Chickens can get 180 different poultry diseases – one of them causes swollen eyes in chickens – it is called ” Infectious Coryza” and once a chicken has it the bird is a carrier for life. It is caused and transmitted by dirty litter and over crowding – it can also be passed to younger birds very easily from older chickens. You will see the eyes of the chicken swelling up and the bird sitting hunched up – it affects the respiratory tract – so the chicken will be sneezing and will have a rasp in the throat, rattling – or a wheeze. The chicken will stop eating.
In bad cases of this poultry disease both of the chickens eyes will close – and this means that the hen or broiler will not be able to see – and therefore not be able to drink – you will need to give the chicken water with a syringe – or dip their beaks into the drinker – every hour until the chickens eyes open.
Infectious Coryza is treated with Sulphachloropyrazine Sodium or the other name is ESB 3. It comes in a powder form and is mixed with water – they will need to be treated for 3 – 6 days. You can see in the photo that the chicken is so dehydrated that it’s tongue is hard and cemented to the bottom beak – that is because both of the chickens eyes are swollen shut and she has not had water for some time – you will need to get water into the hen or broiler as soon as possible. This poultry disease, once your chicken is infected, cannot be got rid of. The bird will always be a carrier of the disease – so any new chickens coming on to your farm should not be housed close to the poultry houses that have had infected chickens – and good bio security practices must be followed.
Once you have started this chicken medication you will not be able to eat the eggs from the layer for 3 days after treatment – and in broilers you will not be able to eat the chicken for 6 days afterwards. To prevent this your chicken houses or chicken coop must be spotless and free of infection before placing new birds – this means a complete scrub out of your poultry house with disinfectant and leaving the chicken house closed for at least 30 days – 60 days is better. If you are free ranging the poultry disease can be in the soil around the house – it is most easily passed through the water and dropping – fly’s can also transfer the chicken disease from hen to hen. Leave enough space between your chicken houses, and make sure you have a foot bath with chemical between each chicken coop. Don’t let other people on to your farm, and if you have to make sure they wear gumboots from your farm and properly wash before and after visiting the chicken farm. You should not visit other chicken farms as you will pass the poultry disease on.
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Infectious Coryza shows when the chickens eyes are swollen. If you are watching your chickens properly you will see the first signs of the poultry disease show as the chicken blowing little bubble from her nose – this is the first sign – if you catch it then and treat with chicken medication this poultry disease can be stopped before you end up with chickens whose eyes swell up. Left untreated, this bird sickness can spread rapidly through your chicken house, and the chickens will die if left untreated. If the chickens are not reponding to treatment after 6 days it is advisable to inject the chicken with medication – usually poultry antibiotics. This is not what is known as dikkop in South Africa.