Chicken Diseases

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If you have a pet chicken, or if you breed them, then this AnimalSake article will help you gain information on the different types of diseases that these birds are prone to.

Chickens are probably the least demanding and easygoing pets that you can ever have, no matter which breed they belong to. As long as you feed them properly and give them a hygienic space, they will not bother you at all. Unlike other pets who need constant care, attention, patting, and pampering, chickens would want you to leave them alone most of the time! They are prone to many health issues, which if left unnoticed, may lead to the death of the bird, along with spreading the infection to other poultry animals, as well.

Some Common Diseases

The table below will give you information about the different diseases that are commonly found in chickens, along with their respective causes and symptoms.

Disease Cause Symptoms
Aspergillosis Fungi infection
  • Breathing problem
  • Decrease in feed consumption
  • Paralysis
  • Skin color changes to bluish dark
Avian influenza or bird flu Virus infection
  • Lesser production of eggs
  • Respiratory distress
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark red/white spots on the legs and combs
  • Secretion of blood tinged discharge from nostrils
Fowl pox Virus infection
  • Lesions on un-feathered body areas
  • Retarded growth
  • Lesser production of eggs
  • Un-thriftiness
Marek’s disease Virus infection
  • Paralysis
  • Greenish diarrhea
  • Irregular pupil shape or blindness
  • Enlarged feather follicles
  • Lameness and paleness
  • Scaly combs
  • Difficulty breathing
Botulism Toxin
  • Paralysis
  • Limped neck
  • Feather follicles around the neck become loose
Salmonella Bacterial infection
  • Huddling
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Droopiness
  • Feces are chalk white in color
Newcastle disease Virus infection
  • Gasping
  • Watery discharge from the nostrils
  • Paralysis
  • Twisted neck
  • Swollen face
  • Trembling
Lymphoid leukosis Avian leukosis virus
  • Weakness
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Greenish diarrhea
  • Regression of the comb
Ulcerative enteritis Bacterial infection
  • Lesser feed consumption
  • Depression
  • Dullness in feathers
  • Watery droppings
Omphalitis Umbilical cord stump
  • Dehydration
  • Infection in the external navel
  • Peritoneal inflammation with foul odor
  • Skin edema on the ventral areas

Some other diseases are:

  • Infectious bronchitis
  • Infectious coryza
  • Infectious laryngotracheitis
  • Swollen head syndrome
  • Infectious bursal disease
  • Avian encephalomyelitis
  • Egg drop syndrome
  • Fowl cholera
  • Necrotic enteritis
  • Staphylococcus

Symptoms Indicating Your Chicken is Sick

A healthy bird would have clear eyes, shiny feathers, would eat properly, and would move around frequently. The comb would be healthy and the gait would be positioned upright and alert. Mentioned below are the symptoms you should be suspicious of.

  • Foul smell
  • Presence of mites and lice
  • Scaly legs
  • Lesions
  • Constant weight loss
  • Watery discharge from the nostrils
  • Watery droppings
  • Reduction in egg production
  • Paralysis
  • Breathing problems
  • Paleness and weakness
  • Sitting at a place and hardly moving around

Preventive Steps

Providing these pets with a healthy environment and taking care of the aforementioned points that are minor but important in nature, would help you in preventing most of these illnesses. Mentioned below are some steps that you can take for prevention.

  • Provide them with freshwater and grains on a regular basis.
  • Make sure that you give them a well-balanced diet.
  • Keep their coops clean and dry.
  • Make sure that they have enough space to move around.
  • The temperature at which the chicks are kept is also essential. It should not be less than 90°F for the young ones.
  • Be in touch with the local vet who is qualified for effective treatment, and make it a point to get your chickens checked once in a while, especially when you notice that they are acting unusual.

The aforementioned ailments can be taken care of and treated, if diagnosed at an early stage. It is also advisable to keep the sick birds away from the healthy ones as the disease may spread to the others, as well.

Disclaimer: This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert advice.

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