Common Poultry Diseases — Pdf

Common Poultry Diseases


Picture Book of Infectious Poultry Diseases



Hatchery Management Guide

Hatchery Management Guide


For Game Bird and Small Poultry Owners

Five major functions are involved in the incubation and hatching of game bird and chicken eggs. The five functions are temperature, humidity, ventilation, egg turning, and sanitation.

Each of the five functions is important and may individually cause havoc in your attempt to hatch eggs if one is not conducted properly. When two or more are not controlled, it may be a disaster. Keep in mind, that changing or adjusting one of these functions may affect other functions and cause them to need adjustment as well. Therefore, changes in any one function should be made gradually and all functions should be watched closely for needed readjustment.

Hatching Temperature

Most of the large commercial type incubators and hatchers are run at 99oF. On the other hand, most of the smaller incubators and hatchers, like those commonly used by game bird producers, are run at 100oF.

Temperature is the easiest hatching function to regulate, provided you have a good set of controls to work with and provided you check the heating mechanism regularly. Without good, sensitive, easy-to-regulate, and dependable temperature controls, you can have low hatches, poor quality chicks, and you can sometimes lose the entire hatch. If your incubators and hatches are large enough to justify doing so, you should install a temperature sensitive alarm to warn you of the potential danger to the developing embryos.

Temperature alarms are usually constructed of two temperature sensors. One is set to activate the alarm if the temperature drops below 97 or 98oF. The other sensor is set to activate the alarm if the temperature goes above 102oF. This is a simple explanation of the temperature alarm and how it is installed, but even so, it is not all that difficult to install. If the machines are not in your home but are nearby, you may want to run a small wire (like speaker wire) from the machines to an alarm in your house so that you can monitor the machines at night also.

Incubation Periods &   Incubation Operation Characteristics
(Table 1)









Inc Period








(oF, dry-bulb)








(oF, wet-bulb)








No Egg
Turning After

18th day

25th day

25th day

31st day

25th day

25th day

25th day

Open Vents
Additional ¼

10th day

14th day

12th day

15th day

1st day

14th day

14th day

Open Vents
(if needed)

18th day

25th day

25th day

30th day

25th day

24th day

25th day

* For Forced-air incubators. Add 2-3oF. to the recommended temperatures if using a still-air incubator.

Incubation Periods &   Incubation Operation Characteristics
(Table 2)








Inc Period







(oF, dry-bulb)







(oF, wet-bulb)







No Egg
Turning After

21st day

20th day

15th day

20th day

22nd day

15th day

Open Vents
Additional ¼

12th day

12th day

8th day

12th day

12th day

8th day

Open Vents
(if needed)

20th day

20th day

14th day

20th day

21th day

14th day

* For Forced-air incubators. Add 2-3oF. to the recommended temperatures if using a still-air incubator.

Temperature fluctuations for short periods of time usually do not severely affect hatchability or chick quality because the temperature inside the egg changes more slowly than the air inside the incubator. However, a consistently low temperature will result in a late hatch and decreased hatchability. The chicks may be large, soft bodied, and weak.

A consistently high temperature will result in an early hatch and decreased hatchability. The chicks may have short down (same results with low humidity) and have rough navels (not necessarily infected — just abnormal closure). More chicks will be malformed, spraddled, weak, and small.

You do not want either, but if you have to choose one or the other, remember that high temperature is more harmful than low temperature. You can incubate eggs for three or four hours at 90oF. without killing many embryos, but a temperature of 105oF. for 30 minutes will kill many embryos. In general, the older the embryo at the time of the high temperature mishap, the greater the death loss.

Incubators can easily overheat when kept where the sun can hit them, such as in a hot, room on the west of the house or in a small building that is subject to heating up considerably during hot summer afternoons. Machines in such conditions, when set near full capacity and with improper ventilation will almost surely overheat. This statement does not imply that the incubator should not be set to full capacity; on the contrary, other factors must be considered and corrected before you can take full advantage of the incubator’s capabilities.

Humidity in the Incubator and Hatchers

Most people think the wet bulb reading in a hatcher or incubator is percent relative humidity. This is, of course, not true. Percent relative humidity is determined by using both dry bulb and wet bulb readings. For example, if the dry bulb reading is 100oF. and the wet bulb reading is 87.3oF., the relative humidity is 60 percent. Under normal conditions the relative humidity in an incubator or hatcher should always be 57 to 60 percent. The following table gives the percent relative humidity figures for various dry and wet bulb readings.

Wet Bulb Temperatures for   Relative Humidities

Dry Bulb Temperature, oF.

Rel. Humidity





oF., Wet Bulb Temperatures































Incubator and hatcher manufacturers offer various suggestions for dry and wet bulb settings. However, you may find by experimenting with various settings that the best way is to simply run the dry bulb at 100oF. and the wet bulb at 85 to 87oF. (Keep as near to 86oF. as possible.) Use these settings from the first day of incubation until hatching is complete.

There will be no need to vary the humidity level from 86oF. if the hatching eggs were gathered and stored properly to prevent excessive moisture loss before setting, if the temperature in the machines was maintained at 100oF., if eggs were turned frequently, if sanitation was good, and if your ventilation was properly adjusted during incubating and hatching. Attempting to increase the wet bulb reading to 90 or 92oF. may decrease hatch if vents on the incubators and hatcher are closed too much. Closing the vents may increase the wet bulb reading and humidity inside the machines, but the developing embryos suffer from poor ventilation.

