Chicken diseases can wipe out your whole flock. It is important to understand each disease and make the right treatment. But most importantly learn how to prevent them early. Below are the most common chicken diseases and their control.

Disease Symptoms Transmission What to do
Newcastle Disease (NCD) Twisted neck; drooping wings; sleepy heavy breathing; greenish droppings, and sometimes bloody diarrhea; loss of appetite; death can be sudden without symptoms Transmitted by direct contact with contaminated birds, people or chicken products; wind; contaminated chicken house or equipment Prevention: Vaccinate with Newcastle vaccine before attack (see vaccination table)

What to do if sick: No treatment; slaughter and burry infected chicken or burn them

Fowl pox Pimples on the birds’ combs and eyelids; a watery discharge from eyes; difficulty in breathing indicated by wheezing sound and loss of appetite Mosquito bites and contact through broken skin or wounds Prevention: Vaccinate with fowl pox vaccine (available in most agro-vets). Also clear bushes to control mosquito

What to do if sick: No treatment. But wounds can be treated with antibiotics to avoid secondary infection; strong birds easily recover



Worms in droppings; thirst; difficulty in breathing; poor health and death of young chicks Spread from chicken to chicken when they peck each other’s droppings Regular de-worming: once during dry season and at the start of rains and when chicks look weak
Fowl typhoid


Blood in droppings; drop in egg production; decreased hatchability; dullness followed by sudden death Infected droppings; feed and water Burry dead birds and throw away infected  birds


Bloody droppings; head is down; ruffled feathers; loss of appetite,  a drop in eggs production in hens


Chicken pecking on infected droppings Prevention: Prevented by regular and thorough cleaning of troughs and poultry houses between batches; do not overcrowd the  house

What to do: Use coccidiostat in feed or water

How to control diseases in chicken houses

  • Dust the house with pesticides such as Sevin or Actelic at least once after every 3-4 months to keep off fleas, ticks and lice and after a disease outbreak
  • Sweep regularly to remove droppings, which may spread diseases. The droppings are good manure
  • Replace wood shavings/ grass once they are dirty with droppings or after changing flocks
  • Keep earthen floors smooth by smearing regularly with cow dung
  • After removing one batch of chicken, clean the house and allow it to rest for one week before bringing another batch. This prevents transfer of disease
  • Use foot baths with disinfectant outside each poultry house
  • Do not allow visitors or vehicles into the poultry farm unless thoroughly disinfected
  • Disinfect your own shoes before and after visiting chickens on somebody else’s farm to prevent disease transfer
  • Do not allow wild birds and other fowls into the chicken house or farm
  • Do not mix birds of various ages
  • Separate sick chicken from healthy ones
  • When introducing new birds, keep them in a separate house for 2 weeks and observe them for diseases. Treat them if sick and give them time to recover before you introduce them to the old one

You can also get a comprehensive Guide to Improved Indigenous Chicken Farming for more information on chicken management.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: