Chickens are susceptible to diseases just like any other animals that people raise. Taking proper care of your chicken and keeping their chicken coop clean can be a lot of work. But if we don’t take proper care of them, don’t keep their coops clean and don’t protect them from predators, we can be in for more than we bargained for.
In order to keep your chickens disease free, here are some common chicken disease and treatment for each one of them.
Fleas, Ticks, Lice, & Mites
These kinds of parasites are common around chickens. Fleas & ticks can infest your chickens and they can be found crawling on them. The same goes for lice and mites, but these critters may be harder to see. They can cause skin irritation and itching. Be sure to inspect your chickens often. At the first sign of these parasites you should buy parasite drops or sprays from your local feed store and treat your chickens. By treating them early you can avoid a severe infestation.
Chickens can get these nasty little parasites which can cause more serious health conditions. Symptoms to look for include a pale comb (that ugly thing on their head), diarrhea, weight loss and even death. If you think your chickens have worms, take a sample of feces to your local vet and they should be able to determine what type of parasite it is and prescribe the right medication. In the meantime it would be a good idea not to eat any eggs from your chickens.
Marek’s disease is a very common viral disease that is very had to get rid of in chickens. It spreads from chicken to chicken and it can also be spread by you. Symptoms of this disease include weight loss, paralyzed legs, wings, or necks, respiratory problems and diarrhea. This disease affects the white blood cells which usually cause cancer. This disease is not curable and can only be prevented by vaccinations. When you buy your chicks be sure that they have been vaccinated.
Fowl Pox is another viral disease but not as bad. Chickens can pass their virus to each other by fighting or pecking insects off each other. When they bite or scratch each other it allows the virus to enter the chicken’s body. The disease begins to spread as soon as the wound forms a scab. Symptoms include “wart” looking lesions on the body where there are no feathers, skin may appear raw and may bleed, some respiratory problems including congestion, and egg production rate down. There is no treatment and chickens must be vaccinated. Once chickens get this disease and recover from it, they are immuned for life.
Prevention is the key to keeping healthy, happy chickens. Water dishes need to be kept clean every day. When feeding your chickens only leave feed out for a certain amount of time during the day. If you feed them table scraps, do not feed them any foods that are spoiled or contain mold. Maintain your coop on a regular basis giving it a thorough cleaning at least twice a year and maintain monthly. Spend time to get to know your chickens. Be aware of their behaviors, look at their poop, and their physical appearances. If you find a sick chicken, isolate it from the others.
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