Old, dirty, too short, and wrong-sized wicks on wet bulb thermometers can cause erroneous readings. It is essential that wicks be kept in the best condition. You should thoroughly clean the wicks weekly and replace them with new ones after four to eight washings. Regular changing of wicks is often thought to be unnecessary; it may not be, but if the relatively small cost of new wicks is compared to the cost of low hatchability caused by incorrect wet bulb readings, the new wicks are justified every time.

Inferior wicks tend to give higher readings than are actually present. In other words, the wet bulb tends to act more like the dry bulb. This is because the flow of water through the wick has been slowed. Therefore, if attempting to maintain an 86oF. wet bulb reading with faulty wicks, you may actually have an 84oF. wet bulb environment in the machine. The two degrees difference for an entire incubation and hatch period can noticeably reduce hatchability. Where possible and practical, use a dual set of wet and dry bulb instruments in each machine.

Excessive moisture loss from the eggs during storage before setting can produce the same symptoms that low humidity in the machines produces. A sign of low humidity is sticky embryos during pipping and hatching that results in embryos not being able to turn themselves in the shell and complete the act of pipping and detaching themselves from the shell. Low humidity also results in short down on the chicks, malformed, malpositioned, weak, and small chicks. Low humidity contributes to (but is not wholly responsible for) spraddlers, star gazers, and those that cannot stand, walk, or orient themselves well enough to reach food and water.

If several large, soft bodied, mushy chicks are observed that make it through pipping and hatching but are dead in the tray, it is a sign of high humidity. A bad odor usually accompanies this condition. The condition normally occurs only in incubators and hatchers that have forced spray humidity systems that force too much moisture into the machines. Rarely does humidity run too high in a machine that relies on evaporation from pans if you are using the recommended evaporative pans, if the temperature is correct, and if the machines are properly and amply ventilated with fresh air.

If by restricting ventilation the humidity is made too high (92o to 94oF.) during the final stages of incubation, the embryos are moist and develop to the 19th, 20th, or 21st day of incubation, but die in the shell from suffocation. This suffocation results from improper ventilation rather than high humidity.

Ventilation Of Incubators And Hatchers

Ventilation is important in incubators and hatchers because fresh oxygenated air is needed for the respiration (oxygen intake and carbon dioxide given off) of developing embryos from egg setting until chick removal from the incubator. The oxygen needs are small during the first few days compared to the latter stages of development.

Egg shells contain three to six thousand small holes, called “pores”, through which oxygen passes from the air to the developing embryo and through which carbon dioxide passes from the embryo to the outside air. The embryo’s lungs are not developed during early embryonic development to the point that they can accommodate respiration by breathing. Respiration, therefore, is provided during the first three to five days by the vitelline blood circulation plexus growing from the embryo. To reach this plexus the gaseous exchange must travel through the egg pores and the albumen (egg white) to reach the vitelline circulation, which lies on the surface of the egg yolk. After the 4th or 5th day of development another structure, called the “allantois,” grows from the embryo, extends through the albumen, and positions itself just underneath the egg shell. The allantois becomes the primary respiratory organ of the developing embryo and remains such until just before pipping begins. The transfer of respiratory function from the allantois to the lungs begins three or four days before pipping. The transfer is gradual and is completed by the time the chick finishes pipping the egg shell.

The important thing to remember about embryonic respiration is that ventilation is important throughout the incubation process, especially toward the end, because the embryos are larger and respiring at a much higher rate than in the beginning.

So how should you set the dampers (air inlet and outlet regulators) in your incubator? Since there are so many different makes and models, it would be too difficult to attempt to recommend a procedure for each one. Instead, here are some general guidelines for proper ventilation:

  • The air exhausted from a hatcher or incubator should be vented      (ducted) to the outside of the building. This is especially true if the  incubator is located in a closed building or a small room. Such a venting system, if properly installed, provides added assurance that fresh air is  available to the developing embryos. Nearly all of the large commercial poultry hatcheries are set up with this type of venting system.

    Small, home-type incubators are usually not designed for easy installation of vent ducts and, therefore, are seldom used. Instead, one may find four      or five incubators operating in a 10′x12′ room, exhaust air spilling into the room, and intake air being pulled in from the same room. Sometimes all      the windows and doors will be closed to, as the owner says, “help hold the heat and humidity up in the incubator.”

    Restricting the room ventilatior may help with temperature and humidity control, but ventilation suffers. In such an instance, the incubators are      only able to circulate the stale, expelled air back through the machine  that the embryos reuse for respiration. Recirculating stale exhaust air      through the incubators can be reduced by placing the incubator in a large room with a few openings, or in a small room with a number of large      openings (windows or doors). The best way is to either duct the used exhaust air outside and provide enough openings for fresh air to enter the      room, or to provide plenty of openings for fresh air to enter and stale  exhaust air to easily escape.

