Common poultry diseases and their control measures

Fowl Coccidiosis

This disease is caused by a protozoan parasite of the intestine and can cause very heavy losses in poultry particularly up to the age of 12 weeks.


  • The chicks lose weight and their appetites.
  • Their feathers become ruffled and soiled.
  • Combs are pale and they tend to huddle together in corners.
  • Droppings are watery and greenish or brown in colour often containing blood.
  • b.Control Measures:

  • Preventive:
  • Use of Bifuran in feed at all times.
  • Keep the litter dry and loose and keep chicks isolated in freshly sterilised pens.
  • Curative measures:
  • Use Bifuran in the water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Isolate sick birds.
  • When the attack dies down disinfect litter and sterilize pens.

a.Ranikhet Disease

A highly infectious and fatal viral disease, it attacks poultry of all ages. Also known as New Castle disease.

  • Symptoms:
  • Inactivity, droopiness and sleepiness.
  • Pale combs and wattles which later turn blue.
  • Full and distended crop.
  • Gasping for air, wheezing and coughing.
  • Green diarrhoea with foul odour.
  • The head may be twisted to the side, drawn back or down between the legs.
  • Convulsions, paralysis and incoordination.

(b)Control Measures:

  • Vaccinate chicks of one day with F-1 vaccine
  • Re-vaccinate again at 6 to 8 weeks with Ranikhet vaccine.

Fowl Pox:

A viral disease that can affect birds at any age resulting in high mortality rates.

  • Symptoms:
  • Formation of greyish spots or blisters on wattles which after several days enlarge and develop into wartlike eruptions with scales.
  • Removal of scales results in rough, raw bleeding wounds.
  • Formation of hard crust in 10-14 days.
  • Control Measures:
  • Do not overcrowd birds.
  • Vaccinate with pigeon pox vaccine at 7 days of age
  • Follow this by a further fowl pox vaccine at 6 weeks of age.

    Fowl Coryza

A bacterial disease contaminated through feed, water and by contact through carriers.

  • Symptoms:
  • Watery discharge from eyes and nose and sometimes sticking of eyelids.
  • Noticeable difficulty in breathing, shaking of head and wheezing.
  • Odorous, cheesy droppings.
  • Soiled feathers under the wings with fowl odour.

   b   Control Measures:

  • Observe strict sanitary condition and make certain that an adequate source of Vitamin A is provided in the diet
  • Infected birds should be culled and destroyed and the house, feeders and waterers thoroughly disinfected.
  • An injection of antibiotics is also helpful.

Worm Infestation:

Internal parasitic worms are common in poultry and will always be present in small numbers. However, when present in excess they can seriously affect the health and productivity of birds.

Control measures

  • (1)Medicines such as vermex, carbon tetrachloride, tetrachilorethylene and piperazine citrate can be used.

External Parasites:

There are many different external parasities harboured by poultry. The commonest are mites, fleas, lice and ticks.

  • Symptoms:
  • Chickens are restless and nervous.
  • Chickens peck at their own feathers.
  • Pale combs and wattles.
  • Low egg production.
  1. Control Measures:

Tick, lice, and flea powder should be rubbed into the feathers and skin of the birds.

When each batch of birds is cleared spray the entire house and surrounding ground with malathion or any suitable pesticide.

A regular spray of creosote will kill these pests and, at the same time, preserve the structure of the house.

Fowl Cholera:

A bacterial disease contaminated mostly through feed and water.

Acute Form:

  • Sudden death without any visible symptoms.
  • Diarrhoea and fever.

Chronic Form:

  • Swelling of the wattles followed by wrinkles.
  • Painful abcesses in the joint of legs and lameness.

Control Measures:

  • Affected birds should be segregated.
  • 2.Treated with (0.2 per cent) Sod.Sulphamezathine in drinking water or by injecting broad spectrum antibiotic, like `Terramycin’ (40 mg per kg by wt.)
  • 3.Control is achieved by timely vaccination.

Marek’s Disease

The disease is caused by a virus which is spread from an infected chicken to a non-infected one through the air, poultry dust, by contact, sometimes faeces. Greatest susceptibility from 6-26 weeks of age.


  • Paralysis of legs and/or wings
  • Laboured breathing
  • Whistling and circling movements
  • Unilateral and bilateral blindness.
  • On postmortem examination whitish nodules in muscles of thigh, neck, kidneys, testes and in ovaries are seen.

Control Measures:

  • Immunisation of birds by using vaccines
  • Procure genetically resistant chicks
  • Super sanitation.