Poultry Disease


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hen with swollen eyes

Dehydrated and hunched

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.

Infectious Coryza - swollen chicken eyes

Swollen eyes

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.

Picture of chicken with swollen eye

Both eyes shut

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.

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.

5 Responses to Poultry Disease

  1. nahlan says:

    at what age do broilers get infectious coryza at least!

    • Infectious Coryza affects birds as young as 3 weeks old. It is a bacteria – it will show in their breathing as it is an infection that happens in the reparatory system. It can be treated but not cured – the hen will always carry the disease. It is treated with an anti-biotic, which will help a lot. It mostly affects layers and pullets but broilers can also get this disease. In broilers, if left untreated it can also lead to airsaculitis, infectious Bronchitis and fibrinopurulent cellulitis.

      The best is to catch it early and I have seen that if you notice your birds sneezing, or stuff coming out of the nose (nasal discharge), and you treat it then – the birds survive and thrive. Mostly it manifests when the chickens are stressed – like on the day they are placed after being on the back of a truck. It is best to separate these birds immediately. Also – do not mix birds of different ages, and when you get new layers on your farm make sure you wash your hands and boots before you go from poultry house to poultry house.

      Other poultry diseases include – Egg Drop Syndrome, Chicken Infectious Anaemia, Avian Encephalomyelitis, Avian Influenza, Fowl Pox, Chicken Infectious Anaemia, Infectious Bursal Disease, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Infectious Laryngotracheitis, Marek’s Disease, Pasteurella multocida, Salmonella infections, Newcastle Disease, Paramyxovirus 3, Infectious Bronchitis, Paramyxovirus 3, Reovirus Infections – and the hardest part is actually diagnosing the problem – and often the chickens will be affected with more than one chicken disease.

  2. Edith Simmons says:

    I have had 1 hen to die ,and now another one has a bad eye. Will I loose all my hens? I am giving then aueramycin.

    • Swollen eyes on your chickens – act quickly or your entire flock will get it. How many chickens do you have together? Are they layers or are they broiler chickens? How old are they? Do you have different ages of birds close together? I would separate the sick birds in a different hutch. I would look at all the birds – look for watery eyes and for bubbles or moisture (nasal discharge) coming from their nares (the two holes in the top of the beak) – this will tell you if the bird is getting sick. I would spray the entire house down with disinfectant – call a company called Immunovet – tell them the symptoms and ask which kinds of disinfectants for chicken houses.
      I would also give all the birds some kind of vitamin supplement – like stress packs -(you should be doing this every month or so for layers anyway). Make sure you have footbaths at every entrance to every chicken coop – especially now that you have sick birds in a new place. After working with the hens or broilers make sure that you wash your hands afterwards as this chicken disease that causes swollen eyes is easily transmitted by contact.
      Were your chickens inoculated – did they have their vaccinations when you bought the layers (supplier should have done it) – and even the broilers should have been vaccinated. If you raised the chickens and hatched them yourself – you should have vaccinated them – speak to Immunovet!

      My free range hens got swollen eyes – the chickens, I found out later, had not been vaccinated – it quickly spread to my other chickens because they were different ages and too close together. By acting quickly and putting the sick birds, and the chickens that were getting sick, into my chicken hospital, I managed to save most of them. Every day I gave them Fosbac – and I rinsed their eyes , and the nares (nasel holes), with a very weak mixture of Savlon and water. This will help keep those holes clear so they can breathe – and keep their eyes open so they can see. If both of the chickens eyes swell up the hen will not be able to see – and you will have to feed the bird by hand – they cannot see the water and food – you will have to help them with both feed and water twice a day. I also used a traditional medicine made with chillies (they eat it) and gave them plenty of fresh lettuce and spinach and any other kind of vegetables I grow on my farm – (not too much cabbage, no avocado pears and no potatoes). Good luck.

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