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10 most common diseases in backyard chickens- symptoms,treatment

I don’t need to accentuate on how more and more people are getting into the habit of raising backyard fellows – this activity is indeed of more interest to people because of its mesmerizing benefits – poultry provides with fresh yummy eggs as well as meat; everything is right there in your backyard, wow, so economical. However, this pocket friendly option may turn into cost if you fail to take care of the little fellows. You may have enough experience in dealing with chicken daily care, but no knowledge of chicken health. Spreading of pathogens amongst the flocks is really common, but with proper care and attention the chances can be minimized. Although the smaller backyard setups are lesser affected by poultry diseases but the owners must know about the basic symptoms and necessary preventions so that a cure can be provided before the worst happens.

1: Fowl Pox:

In layman’s language this disease can be referred to chickenpox, but is way different from the ones which affect humans. It’s a viral and contagious disease which can spread directly or by mosquito – the basic chicken disease symptoms are the visibility of warty bumps near the legs; also, you may see the formation of lesions in the mouth area. Vaccination is the only prevention, in worst cases; it may kill the chickens too.

fowl fox inchickens

2: Infectious Bronchitis:

This is one of the chicken illnesses which are really painful and dangerous – it not only destroys the esophagus (respiratory pipe) but also spreads amongst the healthy fellows. The major symptoms include;

  • Lesser egg production – the laid eggs would be dry, rough and whites would be watery
  • Loss of appetite

Unfortunately, this disease is viral, so there is no such treatment for chicken recovery.

Infectious Bronchitis in chickens

3-External Parasites:

It may include even the simplest parasite which you may not even pay attention too – for example, fleas have a real enemy of backyard birds as well as other pets. You must treat these parasites with proper medication so that chickens ailments can be avoided. Proper fumigation against the following may help;

  • Tics
  • Mites
  • Lice
4-Internal Parasites:

Internal parasites usually refer to worms inside the body – they are of no harm usually, but in many cases they turn into bad shape. Mostly, newly born chickens are affected by this because of weak immune systems. Loss of weight, appetite or diarrhea is a clear indication that something is wrong. Take the affected bird to the vet; he may help you with this.

However, in severe cases the internal parasite may cause Coccidiosis in younger birds.If symptoms of coccidiosis are found in birds; treat them with 9.5cc of liquid amprolium (brand name Corid) per gallon of water for 4 days.the droppings will be free of blood within 24 hours however you must carry it for 3 additional days within 2 weeks.

In order to prevent your backyard from these hassles, you must carry out following instant measures;

  • Keep the chicken coop clean and cool
  • Always buy vaccinated chickens
  • Never keep viral infected chickens with healthy ones
  • You must provide herbs for chickens (for fighting with parasites in chickens by  boosting their immune system)
5: Marek's disease:

It remains the most common yet contagious disease because it affects birds intensely – it’s fatal and still untreated. Usually it affects the younger chickens because of their weak immune systems – basically, the white blood cells begin to destroy and this leads to cancer and other fatal diseases. It is spread by the loss of feathers and dust – also, the symptoms include;

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Paralyzed neck, wings and legs
  • Weight loss


Marek's disease

6: Nutritional deficiencies:

Feed for backyard chicken must be healthy and full of nutritional value – if you fail to provide them with what their need is, they would suffer from various diseases and issues. For example, lack of calcium would result in rickets and poor bone structure. Similarly, if the birds won’t get enough energy they would not lay eggs effectively. Vegetables, fruits and grains may help to provide complete nutritional value.

7: Reproductive Problems:

Many times chickens are not able to produce eggs according to their capacity because of reproductive problems; it includes egg binding – the condition in which birds are unable to pass out eggs. Similarly, there gets inflammation in the shell gland and oviduct which is known as metritis – all this stops the egg productions and cause swollen abdomen.

8: Exotic Diseases:

This chicken disease refers to severe flu, avian influenza and respiratory track diseases – this causes severe depression and irritation in the flocks – it further makes the system complicated by slowing down egg production and collapse of the nervous system.

9:  Frostbite:

If you are living in colder region, you must be aware of this annoying chicken disease. Cold weather chicken breeds tend to remain protected from this because of their tendency to fight against the temperature – however, conventional types suffer from frostbite. Winterizing the chicken coop may help, in fact it would definitely help. Black spots appear in the toes, legs, combs and necks which are a clear symptom of this disease (more often in roosters because of their large comb). You need to take the birds to the vet; message with jelly or oil may not really help.

froste bite in chickens

10: Cannibalism:

Many times chickens tend to put them into trouble – for example, they would go around and intentionally put their toe on the wounds of other birds – this is how the infection develops. This tendency may develop from overcrowding, lack of feed and water, heating, improper ventilation and insufficient nesting. Therefore, you must keep the infected birds separately so that you can minimize the chances of cannibalism.

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About Farhan sheikh

My name is Farhan Ahsan,I am web enthusiast, writer and blogger. I always strive to be passionate about my work. I started my work at the beginning of 2007 by engaging myself with detail reading and exchanging information with others. Since then things and times have changed, but one thing remains the same and that is my passion for helping and educating people, building a successful blog and delivering quality content to the readers. The particular interests that brought me in the world of blogging are gardening, wildlife, nature, farming and livestock.

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  1. From Chicken Chatter…..We always read your articles, nice site!

  2. Will be looking for more articles. Love learning anything we can to further keep our bird addiction going. cackleberryfun.blogspot.com

  3. That was interesting because my school might wan’t to get chickens!:):(

  4. Help!!
    I have Cobb variety 5 day old chicks and am now seeing a whitish paste on their rear ends-some also have a hard black paste on rear ends What can I do and how can I save them. I am cleaning it off their butts.
    Chicks were bought from reputable hatchery.
    Than you

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