Common Poultry Ailments

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Diseases and ailments which affect a producer's poultry population can be quite worrisome and troubling to the farmer. The most common diseases that afflict chickens in the United States are Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu, and Newcastle disease.

Newcastle disease poses very little danger to humans, but is highly contagious among birds, especially those living in close proximity to one another, and can cause great harm to bird populations by making them frail and sick, and decimating the population in extreme cases. Common symptoms of Newcastle disease include respiratory difficulties and muscular problems, including total paralysis. Swelling of the tissues of the head and around it are also common. Newcastle disease is commonly treated preventively, with vaccines. Quarantine and testing is recommended for any birds suspected of symptoms of Newcastle disease.

Avian influenza is well known to the general public for recent health scares, especially in Asia, in particular, H5N1, a strain of avian influenza, commonly known as "bird flu". Bird flu can be contracted by humans in close proximity to birds. One common misconception is that a human can spread bird flu to another human after he has caught it from a bird. This has not yet occurred, but there is concern that the virus could mutate to have human to human transmission capabilities. Because of the particular strength of the virus, which kills more than half of those infected, this is a central concern in research into bird flu. At this point, concerns in the United States largely focus on preventive efforts, as there have been no humans in the United States killed by bird flu.

Other ailments affect chickens as well. One common problem is a slipped tendon, an internal physical injury that will prevent a bird from walking well. Thrush is another common ailment. Thrush affects the digestive tracts of chickens and can cause diarrhoea, negatively affect growth and even cause weight loss. This ailment is caused by a fungus.

Chickens can be affected by many different types of problems: viruses, bacteria, physical injuries, fungi. A rearer of poultry will minimize these problems with proper preventive care and well maintained facilities.



 

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Copyright Peter Garrey 2009