Disease Prevention in Poultry

Nutritious feed, access to fresh, clean water, and adequate housing are important to the health of your flock. Good management and sanitation practices are essential as well. Proper ventilation in the brooder and coop will reduce moisture and disease organisms. Caked or wet litter should be removed as soon as it forms to keep the house clean and dry.

For most backyard poultry enthusiasts, diseases are rare as long as the flock doesn’t come into contact with other flocks. The most common disease for young, unmedicated flocks is coccidiosis, which is characterized by diarrhea, unthriftiness and some mortality. A medicated chick feed can help prevent coccidiosis.

A rigid sanitation program can help prevent parasites. If internal parasites become a problem, products to treat them are available from your feed dealer.

Check your flock daily to spot diseases or parasites so you can start treatment right away. For more information about identifying, preventing and treating poultry diseases and parasites, contact your local veterinarian. Your local feed dealer can help you choose the right feed to support the nutritional needs of your flock.

7 Replies to “Disease Prevention in Poultry”

  1. We started our chicks out on grower feed and when i bought the next batch it ended up being medicated starter feed. They are a little over 4 weeks old right now and seems they have a little runny poop. Is this because i changed to the medicated feed or should I be concerned about something else?

    1. Hi Melanie,
      If your change in feed included a significant change in protein or nutrient content (as going from a grower to starter would), then that could be the reason for the runny poop. Simply going from non medicated to a medicated starter should not cause this. I would watch them for any other signs of sickness (lethargy, decreased appetite and water intake, etc) just to rule out any other cause. Barring that, the birds should be fine in a few days when they get adjusted to the new feed. Thanks for the question!

  2. My 16 chicks are a week old and they seem to have a somewhat dark brown, runny, poop. They are energetic and bouncing of the walls, and seem healthy except for this problem. I have been giving them all the green grass clippings they want, snipped very small ( Could this be causing the problem?) non medicated starter and garden dirt to dig around in, which they enjoy. Could they be getting diseases from the soil? Would a little vinegar in their water help or hurt?

    1. Hi there,
      Chicks that age do not need anything other than chick starter and water for at least the first 6 weeks. That may be what is causing the issues. If they are acting healthy and happy, that is a good sign, but I would remove all feed except the chick starter and make sure they have free access to clean water.

  3. Love the post love this site really informational raise chickens when I was younger now I’m getting 25 within the next few days have built the coup already thank you to all

  4. my chicks are two weeks old and i have lost ten of then since the first day.
    i have vaccinated them against gumboro and newcastle.
    What could be the cause of the high mortality rate?

    1. Usually Gumboro shows up a little later, like 3 weeks. I’ll be very honest, I have never seen first hand (that I know of) Gumboro. It is not something, outside commercial flocks, that most people vaccinate for. Same for New Castle. There are a lot of strains of that. But lets start at the beginning. How many chicks total? What breed(s)? Symptoms? What geographic area? First instinct is the heat, I always had higher mortality brooding when it gets very warm. But let’s see if we can narrow it down.
      Twain L.

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