  • The largest amount of air exchange is needed toward the end of the incubation period because the embryos are larger and respiring more.
  • On large commercial incubators the dampers are always in the  motion by slowly opening or closing unless they reach the point of being fully open or closed. Temperature inside the incubator regulates the opening and closing motion. If the thermostat is set on 100oF., the dampers begin to open when the temperature is above 100oF.,  and begin to close when the temperature is below 100oF. (The  dampers are set so they never completely close.) With this method of  control, the dampers tend to remain near the closed position during the winter months when colder air is being brought into the incubator.  Conversely, during the late spring, summer, and early fall months, the warmer intake air usually causes the dampers to stay about half to full  open. This same pattern fluctuates on a day-to-day basis in the spring by cool nights and hot days. During early embryonic development less heat is  given off by the embryo and, therefore, the dampers tend to close more than they would be with embryos in the latter stages of development.

The summary explanation for manual damper setting in single stage incubators is as follows:

  1. Provide more ventilation as the embryos grow larger and as the outside temperature increases.
  2. Provide approximately the same total size intake and exhaust openings (some incubators have one intake and two or more exhaust openings).
  3. Give as much attention to proper ventilation as you do to temperature, humidity, etc.
  4. Provide a way to get rid of the exhaust air, especially in small closed type incubator rooms, so that the machines can take in fresh clean air.
  5. If multiple egg settings are made in the incubator, causing the embryos to be in various stages of development, environmental changes have the greatest influence on the need for damper change. Unless the intake air is quite cool, the damper openings should not be set more than one-half closed if the machine is almost full of eggs.

How can you tell if ventilation is poor?

The first thing noticed may be a poor hatch. Lack of proper ventilation can contribute to low hatchability if, after examining numerous dead embryos in the shell, the following conditions are observed:

  1. The majority of embryos reach the 19th or 20th day of incubation.
  2. They are not dehydrated.
  3. They are not malpositioned.
  4. The unabsorbed egg yolks appear to be disease free.
  5. The wet bulb reading usually ran closer to 90oF. rather than 86oF.
  6. The heating element is seldom on during latter stages of incubation.
  7. The dampers are not as open as expected.

Egg Turning

Birds, including chickens and quail, turn their eggs during nest incubation. Nature provides nesting birds with the instinct and we know turning is necessary in incubating machines to attain full hatching potential of the eggs.

Do you know why egg turning is necessary for good hatching?

The albumen (white) of an egg contains virtually no fat particles and has a specific gravity near that of water. The yolk, however, has a relatively high fat content. Fats and oils have specific gravities lower than water and float on water. The egg yolk tries to do the same thing — float on the albumen. If an egg is left in one position, the yolk tends to float upward through the albumen toward the shell.

The developing embryo always rests on top of the yolk. When an egg is turned, the yolk turns in the albumen so the embryo is again positioned on top of the yolk. Nature probably does this so the embryo is always in the best position to receive body heat from the mother hen sitting on the eggs.

If the egg is not turned, the yolk tends to float upward toward the shell and pushes the embryo nearer the shell. If the yolk travels rises enough, the developing embryo is squeezed between the yolk and shell. The embryo can be damaged or killed. Turning the egg causes the yolk to be repositioned away from the shell, making it safe for the developing embryo until time to turn the egg again.

Strands of twisted albumen extend from the yolk into the albumen toward both the small and large ends of the egg. These strands are called chalazae. They help keep the yolk away from the shell. The chalazae hold the yolk firmly in the egg’s center until egg quality begins to deteriorate, as when an egg is placed in a 100oF. temperature incubator.

As the albumen becomes more watery, the chalazae lose their ability to hold the yolk in place, making it more important to turn the egg often after incubation begins. In general, the need for turning begins when eggs are set and remains until two or three days before the eggs begin pipping.

In large commercial incubators the eggs are turned automatically each hour, 24 hours a day. Eggs in small incubators in the home sometimes get turned only twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. If manual turning, it is best to turn the eggs for an odd number of times each day (i.e., 3, 5 or 7 times). The longest period that the egg remains in one position is during the night hours. Turning an odd number of times will alternate the nights that the same side of the egg is uppermost.

Some producers open an incubator, pull out a flat tray, and run their hands over the eggs. This, to them, is turning the eggs. Actually it is only stirring the eggs, because there is no definite way to tell if the eggs are just rolled around or if they actually end up in a different position. Many of the eggs may not get turned at all — just rolled around. Turning eggs in this manner can also crack the egg shells. Many chicks develop in eggs with cracked shells (only the shell, not the membranes) but not many will pip and completely hatch because dehydration occurs and makes the environment sticky. The chick doesn’t have enough strength to pip and free itself from this sticky environment.

If using a relatively small incubator, you work away from home, and can turn the eggs only a few times a day, mark X on the top side of each egg with a pencil or felt tip pen. Each time you turn the eggs, visually check to see if each egg is actually turned by making sure the X ends up on the opposite side from where it was before turning. If using a machine that turns the eggs automatically, the eggs should be turned at least once every two hours. If the turning system is manual, turn as often as practical. Try to allow an equal time on each side. Eggs should not be turned within three or four days of hatching. Chicks need to position themselves for pipping and do this better if allowed to remain still while that process takes place. The embryo is large enough by this time that it has used most of the yolk for food and is no longer in danger of being squeezed between the yolk and shell.

Hatchery Sanitation

All incubatior factors like temperature and humidity can be operating just right but poor hatchability can result because of poor sanitary practices. Poor sanitation causes not only poor hatch but subsequent early death loss during brooding. It can also cause a lingering morbidity problem that sometimes affect the birds during the grow-out period. Losses during the brooding and grow-out period caused by poor hatchery sanitation can cause more monetary loss than the loss from poor hatchability.

