Spotting disease and what to do about it
This is an acute, highly contagious disease of chickens. Classic signs include laboured breathing with extended neck, choking, sneezing and vigorous shaking of the head. Mortality is often high with this infection.
Infectious Bronchitis (IB)
This highly contagious disease spreads very quickly. Its symptoms may include eye and nasal discharge, choking, and sneezing. Mortality can be high in young birds.
Avian Influenza (AI)
The dreaded disease for all poultry producers, while not common, has the potential to inflict serious damage in any flock. Its impact can range from minor respiratory infection to 100% mortality, depending on the strain of virus. Symptoms that can be exhibited include choking, sneezing, tearing, huddling, ruffled feathers, and swelling of the head and face. Proper quarantine or depopulation of AI positive flocks is essential in preventing the spread of this potentially devastating disease.
Prevention is better than cure
The phrase ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ applies to the smallest backyard flock as well as to the largest commercial enterprises. Minimising disease in small flocks is very important as they can act as reservoirs of transmissible disease to the commercial poultry industry.
The first step in disease prevention is to know the enemy. In the case of colds and flu, viruses are the culprit. Viruses can infiltrate a flock by air, wild birds, insect and rodent pests, new additions to the flock, and human traffic. Antibiotic treatments will