How To Know Sick Birds by their dropping
*APPEARANCE OF FAECES IN CHICKEN*
1. YELLOW AND FOAMING DROPPING: Early stage of Coccidiosis
2. DROPPING WITH BLOOD: Coccidiosis
General Method of Preventing Disease Outbreak in Your Farm
Apply correct methods for raising young chicks (do not try to cut corners)
Disinfect and clean the housing of the different groups of chicks
Use bedding/litter material that is not dusty
Prevent the buildup of gases like ammonia by cleaning and proper ventilation
Control rats and mosquitoes as mosquitoes could cause fowl pox
Ensure that people from outside your farm don’t have access to the chicken house
Have bird-proof houses to keep out wild birds that eat the food and bring diseases to your chickens
Ensure that the building or house you are going to use is large enough for the chickens.
Fix leaky drinkers to avoid buildup of mould
Feed and water bowls should be cleaned daily and fresh feed and water should be supplied.
Dust causes irritation of the respiratory tract and the environment must therefore not be dusty.
Use cages for laying hens that do not have sharp edges that may injure the hens.
Make sure that there is sufficient space per hen
Get only first-grade chicks from a good, reliable supplier. Vaccinate chicks against important diseases.
Keep chickens of the same age together in one house
As much as possible, use the all-in, all-out principle
Lest I forget, lizard transmits coccidiosis (healthy carrier), if you see it anywhere around your pen please kill it.
Ensure your layer and broiler pen are not in close proximity
If you have more than one pen, ensure you have a specific wear and slippers for each pen
Do not touch a sick bird and use the same hands unwashed to feed other birds (use NLE)
Avoid every form of dust, smoke from generator, coming closer to your investment as this may cause serious CRD
Diseases imply means not at ease. DIS/ease Common Diseases in Poultry
A variety of diseases affect poultry of all kinds, ages, and sexes. But certain ailments primarily strike laying hens. These diseases cause reproductive issues and can kill your bird. Practicing good preventive measures can reduce the chances of your hens becoming gill.
These include quarantining new hens for atleast three weeks before introducing them to your flock. (if you bought POL)
How to know your birds are sick
i. You will find them dull
ii. They will reduce feed intake
iii. You will see your birds have reduced water intake
iv. The birds will have low egg production
v. If they’re still young, the rate of growth will be reduced.
vi. The feathers of the bird will be rough
Spread of Disease
A disease can spread rapidly among chickens because they are usually kept together in a cage or chicken house. They also share
the same feeders and drinkers, which can spread disease and infections from sick to healthy chickens.
In an intensive system, we place a great deal of pressure on the chickens to grow fast and to lay many eggs. This situation can cause disease to spread resulting in a lot of damage because of the stress the chickens ’experience.
Factors Contributing to Disease
Factors that can contribute to disease include management, environment, and the chickens themselves
i. Poor-quality feed and water
ii. Poor hygiene and in adequate cleaning programme
iii. Leaking drinkers
iv. Rat and mosquitoes.
v. Overcrowding of chicks
vi. Chickens of mixed ages reared together
vii. Poor bio-security measures; prevent people and animals from entering the chicken house.
viii. Weak second-grade chickens
ix. Chickens affected with other diseases
x. Poor condition as a result of under feeding
xi. No vaccination
What You Must Do at First Sign of Disease.
You must act quickly at the first signs of disease. The chickens must be treated, and management that may have led to the problem must be corrected to prevent the disease from occurring again.
Consult your animal health technician or veterinarian to help you find a correct solution to your problem as soon as possible. They may slaughter some of the sick chickens and cut them open. They will also cut open dead chickens and carryout post mortem.
They may take blood or eggs amples, depending on the disease.
The samples taken will be sent to a laboratory.
You and your animal health technician or veterinarian should then go through the entire system to identify possible problems in the management and environment that can be corrected.
