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Poultry Disease Challenges

What are some common disease challenges in poultry?

There are many types of diseases that affect poultry species, including:

  • Bacterial diseases (e.g., necrotic enteritis, infectious coryza, salmonellosis, etc.)
  • Parasitic diseases (e.g., tapeworms, roundworms, coccidiosis, etc.)
  • Viral diseases (e.g., avian influenza, Newcastle disease, etc.)
  • Fungal diseases (e.g., mycotoxicosis)

Some of the most economically impactful diseases include coccidiosis, Newcastle disease, necrotic enteritis and avian influenza. These diseases can be detrimental to not only one house of birds but to entire geographical regions. As such, it is vital to take steps to prevent them from manifesting.

How do poultry diseases spread?

Poultry diseases are spread via one of the following three methods:

  • Direct contact (from bird to bird or through infected manure)
  • Indirect contact (with contaminated equipment, people or the environment)
  • Vectors (via wild animals, rodents or insects)

Birds are very susceptible to several diseases, which makes building their immunity and implementing the proper biosecurity key to operational success. Monitoring the birds and providing them with the proper nutrition will help provide the best defense against the risk of immune system invasion. By populating the gut with beneficial bacteria and decreasing the amount of open attachment sites within the gut, pre-, pro- and postbiotics contribute beneficial components that help balance the gut microbiota and prevent pathogenic organisms from harboring inside birds.

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Signs of poultry disease in your flock

  • Sudden mortality
  • Lack of appetite and energy
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased production
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles or legs
  • Discoloration of the combs, wattles or legs
  • Lameness
  • Lesions
  • Diarrhea

3 methods to reduce the incidence of disease

  1. Monitor your birds and be aware of sudden behavioral changes.
  2. Provide your birds with sufficient nutrients and vaccination programs designed to help build their natural defenses.
  3. Maintain the proper biosecurity and housing conditions.