Let’s assume you are setting clean, well cared-for eggs.

The most important tools available for use in cleaning and disinfecting an incubator and hatcher are water, detergent, and elbow grease. Some people mistakenly think disinfecting agents are the answer to their problems. They think disinfectants can replace poor cleaning, but this simply is not true.

Remember this: It is almost impossible to disinfect a dirty environment. Why is this statement true? Because all disinfectants lose much of their effectiveness as soon as they come in contact with organic matter; the dirtier the surface being sanitized, the less effective the disinfectant being applied.

Some disinfectants are more effective in the presence of organic matter than others. Cresol, cresylic acid, and coal tar disinfectants are the most effective disinfectants in the presence of organic matter. Since they are corrosive and emit noxious and toxic gases, they are not normally used in incubators, but in cleaning and disinfecting bird houses and pens.

The most commonly used disinfectants in the hatchery are quaternary ammonia compounds (quats), multiple phenolics, and iodophors (iodine compounds).

Quaternary ammonia may be the most commonly used disinfectant for equipment like incubators and hatching trays because quats are relatively non-irritating, non-corrosive, of low toxicity, and reasonably effective in the presence of organic matter. Since the incubator and its components should be cleaned free of organic matter before applying a disinfectant, quats are a good choice.

Many hatcherymen use multiple phenolics. They have a wide germicidal range, low toxicity and corrosiveness, reasonably good effectiveness in the presence of organic matter, and good residual effect. The disadvantage is that multiple phenolics can cause a burning effect on the skin of anyone handling them in a strong solution or during a relatively long period of time. If using multiple phenolics at concentrations greater than the solution strength suggested on the label, wear rubber gloves for protection.

Iodophores have wide germicidal activity, good effectiveness in the presence of organic matter, and cost less than quats or multiple phenolics. The disadvantages are that it stains, is corrosive when in acid solution, and has only a slight residual activity.

A thorough cleaning job using plenty of elbow grease results in a 95 to 99 percent microbial removal. In such case, and when done often enough, little or no disinfectant is needed (assuming you are setting clean eggs). If, on the other hand, you are using a quick “hit or miss” system and a long time passes between thorough cleanup jobs, you are most likely falling short in disinfecting your machines. It is best to use a disinfectant following cleanup and maybe between cleanup jobs.

Fumigation is another method of disinfecting and is helpful when the cleaning is poor, the eggs are dirty, or the machines are filled with eggs, thus making it difficult to empty and clean properly. With clean eggs, machines, equipment, and intake air, fumigation is not needed.

Prepared by Dr. Robert L. Haynes, Retired Leader of Extension Poultry Science, and Dr. Tom W. Smith, Emeritus Professor of Poultry Science, MississippiStateUniversity.

Poultry Science Home Page

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

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Last modified: November 21, 2003.


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Dr. Tom W. Smith, Emeritus Professor of Poultry Science, Mississippi State University

The following solutions have been used as supportive treatments by poultry and game bird producers. They are intended as aids in treating the described conditions, not as a replacement for any management, drug, or antibiotic therapy.


Used as a general treatment for reducing distress conditions of birds (fever or listlessness) that accompanies many diseases.

Dissolve five (5 grain) aspirin tablets in one gallon of water.
Offer this solution free-choice to the birds for the duration of an illness. The solution aspirin equivalent to 25 grains/gallon or 324 mg/gallon of drinking water. The dosage rate is about 25 mg/lb body weight per day.


This solution can be used to treat young birds that show non-typical disease symptoms of poor growth. The solution can also be given to birds suffering from respiratory diseases that produce a large amount of mucus exudate. This solution will help “cut through” the mucus and allow it to be expelled easier.

Two quarts of apple cider vinegar diluted into 100 gallons of water (4 teaspoons/gallon)

The tannin in the apple cider vinegar aide in removing any mucus or coating from the mouth, throat, or intestinal tract. Nutrients and drugs are more readily absorbed. Offer this solution as the only drinking water source for two to three day intervals.


Use this solution as a treatment for mycosis (mold infection) in the crop. An alternate name for the condition is “Thrush”. Use the solution as a “follow-up” treatment after flushing with epsom salt solution–refer to the section for LAXATIVE SOLUTIONS.

Dissolve .5 lb copper sulfate and .5 cup vinegar into 1 gallon of water for a “stock” solution.
Dispense stock solution at the rate of 1 oz per gallon for the final drinking solution.

An alternate method of preparing the solution is:

Dissolve 1 oz copper sulfate and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 15 gallons water. Use either solution as the sole water source during the course of the disease outbreak. Copper sulfate is often referred to as “bluestone”.


This procedure has been used to destroy pathogenic organisms such as Mycoplasma spp. that can be carried on the hatching eggs. The procedure must be conducted exactly as described, and is not intended as a routine hatching egg treatment. The procedure is only used in unusual situations.

The antibiotic solution contains 500 ppm gentamycin sulfate (1 gram per 2 liters of water) or 1 gram tylosin per liter of water. The hatching eggs must be carefully washed, rinsed, and sanitized prior to treatment. The eggs are then prewarmed to 100 degrees F. for 3-6 hours and immediately submerged into the antibiotic solution that has been previously cooled to 60 degrees F. The eggs are left in the antibiotic solution for 15 minutes before being placed into the incubator.