There are not many forms of treatment or in certain cases no treatment for some diseases, which is why prevention is so important.
The treatment will depend on the cause of the disease, if it is at all possible, try to isolate all sick chickens from the healthy ones daily. The sick chickens should be handled and treated last to prevent the spread of the disease.
Diseases can be prevented through management, environmental and chicken factors
i. Apply correct methods for raising young chicks (temperature, feed, water, bedding)
ii. Disinfect and clean the housing of the different groups of chicks. Maintain the correct stocking density (avoid overcrowding).
iii. Use the best-quality feed that is available and provide clean water daily
iv. Use bedding that is not dusty
v. Prevent the build-up of gases by cleaning and ventilation
vi. Control rats and files
vii. Ensure that no people from outside your farm visit the chicken house
viii. Have bird-proof houses to keep out wild birds that eat the feed and bring disease to your chickens
i. ensure that the building or house you are going to use is large enough for the chickens
ii. fix leaky water troughs
iii. feeders and drinkers should be cleaned daily and fresh
1. Metabolic and Nutritional Diseases
These are conditions caused by a disturbance of normal metabolic functions either through a genetic defect, inadequate or inappropriate nutrition, or impaired nutrient utilization
Fatty liver syndrome
Perosis (or slipped tendon)
Cage layer fatigue
An infectious disease is any disease caused by invasion of a host by a pathogen; this subsequently grows and multiplies in the body.
Infectious diseases are often contagious, which means they can spread directly or indirectly from one living thing to another.
Parasitic diseases are infections or infestations with parasitic organisms. They are often transmitted through contact with an intermediate vector, but may occur as the result of direct exposure. A parasite is an organism that lives or on, and takes its nourishment from, another organism.
A parasite cannot live in dependently. These include; coccidiosis, lice and mites, parasitic worms (or helminthes).
Abnormal behavioural patterns can lead to injury or ill health of the abnormally behaving bird and/or its companions. These include cannibalism (or aggressive pecking).
List of some common poultry disease
Poultry can be affected by many types of disease and a wide variety of pests (and behavioural problems) including those in the list below.
Diseases caused by Viruses
Egg drop syndrome (or EDS)
Infectious bursal disease (or Gumboro)
Marek’s disease virus or MDV
Diseases caused by Mycoplasmas
Myciplasmosis – MG (Mycoplasma gallisepticum; MG infection; chronic respiratory disease (CRD)
Diseases caused by Bacteria
Disease caused by protozoa
Diseases caused by internal parasites
Diseases caused by External Parasites
several types of lice
stick fast flea
several types of mites
Diseases caused by environmental factors
cannibalism (or aggressive peckling)
caged layer fatigue
Now we would try to look at some of diseases one after the other
Egg drop syndrome
The only sign of egg drop syndrome appear in the eggs. Laying hens that out wardly appear healthy will begin producing eggs that either lack shells or have too thin ones. Some hens might experienced diarrhea shortly before thin-shelled eggs start appearing.
Egg drop syndrome can pass from asymptomatic hens to their otherwise healthy chicks spreading the virus in their stool.
While no treatment exists for egg drop syndrome, a hen will usually resume quality egg production after she has undergone moulting.
Caged Layer Fatigue
Always feed your laying hen nutritious feed that is specially prepared for laying hens. This is not only helpful for better egg production but also help to keep your hens health. Many diseases affect the flock due to nutritional imbalances in homemade cheap feed. Especially laying hens suffer much due to lack of proper amount of phosphorus and calcium ratio. If you notice any hen which is alert but unable to move, then she might be suffering from caged layer fatigue.
If not treated timely, she might die by dehydration. Move the affected birds to another cage and supply her fresh water and
quality feed. If you use cheap, low quality homemade feed, replace it as soon as possible and serve quality feed. This will help you avoid further instances of diseases in your flock. Raising your flock in free range system can be helpful for preventing the diseases.
