Chickens are one of the hardiest farm animals that one can keep as pets. As long as they are given a clean environment with fresh feed and water every day, these animals barely get sick. But, because they are outdoor animals, it is impossible to protect them from every type of risk. A chicken owner can better prevent certain illnesses if they are aware of the types of common diseases that affects poultry.

Possibly the most common ailment that a chicken will be exposed to is external parasites. Common predators are Lice and Mites. Unless one handles his or her chickens on a regular basis, he or she may not see the infestation until the fowl become visibly sickened. Because poultry lice will eat the skin and the feathers, it will create a moth-eaten look over time.

A persons chicken will be severely weakened if they have Mites as these are blood sucking parasites. These parasites are extremely hard to detect as they are a lot smaller than Lice. If one’s chickens have these mites, one will notice a scaly appearance on the face and legs of his or her animals. One must use an insecticide powder for birds, or consult a veterinarian for advice.

Along with external parasites, poultry also have to battle internal parasites. Worms are one of the most common internal parasites to which chickens are susceptible. Worms are found around chicken feces and also in the ground. If a persons chickens has eaten from one of the tainted areas, then they will be consuming the worms and will be at risk of becoming infected. Almost all chickens have some internal parasites that are not necessarily harmful.

A persons chickens can overload their body with internal parasites if they are kept in an area that is contaminated, and will be at risk from possible starvation and diarrhea. Veterinarians can determine the parasite causing this sickness. By examining a fecal sample from one’s flock, the veterinarian can prescribe the correct medication to heal one’s flock.

Just like in humans, there are various forms of pox viruses that also affect poultry. This “chicken” pox can bring about various skin lesions on one’s animals. It is then transmitted to other birds in the flock by contact and by mosquitoes. Once one’s flock is infected, it becomes severely difficult to stop the spread. Special care will need to be given to the lesions for the chickens to survive this disease and it will also need to be caught in the early stages. A person can prevent these types of diseases from spreading to their flock by using certain vaccines.

Another disease that affects chickens is fowl cholera. This condition is more likely to affect older birds in the flock, rather than the younger chicks. It is caused by a bacterium that can kill one’s entire flock very quickly. Many times, birds can die within hours of having been exposed. Swollen eyes and feet are a common symptoms as well as ear drainage. .

Any birds that do die should immediately be taken to see a veterinarian. Detection of cholera will insure that the rest of the chickens are treated appropriately to limit the loss of the entire flock. This disease, if not treated, can spread to other animals through contaminated soil as well as direct contact.

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