After each day’s use, the solution must be sterilized by heating to 160 degrees and maintained for 10 minutes. Any water lost during sterilization must be replaced. Refrigerate the solution in a clean covered container between uses to prevent bacterial contamination. Do not use or store solutions for more than three days after dilution.


The following solutions or mixtures are recommended to flush the digestive system of toxic substances, most notably for treating birds exposed to botulism toxins.

Molasses Solution

Add one pint of molasses to 5 gallons of water Offer the drinking solution free-choice to the affected birds for about four hours. Treat severely affected birds individually if they cannot drink. Return the birds to regular water after the treatment period.

As a supportive treatment for symptoms resulting from Cryptosporidia infection, often referred to as coronaviral enteritis, use:

One quart molasses in 20 gallons of water.

Offer this solution free-choice for a period of up to 7-10 days. It is assumed that the molasses replaces certain minerals lost from diarrhea during the course of the infection.

Epsom Salt Solution

1 lb Epsom Salt per 15 lb feed


1 lb Epsom Salt per 5 gallons water for 1 day

Give the epson salt feed mixture as the sole feed source for a one day period. This feed can be used only if the birds are eating. If the birds are not eating, use the water solution. If the birds are unable to eat or drink by themselves, use individual treatment with:

1 teaspoon of Epsom Salt in 1 fl oz water.

Place the solution in the crop of the affected bird. This same amount of solution will treat 5-8 quail or one chicken.

Castor Oil Therapy

Dose individual birds with .5 oz castor oil.


The following solutions can be used as supplements to diets that are deficient in certain amino acids, energy, or vitamins and electrolytes. They are used only as temporary additives and not intended as part of a regular feeding program.

Amino Acid Solution

100 grams (7 fl oz) dl-methionine and 110 grams (6 fl oz) l-lysine HCl dissolved in 50 gallons water.
2 grams (.8 tsp) dl-methionine and 2.2 grams (.7 tsp) l-lysine HCl in one gallon of water

Offer the solution free-choice to the birds as an aide to reducing the depressing effects of low-protein diets. Make up a fresh solution daily and offer to birds in clean waterers. All measurements in parentheses () are volumetric measurements while those expressed in grams are weight measurements.

Sucrose Solution

10 ounces of granulated sugar per gallon of water.

This solution may be given as an energy treatment for weak chicks. Offer the solution as the only water source for the first 7-10 days. Clean the drinkers and replace with fresh solution at least once daily. The solution shown above contains eight percent sugar and approximately 2000 kilocalories per gallon.

Vitamin & Electrolyte Solution

This solution can be used to reduce the effects of stresses caused by subclinical diseases, transporting, management errors, etc. Dilute a commercial vitamin/electrolyte packet into the prescribed amount of water. Use as the only source of drinking water until the stress problem has been corrected.


The following treatments have been shown to be effective for eliminating internal parasites from poultry and game birds. Neither of these drugs (fenbendazole or leviamisole) has been approved for use by FDA, so the producer accepts all responsibility for their use. Both drugs have been very effective if used properly and will eliminate most types of internal parasites that affect birds. Caution: Do not use with birds producing eggs or meat destined for human consumption.

Fenbendazole Treatments

One-day Treatment

1 oz Safeguard or Panacur per 15-20 lb feed

Dissolve the fenbendazole product in one cup of water. Mix this solution well into the feed and give to the birds as their only feed source for one day. When completely consumed, untreated feed can be given. Be sure that the commercial medication contains 10% fenbendazole.

Safeguard is a product of Ralston Purina, and Panacur is a product marketed by American Hoechst. One ounce of medication will treat about 1000 10-oz bobwhite quail. Adjustments of the amounts of medication and feed needed may be necessary depending on the number and size of the birds.

Three-Day Treatment

1.2 oz Safeguard or Panacur in 100 lb feed


4 oz pkt of “Worm-A-Rest Litter Pack” (Ralston Purina) in 50 lb feed


5 lb bag of “Worm-A-Rest Mix Pack” in 495Lb feed.

Feed all the medicated feeds free-choice for three consecutive days. The feed mixtures provide 75 ppm fenbendazole. Quail will receive about 1.7 mg/bird each day for adult birds or 2.75 mg/lb of bodyweight.

Fenbendazole has been shown to be a very effective treatment for eliminating Capillaria (capillary worms), Heterakis (cecal worms), Ascaridia (roundworms), and Syngamus spp. (gapeworms). Toxicity from overdosing with fenbendazole is very remote. Research indicates that amounts up to 100 times the recommended dosages have been given under research conditions without adverse effects to the birds. Use of this product during molt, however, may cause deformity of the emerging feathers.

Leviamisole Solutions

52 gram (1.84 oz) pkt Tramisol in 100 gallons water


13 gram (.46 oz) pkt Tramisol in 25 gallons water


52 gram (1.84 oz) pkt in 3 qt water (stock solution)

Dissolve the 52 gram packet of “Tramisol Cattle and Sheep Wormer” or the 13 gram packet of “Tramisol Sheep Drench Powder” into the appropriate amount of water. If the stock solution is used with a water proportioner, be sure that the stock solution is dispensed at the rate of 1 oz/gallon in the drinking water.