Your laying hens can be affected by rickets disease due to lack of vitamin D or proper ratio of calcium and phosphorus in their regular feed. Soft and bowed bones, thin shelled eggs, lameness, fractured limbs, low egg production etc are all symptoms of this disease. If you feed your flock commercially prepared layer feed, then chances of getting affected by rickets disease is less. Because most of these commercial layers feed contain proper ratio of all necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
If the peritoneum or abdominal lining get infected and inflamed, then egg peritonitis might occur in your laying hen. Usually this occurs because a yolk did not head out of the oviduct of your laying hen as it should and went into the abdominal cavity. Swollen abdomen is the symptom of egg peritonitis. You can use ginger, garlic, black pepper, basil leaf, ACV etc It will fight with the infection and drain the abdomen.
But in most cases, laying hens affected by egg peritonitis die before you discover it.
Fatty Liver Syndrome
Fatty liver syndrome occurs through accumulating too much fat in the liver of a hen. Hemorrhaging and death are the symptoms of this disease. Hens have pale combs which are affected by fatty liver syndrome. Feeds containing too much carbohydrate can result to much fat in your laying hens. Decrease the amount of carbohydrates in their feed and slightly change their feeding habit.
The chickens that are raised in cage method system are affected much by this disease. On the other hand, free range chickens suffer less by this disease.
Fowl pox is a relatively slow-spreading viral infection that affects most bird species, including all commercial forms of poultry. It occurs in both wet and dry forms. The wet form is characterized by plaques in the mouth and upper respiratory tract. The dry form is characterized by wart-like skin lesions that progress to thick scabs.
The disease may occur in any age of bird, at anytime.
Mortality is usually not significant unless the respiratory involvement is severe.
Fowl pox can cause depression, reduced appetite and poor growth or egg production. The course of the disease in the individual bird takes three to five weeks.
Infection occurs through skin abrasions or bites, through the respiratory route and possibly through ingestion of infective scabs.
It can be transmitted by birds, mosquitoes, or fomites (inanimate objects such as equipment). The virus is highly resistant ion dried scabs and under certain conditions may survive for months.
Mosquitoes can habour infectious virus for a month or more after feeding on infected birds do not remain carriers. A flock may be affected for several months as fowl pox spreads slowly.
As mosquitoes are known reservoirs, mosquito control procedures may be of some benefit in limiting spread in poultry pens.
Coccidiosis is one of the most common and economically important diseases of chickens worldwide. It is caused by a parasitic organism that damages the host’s intestinal system, causing loss production, morbidity and death. This diseases has a major economic impact on the global poultry industry.
Symptoms include yellowish foamy dropping which transcends to droppings mixed with blood, dropping feathers, sleeping during the day.
Signs of NCD – conjunctivitis, depression and neurological signs
Newcastle disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects many species of domestic and wild birds to varying degrees.
The disease can result in digestive, respiratory and/or nervous clinical signs, which range from a mild, almost in apparent respiratory disease to very severe depression, drop in egg production, increased respiration, profuse diarrhea followed by collapse, or long-term nervous signs such as twisted necks if the birds survive.
Severe forms of the disease are highly fatal. Spread is usually by direct physical contact with infected or diseased birds. The virus in present in manure and is breathed out into the air.
Other sources of infection are contaminated equipment, carcasses, water, food and clothing. People can easily carry the virus from one shed or farm to another.
Newcastle disease virus does not affect humans in the same way that it does to birds but it can cause conjunctivitis in humans.
There is no treatment for Newcastle disease, although treatment with organic remedies (Aloeveragel, black pepper and cayenne pepper) or strong antibiotics/antiviral to control secondary infections would assist.
The virus can remain alive in manure for up to 2 months and in dead carcasses for up to 12 months, however it is easily killed by disinfectants, fumigants and direct sunlight.
Prevention relies on good quarantine and bio-security procedures and vaccination.
