Chicken Diseases – The Most Common Ones Explained
Raising and caring for chickens is a challenge, especially if they contract one of the most common chicken diseases. Know what to look for. Here are five common diseases, along with their symptoms and suggested treatments.
- 1 Fowl Pox
- 2 Respiratory Diseases
- 3 Infectious Bronchitis
- 4 External Parasites
- 5 Internal Parasites
- 6 Chicken Disease Prevention
You may know this disease as “chicken pox,” but it is very different from the human disease when it affects your chickens. This disease is viral. It is spread by mosquitoes and can pass from chicken to chicken.
Fowl Pox – Symptoms
- Warty bumps appear on the legs or face.
- Lesions may form in the air passages or mouth.
- Both symptoms can appear, or each symptom can appear alone.
Fowl Pox — Treatments
- This disease is triggered by a virus, so treatment is not possible.
- Quarantine your birds to prevent the spread of the illness.
Chickens are susceptible to a lot of conditions that can affect respiration.
Respiratory Diseases – Symptoms
- Runny eyes
Respiratory Diseases – Treatments
If you find that your chickens are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a veterinarian to find out what disease is specifically to blame. For example, avian flu can cause respiratory symptoms, but many different viral diseases can as well.
If it is viral, there will be no treatment, and quarantine is probably the only way to prevent the spread of the illness. Keep your ailing chickens warm and comfortable and avoid drafts.
While infectious bronchitis is a respiratory illness, it has other symptoms in addition to the ones listed for respiratory illnesses. It is also highly contagious, so recognizing the symptoms quickly and treating early are very important.
Infectious Bronchitis – Symptoms
- Runny eyes
- Difficulty breathing, especially at night
- Eating and drinking less
- Significant drop in egg production
- Eggs with rough shells and watery whites
Infectious Bronchitis – Treatments
Because this is a viral illness, no treatment is available. Quarantine your birds to prevent the spread of illness from one to another. Avoid drafts and keep your ailing chickens comfortable and warm.
External parasites that can affect your chickens include fleas, mites, lice, mosquitoes, and ticks. They will inhabit your chickens’ feathers and suck your chickens’ blood. These parasites can also affect household pets and any other animals that may be present, including humans like you and your family.
External Parasites – Symptoms
- Reduction in egg production
- Pale wattles and combs
- Feather loss, especially in the back, from over-preening
External Parasites – Treatments
It’s advisable to look for fleas, lice and mites all over the head (Have a close look near the eyes and comb.). These pests can be carried in by wild birds. Pesticide dusting is the only option. A non-chemical solution is diatomaceous earth.
Although internal parasites are not so widespread, younger birds with more immature immune systems are highly susceptible to contracting internal parasites from older birds who are carriers. Worms are common and typically do not cause serious issues in birds, but coccidiosis can be fatal.
Internal Parasites – Symptoms
- Weight loss
Internal Parasites – Treatments
In case you observe symptoms, consult a veterinarian right away. Take a sample of your birds’ fecal matter in for examination. Treatment by a veterinarian is the only option after your birds have contracted the internal parasites.
However, the following prevention methods can help ensure that your birds are not exposed to this type of illness:
- Clean the coop thoroughly and often.
- Purchase vaccinated chicks.
- Keep the chickens you’ve purchased last quarantined from the rest of the flock until you are certain they are disease-free.
Chicken Disease Prevention
Therefore, before beginning your chicken coop project always remember that the most important part of keeping your chickens healthy is disease prevention.
It is a fact that quite a few of the diseases which can affect your chickens can successfully be avoided by building a chicken coop which has been designed properly.
Choose a design which guarantees that your coop is well ventilated and easy to clean.
Furthermore, make sure your coop is spacious enough for the birds to roam freely around when they are inside (at least 4² feet per bird), and if your birds would remain in the coop all throughout you need to plan a dust bath for your feathered friends as well.
Also ensure that there is sufficient spacing available between the roosting poles, so they do not crowd out one another.