Any of the solutions are effective at treating Capillaria (capillary worms), Heterakis (cecal worms), and Ascaridia (roundworms). The solutions contain .5 gram of leviamisole per gallon of water. Allow the birds to drink the solution for one day, then remove. In severe cases, the treatment can be repeated every 5-7 days.


Mite and Lice Body Spray Solution

Dissolve into 10 gallons of water:

6.5 fl oz 10% Permethrin EC


11.5 fl oz 5.7% Permethrin EC


2.5 fl oz 25% Permethrin EC


1.5 lb 25% Malathion wettable powder


5.3 oz 57% Malathion EC


.75 lb 50% Carbaryl (Sevin) wettable powder

Spray birds thoroughly to wet the skin and feathers. Pay particular attention to the vent area of the birds. Each gallon of spray will treat 75-100 adult leghorn-type laying hens or 250-300 adult quail. A second treatment can be applied about four weeks after the first application if necessary. The walls, ceiling, and litter of the house can be sprayed with these solutions to kill individual insects not on the birds.

Mites, Lice, and Housefly Residual Spray

Dissolve one of the following in 10 gallons of water.

1 quart 5.7% Permethrin EC


1 pint 10% Permethrin EC


6 oz 25% Permethrin wettable powder


3 lb 25% Malathion wettable powder


10 fl oz 57% Malathion EC

Apply the permethrin spray to all ceilings, walls, roosts, nests, cracks, and crevices at the rate of one gallon for every 750 square feet. One application will be effective for at least three weeks.Malathion sprays are used as residual sprays to ceilings, walls, roosts, litter, and any dark location that is difficult to reach. Malathion sprays are applied at the rate of one gallon for every 500-750 square feet. Malathion is not recommended for fly control, but is usually effective when used in combination with body sprays for mites and lice.


These solutions will reduce or eliminate slime and most disease organisms in water, drinkers, and water lines.

For Constant Use

1 teaspoon chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) in 5 gallons of drinking water

This solution provides 11 ppm chlorine for sanitizing. The birds will drink the water and not be harmed by drinking it. They may need a short time to become accustomed to this solution. A more dilute solution with half the above level of bleach can be offered for a few days before using the 11 ppm solution. Clean the waterers thoroughly each day to get the best effect.

Weekly Sanitizing Rinse Solution

1 oz Chlorine Bleach in 6-8 gallons water Rinse, soak, or expose equipment to this solution. Let stand at least one hour, then rinse with fresh water. This solution contains equivalent to 45 ppm chlorine. The procedure is most effective if conducted on a weekly basis. Remember, chlorine disinfectants are inactivated by organic matter. Clean all equipment well before using chlorine rinse solutions.


Clean waterers prior to vaccination. Deprive the birds of drinking water beginning one hour in hot weather and two hours in moderate or cold weather. Mix 3.2 oz powdered skimmed milk packet or equivalent into ten gallons of water. The milk neutralizes the small amount of chlorine or sanitizer present in many water sources.

Follow the vaccine manufacturer’s mixing instructions for dilution level. Administer vaccine-water solution in the waterers immediately after mixing. All the vaccine solution must be consumed within 15-20 minutes if good immunization is expected.


Trade names have been used in an effort to make the information contained herein more useful. No endorsement of named products is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products that are not mentioned.


Observing Your Birds In Cages To Assess Their General Condition

Observing Your Birds In Cages To Assess Their General Condition

By Ritzelle Maria Q. Capili, DVM

External manifestations

  • Birds should have a well-rounded and bright eye; slightly oval eyes means that birds are not fully alert.
  • Any bird that spends all its time huddled in a corner, taking no notice of an observer, is near death.
  • Mostly, if not always, by the time one realizes that a bird is coming down with an infection, it is usually sick.
  • Twisting of the neck (torticollis), paddling (circling), paralysis and spasms may indicate Vit B or E deficiency, infectious disease or poisoning.

Character of the droppings

  • ALWAYS examine fresh droppings dark-colored central part from the rectum and off- white colored surrounding portion consisting mainly of urate crystals from the kidneys.
  • Blood in the droppings may come from the intestines, rectum, cloaca or oviduct: may indicate ulceration, bacterial, viral or protozoal infection of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Yellow droppings may be associated with cholera or typhoid infection.

Breathing abnormalities

  • A dyspneic, gasping bird (difficulty in breathing) may not have a respiratory infection, but is certainly sick.
  • Blue discoloration (cyanosis) on the head region may indicate chronic viral respiratory infections.
  • Change in voice, which becomes harsh, or a change in pitch may indicate a problem in the upper respiratory tract.
  • Clicking or asthmatic noises (rales and wheezing) may be of viral, bacterial or fungal cause.

Physical examination of the restrained bird

Plumage (Feathers)

  • Should be free from external parasites like mites, lice


  • Swelling just above the eye may be evidence of sinusitis.
  • Brown, crusty eruptions around the eyelids and beak may be due to Fowl Pox
  • Mareks disease can cause tumors in the pupil and iris of the eye.
  • Foaming of the eye is common with many viral mycoplasmal or parasitic infections.


  • Cracking of the beak may be due to trauma or Vit A deficiency.
  • Abnormal beak formation may be due to Vit D, Calcium, Biotin and Vit B-complex.


  • Pectoral muscle should he symmetrical upon palpation.