Infectious Bronchitis (IB)
IB is an acute and highly contagious respiratory disease of chickens. The disease is caused by avain infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), and characterized by respiratory signs including gasping, coughing, sneezing, tracheal rales, and nasal discharge.
In young chickens, severe respiratory distress may occur. In layers, respiratory distress, nephritis, drastic decrease in egg production, and loss of internal (water egg white) and external (fragile, soft, irregular or rough shells, shell-less) egg quality will be seen.
Infectious coryza is a serious bacterial disease of chickens which affects respiratory system and it is manifested by inflammation of the area below the eye, nasal discharge and sneezing.
The swelling can cause closure of one eye or both of them.
Economic loss is simply lower in egg production in case layers and stumping of birds.
Marke’s disease is a highly contagious viral neoplastic disease in chickens. Marek’s disease is endemic in uninfected or unvaccinated flock, causing depression, paralysis, and death in a large number of birds (up to 80%).
The best method of prevention is by following strict organic medication schedule.
It is a serious, highly contagious disease caused by bacteria. The route of infection is oral or nasal with transmission via nasal discharge, faeces, contaminated soil, equipment, and people.
Symptoms include: ruffled feathers, loss of appetite, diarrhea, coughing, nasal, ocular and oral discharge, swollen and cyanotic wattles and face, sudden death, swollen joints, lameness.
Fowl typhoid (FT) and pullorum disease (PD) are diseases, primarily of chickens and turkeys caused by S. Gallinarum and S. Pullorum, respectively.
Signs chicks and poults (young turkey) include anorexia, greenish diarrhea, dehydration, weakness and high mortality.
In mature fowl, FT and PD are manifested by greenish diarrhea, decreased egg production, hatchability, loss of appetite, and increased mortality.
Commonly observed signs are anorexia, ruffled feathers, oral and nasal mucus discharge, and white or greenish watery mucous diarrhea.
The best way you can know the health status of your flock is through their droppings.
Healthy birds will appear bright and alert with smooth feathers, their droppings will be fairly solid in consistency, either green or brown in colour with a white cap on top that consist of urates.
Poultry droppings will vary depending on diet, weather, cecal dropping, broody hen dropping and the health of the bird. It is therefore, important you know which the bird. It is therefore, important you know which droppings are normal and which are abnormal.
Poultry diet contributes a lot to the colour of the dropping. Birds that are fed on leafy greens or grass may have green droppings.
Chickens that have bathed in sand that may have been mixed with wood ash may develop dark droppings caused by ingesting the ash.
Cecal droppings are produced severally during the day; they originate from the cecum which is located between the bird’s large and small intestines.
Cecal droppings are produced severally during the day; they originate from the cecum which is located between the bird’s large and small intestines.
Cecal dropping is reddish brown sticky in consistency and has a foul smell. This is normal dropping, so you should not panic once you spot it.
A broody hen will sit on her eggs and will be reluctant to go out and defecate. Once she goes outside, she will release a huge pile of dropping that has a strong smell. This is also considered as normal chicken dropping.
So which is the abnormal faecal dropping?
Any form of diarrhea is abnormal. During heat stress, birds may consume a lot of water to cool off and may develop watery diarrhea.
You should provide adequate ventilation to prevent heat stress. Chicks in a brooder will move away from the heat source and will exhibit signs of heat stress (panting, drowsy, stretched wings and diarrhea with pasty vent). Reduce the heat by reducing the wattage of the bulb or raising it higher.
Other causes of diarrhea in poult include:
Coccidiosis which manifests as bloody diarrhea worm infestation viruses such as Gumboro and Newcastle among others bacterial infections such as Salmonella. E. coli, kidney infections – white watery diarrhea. Feed too high in protein causes wet litter as the birds ingest a lot of water to excrete uric acid. Broiler birds fed on excess protein may increase water intake by about 3 percent causing increased moisture in their droppings hence wet litter.