Prevention and Control of Poultry Disease

(Full Transcription of Darag Bulletin No. 7*2010 of WVSU-University Research and Development Center) 

Prevention of Poultry Disease

The best fed, housed, and genetically ideal chicken will not grow or lay egg up to its potential if diseased or infected with parasites.

Diseases may spread from one animal to another by two basic routes. The horizontal spread of disease occurs between one infected animals and another. This may involve contact with infected animals, or vectors or carriers of disease such as insects, wild birds, or parasites that can pass the pathogenic agent from one animal to another. The vertical spread of disease is the passage of the disease-producing agent from parent to offspring through the egg. Horizontal spread of disease is more common, but some diseases such as pullorum disease, lymphoid leucosis, and mycoplasmosis can be spread by vertical transmission.

Control of diseases spread horizontally often can be achieved by isolation and quarantine; vertical spread may be controlled by elimination of infected parent stock. Obviously, strategy aimed at control of a disease must be based on a thorough knowledge of its mode of spread.

native copyAgents of disease

Humans, whether as visitors, neighbors or farm workers, can be a major source of disease transmission.

Poultry brought to the farm can carry infectious diseases. Day-old chicks, replacement pullets or birds of different ages or species are all possible sources of contamination. Wild birds may carry and transmit diseases to commercial poultry flocks.Poor sanitation can also cause disease problems. Once a site is contaminated, carry over from previously infected flock may become a recurring problem.

Disease outbreaks are influenced by the general condition of the flock. Conditions caused by poor management can reduce the flock’s resistance to infection.

Disease Prevention

Proper security measures can greatly reduce the chance of disease outbreaks. Use disinfectant foot baths when entering the area and the poultry houses. Change foot baths often to keep them effective. If you use the equipment, feeders and waterers for more than one flock, wash and disinfect it before introducing another flock or using it in another poultry house.

Only healthy and disease-free chicken should be brought inside the poultry farm. Don’t keep pet birds on the premises, and avoid contact with other flocks.

Practice “all-in-all-out” with flocks whenever possible. Thorough cleaning and disinfecting between flocks will help reduce outbreaks.

Clean and disinfect the facilities in the following manner:

1. Remove all birds from the poultry house. Clean out the old feed and remove all movable equipment, feeders and waterers.

2. Clean the ceilings and walls before removing the litter, manure and other debris. Dispose these as far from the house as possible.

3. Clean equipment, feeders and waterers and other items to be re-used and repair the house if needed.

4. Wash the house thoroughly with the detergent soap/disinfectant and remove all manure deposits.

5. Replace the litter; return the equipment and other items.

6. Allow the poultry house to stand empty for one to two weeks.

Maintain proper management techniques that do not stress the birds. Good ventilation, dry litter, and proper temperatures will provide conditions conducive to good health.

Follow approved vaccination and deworming program.

Control of Poultry Disease Outbreaks

Poultry owners should immediately begin an investigation if a disease is suspected in a flock. Obvious disease signs and symptoms can be identified on the farm, while others may require laboratory assistance for proper diagnosis.

How to recognize disease

Successful poultry raisers can recognize a sign of disease early before a flock is in serious trouble. When disease is recognized early, some measure of control may be achieved by such measures as immunization of the rest of the flock, isolation, elimination of infected individuals, or administration of medication.

Sick animals may be dull and inactive and isolate themselves from the rest of the flock. They usually eat less and subsequently grow slowly or lay fewer eggs.

Specific signs of disease may be evident, such as diarrhea, paralysis, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, inflammatory exudates on the skin, blood in the droppings, or other signs that distinguish them from healthy birds.

Often a decrease in feed and water consumption is one of the first signs that something is wrong. Once disease is suspected, prompt diagnosis of the disease is important so that measures can be taken to minimize loss.