On Tapeworms

  • Aim of satisfactory treatment: complete removal of both adult and larval stage
  • If destrobilization only occurred, the intact scolex is likely to regenerate another body in about 3 WEEKS.
  • Examination of the host’s feces for tapeworm segments is advised at 3-4 weeks following initial drug treatment

Causes of diseases

  • INFECTIOUS: bacteria, virus, fungi parasite, protozoa
  • NON-INFECTIOUS: mechanical (trauma), thermal (chilling, heat stress), nutritional (vitamin deficiencies, nutritional imbalance), metabolic, genetic, toxic, neoplastic, immunologic, aging, idiopathic (unknown cause).

Common clinical signs of digestive problems

  • Innapatence: birds stop consuming feeds.
  • Diarrhea; normal digestion is disrupted (usually first seen as inflammation of the cloaca).
  • Dehydration
  • Uneven growth rate of flock: mixture of healthy and stunted birds due to varying immune competence.
  • Pale shanks, feather abnormalities, improper bone growth: result of inadequate absorption of vitamins and minerals.

On Coccidiosis

  • Young birds (2-4 weeks) are more susceptible; sick and recovered birds may shed infection and become a carrier.

On Salmonella infection

  • Can he acquired via eggs of infected hens.
  • Infected chicks via egg or hatchery die during the first few days of life (up to 2-3 weeks of age).

Common signs of respiratory disturbances

  • Quiet and less active birds
  • Snicking and clicking
  • Swelling of eyelids
  • Rales and coughing, watery discharges from eyes and nostrils caused by excess mucus in the trachea
  • Difficulty in breathing with necks extended and beak open

On Fowl Pox

  • Dry lesions: occur on skin, head, legs- enlarged and filled with fluid, may blend together and turn dark brown or black
  • Wet lesions: occur in the pharyngeal area and upper GIT-interfere with breathing


General Care of Penned Cocks

General Care of Penned Cocks

by Texan (1973)

It seems that quite a number of people have written their method of feeding their fowl, and a few comments on the general care of their penned fowl. Country walks are nonexistent in this area and the few I was able to find were not satisfactory. This forced me to pen walks and I treid quite a few before I was satisfied.

My basic feed for my penned fowl and hens of the yard was the same, but varied a little. I used 1/3 clipped white oats, 1/3 good scratch feed, 1/3 laying pellets, plus 10 percent calf manna. In the summer time, 1/2 oatsm 1/4 scratch feed and 1/4 egg pellets, plus 10 percent calf manna; quite frequently (about twice a week) I substituted 10 percent rabbit pellets for the calf manna, due to their high alfalfa content. About twice a week I put cod liver oil over the grain feed until it glistens when you stir it with a stick. I never liked the smell of cod liver oil on my hands, but Lava soap will remove most of the odor. I used this cod liver oil especially during the moult, but also the rest of the year. The shiny plumage, red heads and slick feet and general well being made the extra work worthwhile.

Oats are a must in my feeding, and I mixed a little in my broiler mash for my young chicks. When about 10 days old I used medicated broiler mash from start to finish on my young ones, and like the way they did. I wormed my fowl, but never did that as frequently as I should have.

My space was limited and I found by experience not to raise any great number of fowl and had very little sickness or loss of fowl. I violated that rule one year and it cost me dearly. I found it was better not to raise my chicks on wire for when I put them on the ground; they had no resistance to disease. It is better to lose the chicks (if you had to) at an early age of one to three weeks, than three months as you have very little invested in them at that time.

If you have plenty of grass in your yards you are fortunate. I did not so I fed lettuce leaves two or three times a week and fed the penned cocks smaller pieces. To make sure the hens on the yard cleaned the leaves up, I would leave the leaves in several boxes under shade trees, by night the boxes were bare. This also prevented the lettuce from getting dirty. It was quite a sight to see several hens in the boxes and of course every so often they would have to fight a little. I kept the spurs sawed off my hens. Fortunately, my hens did not all have spurs. I never did agree with the theory that your hens had to be spurred to produce good pit cocks. They did produce more blinker hens on the yard than I liked.

I never bred hens that were vicious and fought all of the time. Both my hens and brood cocks were selected for good disposition as well as good conformation. “Like father, like son” as the old saying goes, and that is where your manfighters come from. I did not keep any manfighters, for you are fooling yourself. The ones I have seen fight turned on their handlers when hurt in the pit. The final touch to the above statement was the time when a friend and I fought one together and when he turned on his handler and got killed, the price of that lesson was $40 plus the two years in raising that cock. The mother of that cock was mean and excitable and her son took after her. Needless to say I disposed of all of them. Life is too short to put up with a manfighting cock and when that happened my red headed grandpa came to life in me and disposed of him.

In feeding mt penned cocks, I used a snuff can (that used to sell for a dime) and this twice a day. This can held 1 3/4 ounces of fed per cock, per day. If a cock left any feed I cut the feed down the next time around or gave him none at all if too much was left on the ground. It was hard to tell that for the sparrows cleaned it up in short order, so I had to check when I got through feeding the last cock. I usually fed a known slow eater first, so that I could check on him when I finished feeding the others.


(Antiprotozoal) Trichomoniasis Canker Treatment: (Spondias) Sineguela

(Antiprotozoal) Trichomoniasis Canker Treatment: (Spondias) Sineguela.

Management Diseases



Caged Layer Fatigue

 Cage layer fatigue is a condition that is unique to hens that are in a high state of egg production, primarily caged layer hens. The cause of the condition is thought to be associated in an imbalance of minerals/electrolytes in the body.

