Mites and Lice on Chickens
This is one of those stories that makes your skin crawl as you write it. Looking at the pictures of infested birds didn’t help.
Mites are small insects that live in a coop and come out to feed on chickens, lice generally live on the chicken and feed on feathers, skin, or blood.
Pox is a viral disease recognized by skin lesions on the inside of the throat and nasal cavities of chickens, turkeys, pigeons and canaries. It is highly contagious and the mortality rate will be zero to fifty percent. Of the two types, dry and wet pox, wet pox by far has the highest mortality rate.
Botulism is a toxin produced by a bacteria present in rotting carcasses or rotting plant material. It causes paralysis gradually until the heart and lungs stop. It can be treated with an anti-toxin but prevention is best by picking up dead birds and making sure that poisoned rats are picked up.
It is bacterial, Pasteurella multocida, highly contagious, and will affect chickens, turkeys, and water fowl. The incubation rate is around five to eight days. Mortality rate can be as high as 100%. The disease is spread through nasal contact, feces, contaminated soil, equipment, or people.
Infectious Coryza is a really, really, bad cold that chickens, pheasants, and guineas can catch. It is an upper respiratory infection with lots snot and mucus. Caused by the bacteria Haemophilus paragallinarum, it occurs mostly in flocks that tend to be self perpetuating rather than commercial flocks where the entire flock periodically are replaced. Surviving birds remain carriers for life.
Thrush or Moniliasis
Thrush is a fungal yeast infection of chickens that leaves a white plaque in their mouth, throat, and around the vent. Mostly caused by stressed chickens losing their immunity to the always present fungus. Dirty waterers and dirty feeders can spread the fungus but a healthy bird can be a carrier without having the symptoms or disease until the bird is worn down or stressed.
Mareks disease is a Herpes virus infection of chickens and turkeys that live with chickens. The eighties and nineties brought some highly virulent strains to the U.S. and Europe.
Symptoms are neurological problems such as floppy necks, transient paralysis, long standing paralysis of the legs or wings, eye lesions, tumors in the hear, ovaries, testes, muscles, lungs, and feather follicles.
Probably the most common of all the respiratory diseases, bronchitis virulence will depend upon the ate of the bird, prior vaccinations or maternal immunity in young birds, the strain of the bronchitis, and any byproduct infections such as mycoplasma, E. coli, or Newcastle disease. Biosecurity including preventing wild birds and rats from bring in disease is crucial in preventing the disease.
Salmonella Pullorum, Pullorum Disease, ‘Bacillary White Diarrhea
This is a bacteria caused disease that can’t be eradicated once it gets established in your flock as the bacteria can be passed through the egg to the next generation.
Mortality is high in this disease and while there is a vaccination it isn’t recommended as you are spreading the bacteria to future generations of birds so culling is best..
Mushy Chick or Yolk Sac Disease or Omphalitis
Caused by a bacterial infection of the naval in chicks. Chicks appear listless and have low energy. Caused by poor hygiene and poor housekeeping resulting in contaminated eggs that cause the egg yolk to become contaminated with bacteria that is passed on to the chick. Culling is the preferred method of dealing with the disease as little is invested in the bird at its early age.
A virus infection that manifests itself as a respiratory condition. Infected birds will infect others through their breath, nasal discharges, and feces. Infected birds using feeders and waterers spread the disease. Mortality depends upon the particular strain of the virus and the health of the birds prior to becoming infected. There are vaccines available for Newcastle disease. Eggs can transmit the virus.
Air Sac Disease or Mycoplasmosis
The bacterium that causes Mycoplasmosis can be picked up early in life and not cause problems in a healthy bird. Only when the bird’s resistance is worn down from stress or poor nutrition does the bacteria overwhelm the immune system and cause the disease to break through the immune system. Once the bird is weakened the bacteria take over the lungs and even the joints of the bird.
Avian or Bird flu is a highly contagious viral disease carried by wild birds and infected domestic birds. The early 1900’s out break of the Spanish Flu that killed millions of people world wide was a strain of Avian or Bird Flu. It affects the nervous system, digestive system and respiratory system of the infected birds. The most common infection route is wild birds and ducks.
Chlamydiosis is a disease that can infect both humans and poultry and can produce flue like symptoms, pneumonia, and even abortion. The disease organism is spread through respiratory processes, through the droppings, and from contact with the infected birds. It is possible to pass through the egg to the next generation of chicks but most of the eggs will not hatch.
Aspergillosis is a fungal infection caused by Aspergillus fumigatus. Typical symptoms are gasping for breath, eye lesions and unhealed wounds in older birds. The mortality rate can hit 50% in younger flocks. The incubation period is two to five days and the fungus spores are highly resistant to disinfectants. Most domesticated poultry can catch the disease.
Staphylococcosis, Staphylococcal Arthritis, Bumble Foot
A bacterial infection seen in turkeys and chickens. Mortality is low but the infected birds are usually culled as it is difficult to treat in a commercial flock. The visible signs might be a growth on the feet but the bacteria is spread throughout the body of the bird. Infection usually occurs through respiration, a cut ,or skin abrasion but it can come from the hatchery’s poor sanitation.