Over the last few years we have been presented with an ever increasing number of poultry/chickens suffering from many and varied diseases and illnesses. Many of these chickens originate in gardens, backyards and allotments and are kept as pets or to supply the owner with enough eggs for their own consumption. We also are involved in disease treatments, control and prevention in larger commercial units were the producer retails eggs to the general public.
We may be presented with an individual ‘backyard’ chicken or a large group of bird suffering from illnesses and diseases such as coccidiosis, mycoplasmas, infectious bronchitis, scaly leg and red mite infestations.
What to look for in a sick chicken:
- Off food
- Feathers ruffled
- ‘Sleepy’ eyes
- Dimished or no eggs laid
Chickens suffer from a wide variety of respiratory diseases that are highly contagious and can spread rapidly through a flock with a devasting effect on productivity and profitability. Avian Bronchitis, Infectious Laryngo-tracheitis and Mycoplasmosis are commonly found in flocks ranging from a few dozen to many thousands of birds. Mycoplasmiosis is a condition we encounter in chickens, and also in turkeys being reared for the Christmas market. The clinical signs of this disease include sneezing, nasal discharge, foam in the eyes, difficulty breathing and a severe sinusitis resulting in swollen heads. Our farm animal vets can advise you on methods of control and treatment, including specific antibiotics that are extremely effective.
Bumble foot is another condition we frequently see, presenting as lame birds with significant swellings of the toes and foot joints. Again we can help out with the correct use of specific antibiotics given either by injection in the muscle or medication of the drinking water.
Parasitic worms are commonly encountered in chickens reared in free range systems that have high stocking density. The symptoms are usually similar to those described previously for a sick chicken, plus weight loss and diarrhoea. Medication of the drinking water or feed is the method of choice in treatment and prevention, along with changes to stocking ratios and cleanliness, Coccidiosis, caused by a small parasite affecting the gut, will present with similar symptoms plus blood stained diarrhoea. Treatment is based on several days of sulphonamide solutions mixed in drinking water. Control is based on regular cleansing and disinfection of chicken huts and drinking containers, along with strategic dosing with sulphonamides in the drinking water.
Here at Stanley House we endeavour to provide the best and most up to date disease treatment and control programmes in order to keep your chickens happy, productive and in good health.