Rickets and abnormal bones in adult birds is commonly present. In layers under thirty weeks of age, the cause is usually a temporary calcium deficiency when egg production reaches eighty percent or higher. If intake of calcium does not satisfy the need for egg production, the hen will remove calcium stored in the bones. Ultimately, osteoporosis develops, bones become soft and hens are subject to bone fractures. Crippled and unable to stand, the hen suffers from the caged fatigue symptoms.

Many hens show spontaneous recovery if removed from the cages and allowed to walk normally on the floor. This indicates that a lack of exercise may be a partial cause. Cage layer fatigue is more prevalent in single-hen cages than in multiple-hen cages. When two or more hens are caged together, they get more exercise because of competition for feed and water.

Supplementation of the diet with phosphate, calcium and vitamin D3 is usually helpful. Adding calcium to young birds by top-dressing the feed with twenty pounds of oyster shell or limestone per one thousand hens will often help the condition. In older hens, calcium deficiency is less likely than phosphorus or vitamin D3 deficiencies. Recommended treatment in these birds is to remove the hens from cages and top-dress feed with equivalent level of dicalcium phosphate. Adding a vitamin/electrolyte supplement to drinking water is recommended in any age bird suffering from this condition.

Flocks that do not respond to the above therapy should be submitted to a poultry disease diagnostic laboratory to determine the cause of the problems. Several diseases can cause symptoms similar to caged layer fatigue. Flock treatment for the condition can be prescribed after diagnosis is completed.

Fatty Liver Hemorrhagic Syndrome

 Fatty liver syndrome is a condition that affects only hens. The basic cause is thought to be excessive dietary energy intake. Hereditary tendencies vary among various strains of egg production stock, but heredity is not the entire cause for this malady. Laying hens housed in cages are most often affected since they are less able to get sufficient exercise and dispose of the extra dietary energy.

Birds within a flock that are most often affected are the high producers. This indicates that physiological energy metabolism and production are closely associated with this condition. Mortality varies considerably among flocks but can become excessive in some cases. Lesions include accumulation of large amount of abdominal fat; enlarged, easily damaged liver and presence of blood clots that indicate that hemorrhages have occurred prior to death. Death usually is caused by a fatal internal hemorrhage originating in a portion of the liver. This hemorrhage is often caused as the hen is straining to lay her egg and the enlarged, friable liver is more vulnerable to injury. When a large blood vessel ruptures, sufficient blood is lost to cause death of the hen.

The primary treatment for this condition requires an alteration of the diet or amount of dietary energy consumed. Replacement of some of the corn in the diet with lower energy feedstuffs like wheat bran can provide a lower energy diet. If a complete layer ration is being fed, addition of vitamins can be of benefit. If grains are the primary feedstuff, it is suggested that the birds be switched to a complete layer diet. Control of body fat is the only successful remedy for this condition and is best accomplished by regulation and reduction of total energy intake.


 Cannibalism is prevalent among chickens of all ages and can become a serious problem if not corrected early. The problem is most severe when birds are housed in close confinement. In most cases it is a vice that progresses from a minor stimulus and soon becomes a severe problem.

Many causes are thought to initiate the problem but it is not understood why it is uncontrollable in some cases but never becomes a problem in other situations. Cannibalism may start as toe picking in baby chicks; feather picking in growing birds; or head, tail and vent picking in older birds. The early symptoms of a cannibalism problem may be difficult to detect. It is necessary that the poultry man be on constant guard to detect any aggressive behavior and take necessary management changes before the problem progresses into a severe case of cannibalism.

Causes that can result in cannibalism include:

· High density of birds within a confined area,

· Brooding chicks at temperatures that are too warm,

· Small or weak chicks, especially those having oddly colored down or feathers,

· Exposing birds to light that is too intense or having a color that induces aggression,

· Restriction of feed or water intake,

· Feeding a diet with a deficiency of salt or sulfur-containing amino acids (protein),

· Allowing dead birds to remain exposed to the flock,

· Lack of or absence of properly designed nest boxes.


Regardless of the cause, some method of preventing this vice must be used. The most common procedure to reduce cannibalism is to debeak the birds. Birds grown in houses with very low light intensity may not require debeaking. Those grown in houses receiving normal daylight should be debeaked at the hatchery or within the first two weeks after hatching. This helps reduce the incidence of feather picking that often develops into a severe case of cannibalism.

A special method of hot debeaking has been developed for debeaking broiler chicks at one day of age. Rather than severing or cutting the beak, a hot blade is used to burn an area near the tip of the upper beak (egg tooth). The procedure is designed to leave a thin base to the tip of the upper beak. This makes it easier for the chick to eat without having a sensitive, raw beak. The tip of the upper beak gradually drops off without apparent injury to the chick, thus leaving a shortened upper beak and a normal lower mandible.

Reducing the mortality is a primary concern that responds well to adequate floor space. Birds should not be crowded but instead, provide sufficient room so that weaker birds can escape from those that are more aggressive. Reducing the amount of floor space usually results in increased mortality and reduced growth rate. Not only is there a monetary loss involving the cost of the chick, but the value of the feed, labor, and other items necessary to grow a chick until the time of death is a direct loss. There is also the lost profit that could have been earned if the dead birds had lived until market or egg production age.



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