Poultry disease prevention and management

Poultry disease prevention and management

A disease is any condition that interferes with the normal functioning of  part or the whole body of a living organism.  There are different disease causative agents or factors;

  1. Deficiencies of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals etc.
  2. The consumption of toxic substances such as poisons.
  1. Physical damage e.g. environmental extremes and injury.
  2. Parasitic invasion – internal or external
  3. micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses.

Regardless of what causes the disease, its effects on poultry have seen many farmers count losses or abandon farming altogether.. This article highlights some of the major routine practices that can be crucial is poultry disease prevention and management.


Most of the poultry diseases can be prevented through vaccination. As they say prevention is better than cure, it is advisable that farmers vaccinate their birds against those diseases whose vaccines are available. In case of disease outbreak, birds vaccinated against such diseases have a higher chance of not getting infected as compared to those that were not vaccinated. Below is a list of these common poultry diseases:

  • avian encephalomyelitis
  • chicken anaemia
  • egg drop syndrome 76 (EDS 76)
  • fowl cholera
  • fowl pox
  • infectious bronchitis
  • infectious bursal disease
  • infectious coryza
  • infectious laryngotracheitis
  • Marek’s disease

Quarantine sick birds

Sick birds should be segregated from the flock as soon as possible. Most poultry diseases are communicable and some can wipe out the entire flock of birds with a short time if. After isolating the sick birds, call a qualified vet for diagnosis and treatment. Some farmers are known to vaccinate sick birds.  Never vaccinate sick birds. Proper diagnosis is important if the right medication is to be administered.

Multi-age flocks

Older birds have better disease resistance than the younger ones.  Mixing young birds with the older ones make the former more vulnerable in case of a disease outbreak.

Parasite control

As mentioned above, parasites are some of the disease causative agents.  Birds should be inspected regularly for external parasites and the insecticides used incase of pest invasion. Treatment for worms should also be done regularly.


Unhygienic conditions can breed some of the disease-causing microorganisms. Farmers should observe hygiene at all times if they are to keep some of these diseases at bay. Poultry house, waterers and feeders should always be kept clean.  Just like humans, birds should also be given clean water and feeds.


There is a need to minimize the interaction of your birds with disease-causing agents such as wild birds.  Birds from neighbouring farms can also be disease agents. In order to reduce the risk of diseases being brought to your farm by these agents, there is a need to set high standards of biosecurity. Farmers practicing free-range poultry farming method are often at high risk especially when there is a disease outbreak.


Every poultry farmer desires for a disease-free environment for his or her birds.  Disease prevention and management require that a number of routine practices are put in place as mentioned above. Let us prevent them, before we are forced to look for the cure of these devastating diseases

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