Common Chicken Diseases

Common diseases affecting chickens

Newcastle disease is probably the most common of all chicken diseases and it is highly infectious and deadly. To keep the disease at bay, all newly hatched chicks should be vaccinated against this disease. It is worth noting that the disease has no cure. Prevention is the only option.

Coccidiosis is another common disease that mostly affects young chicks. The disease is highly contagious. The disease arises due to poor housing conditions, mainly due to excess moisture in the coop. The best way of preventing a coccidiosis epidemic is by keeping the chicken coop clean, dry and well ventilated. Incase of an outbreak, quarantine the sick hens and use drugs to contain the spread. Bloody chicken droppings are a good indication of this disease.

Mycoplasma infection is also one of the more common chicken diseases. The disease affects the respiratory system. The disease is characterized by foul odor emitted by the sick hens, coughing as well as sneezing.

Botulism is another disease caused by poor hygiene and poor housing conditions. Toxins produced by a bacteria known as Clostridium Botulinum cause the disease, this bacteria thrives under humid and hot conditions. To help protect your chickens from this disease, always keep the chicken coop dry and provide some form of cooling when the weather is too hot.

Caged layer fatigue is a common chicken disease that affects layers. The disease is caused by a lack of calcium. Symptoms include tiredness, weakness and inexplicable breakage of bones.
Scaly leg disease is also common. It is caused by parasites under the feet of the chickens. To tell if a chicken has scaly leg, check for scales that are rougher and harder than usual on the chicken legs.

Why Take Precautions?

Prevention is better than cure this is true when it comes to chicken diseases because the diseases spread very fast and some of the diseases such as Newcastle disease are untreatable.

Preventing diseases is also cheaper because you will not have to spend money on meds and vet charges.

You should vaccinate the chicks at birth since most farms selling them offer the service at subsidized rates.

Signs of a healthy bird

To prevent these diseases, you should be able to spot a healthy chicken from a sick one.

  • The comb should be the correct size and color,
  • The eyes should be bright and clear, the gait of the chicken should be upright and alert,
  • The feathers should be smooth and shiny and in the right place,
  • The tail should be in its proper place,
  • The legs should not be too scaly,
  • The droppings should be dark with a white tip,

More tips

Apart from the physical appearance, you can also tell healthy chickens from sick ones by considering their behavior. You should make sure the chicken is calm and contented, but not silent, it should feed and drink normally, it should not lay an egg if it is too young or too old, it should move around, it should dust bathe and sunbathe regularly and there should be mock fighting in the younger chicks among other considerations.