.
There is no treatment for fowl pox. However, with adequate care, your birds can survive this illness. Vaccines are also available for fowlpox. It is spread by biting insects like mosquitoes and contacting infected lesions with open wounds. Insect control can help reduce outbreaks of fowlpox.
- Infectious Bronchitis
Infectious bronchitis is a rapidly spreading respiratory disease in the flock. Chickens infected by this virus will show signs like sneezing, snoring, coughing, a reduction or a cease in egg production, and nasal discharge.
It is transmitted through direct bird-to-bird contact or exposure to some contamination, like respiratory droplets and droppings from infected chickens. There are vaccines to help treat the disease. But the best way to prevent infectious bronchitis is through rigid sanitation practices and good ventilation in your coop.
Coccidiosis is one of the most common parasitic chicken diseases that can cause loose droppings, bloody or watery diarrhea, weight loss, and even death in your chicken. Chickens with pale combs or ruffled feathers may contract coccidiosis.
The disease spreads by contact with infected feces or ingestion of infected tissue. Keep in mind that adult birds may not show any symptoms, but they can still shed coccidia eggs in their feces, which can infect chicks around them.
Coccidia thrives in the moist, heavily soiled litter. So, keeping your coop clean and ventilated can help avoid the spread of coccidiosis. Cleaning the chicken feeders and waterers frequently also does the trick. Discouraging the chicks from pecking at any droppings is the key to preventing the chicks from contracting the disease.
We always want to ensure our poultry are safe, healthy, and happy for years to come. Therefore, not only should we know more about backyard chicken diseases in advance, but we also need to gear up for some chicken diseases we may encounter. Batten down the hatches.