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3 Common Chicken Diseases Every Chicken Keeper Should Know About (and How to Treat Them)

1. Pullorum
This disease impacts chicks and older birds differently. The chicks will show no signs of activity, have a white paste all over their backsides, and show signs of breathing difficulty. Though some will die with no signs at all.

However, in older birds, you will see sneezing and coughing on top of poor laying skills.

This is a viral disease. It can be contracted through contaminated surfaces and other birds that have become carriers of the disease. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this disease and all birds that contract the disease should be put down and the carcass destroyed so no other animal will pick up the disease.

2. Avian Influenza
Avian Influenza is most commonly known as the bird flu. It was one of my initial fears of owning chickens because all you hear about on the news is how people get sick with bird flu from their chickens. However, after knowing the symptoms you’ll be able to put that fear to rest.

You need to know how to act quickly if you are afraid your backyard birds have come in contact with it.

So the signs you will notice will include respiratory troubles. Your chickens will quit laying. They will probably develop diarrhea. You may notice swelling in your chicken’s face and that their comb and wattle are discolored or have turned blue.

And they may even develop dark red spots on their legs and combs.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine and the chickens infected will always be carriers. Wild animals can even carry the disease from bird to bird.

Once your birds get this disease, they need to be put down and the carcass destroyed. And you will need to sanitize any area that the birds were in before ever introducing a new flock.
Use great caution because this disease can make humans sick.

And here is a great resource about avian influenza for all backyard chicken keepers. Hopefully, this will help to put your mind at rest about this disease and your backyard flock.

3. Bumblefoot
Bumblefoot is a disease that you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at when you see it.

It begins by your chicken accidentally cutting its foot on something. It can happen when they are digging in the garden, scratching around in mulch, and so many other ways. But then the cut gets infected. And the chicken’s foot will begin to swell. It can even swell up the leg.

So you can treat it by performing surgery. If not, the infection will eventually take over the chicken and claim its life.

Obviously, bumblefoot can happen very easily and there isn’t much you can do to prevent besides just keep a close eye on your chickens’ feet. If you notice they have a cut then be sure to wash and disinfect it to prevent this disease from setting up.

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