Chicken Disease Questions

Chicken Disease Questions: For every part of their body, inside and out, many varieties of chicken disease are possible. From tiny single celled organisms, viruses, fungus and bacteria, to internal and external parasites; chicken disease is something we must watch for, educate ourselves and learn to prevent, treat and eradicate for the health of our flocks, especially when we rely on them to provide food for our families.

Some chicken disease is “host specific” and cannot be transmitted to humans and non-avian species. With the alarming reports of avian flu viruses, we know some diseases can affect us as we care for chickens or use their eggs or meat for food.  Not only can disease affect us but the medications used to treat diseases can make using food provided by chickens unhealthy.

We receive many chicken disease questions, sometimes in the middle of an emergency. The best prevention of disease is a clean environment, healthy foundation stock and plenty of balanced nutrition, including clean water. 

Good flock management would include the use of a quarantine area for new stock later to be added to the flock as well as any existing flock member showing signs of chicken disease.

A good quarantine area provides distance from existing flocks, comfort, warmth (ability to supplement heat with a heat lamp), and the means to prevent any avian species from coming in contact with contaminated droppings, body fluids and the breath of a diseased or possibly diseased chickens.

The answer to chicken disease questions often makes us look outside the flock. Some diseases and parasites are spread by wild bird populations in the area. It’s difficult to prevent contamination if wild birds bring problems to your property and flock. Quick identification of chicken disease is vital to take action and save lives.

Keeping products on hand for quick intervention at the first notice of chicken disease is important for the health of the flock and possibly ourselves.

Products to treat noticeable weakness in our chickens would include: vitamin/electrolyte powder, internal and external parasite treatments, and possibly a good broad spectrum antibiotic – capable of treating multiple symptoms.

Prior to experiencing chicken disease in your flock, finding a good poultry veterinarian in your area will give you the added support you may need to identify and treat chicken disease before it spreads.

An experienced poultry vet will be able to answer the tough chicken disease questions with the benefit of being able to examine and test some in your flock.

Large or small, maintaining a chicken flock cost time, energy and money to establish and maintain. Though often considered expensive, veterinary expertise may help save your investment while educating you on any specific problems in your area for the most common chicken diseases and how to treat.

Many poultry medications are available over the counter at your local feed store, but they can’t guarantee you are getting the right medication for the problem. Guessing the right medication can waste time, money, and cause the loss of chickens, possibly unnecessarily.

The answer to many chicken disease questions is that at the forefront of disease prevention is nutrition and a safe, warm, dry and clean environment.

Purchasing vaccinated chickens or vaccinating your flock against any local diseases may be necessary, especially if there are neighboring flocks near yours. Supplementing vitamins during times of extreme weather and other stressful conditions can prevent all kinds of problems. Molting, usually in the fall is a very stressful time. A chicken’s body, especially during the second year and all following years, goes through a heavy molt, often having to regrow most of its feathers in a few weeks.

This demands more protein, good fats, calcium and other minerals plus vitamins. Conditioning feeds, breeder feeds and grower feeds can help raise nutrients to help grow feathers faster. Whole seeds with good protein and fat, like black oil sunflower and safflower are excellent chicken food. Once they figure out what it is, they love it.

Chicken Nutrition

We can’t address chicken disease questions without going a bit deeper into chicken nutrition. Not all chicken feeds are the same. Some manufacturers rely on corn as the base.

Corn does provide good calories, but mostly in the form of starch, with few other nutrients. Corn has long been used to fatten up animals for market due to its sugary and starchy make up.

Most corn used in animal feeds is genetically modified. Some manufacturers use rendered animal fats to provide fat content to chicken feeds. Without preservatives this fat can become rancid and actually be a toxic addition to chicken diets. If you are eating meat or eggs from your chickens you are in this food chain.

Chickens that are allowed to free range, having access to natural grasses, seeds, bugs, get plenty of exercise as well as a more natural chicken diet added to feed. Fresh air and sunshine are important as well. If you have a question you would like answered click here or type your question below

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