Common Poultry Diseases

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Fowl Coccidiosis

This disease is caused by a protozoan parasite of the intestine and can cause very heavy losses in poultry particularly up to the age of 12 weeks.

  • The chicks lose weight and their appetites.
  • Their feathers become ruffled and soiled.
  • Combs are pale and they tend to huddle together in corners.
  • Droppings are watery and greenish or brown in colour often containing blood.

Ranikhet Disease

A highly infectious and fatal viral disease, it attacks poultry of all ages. Also known as New Castle disease.

  • Inactivity, droopiness and sleepiness.
  • Pale combs and wattles which later turn blue.
  • Full and distended crop.
  • Gasping for air, wheezing and coughing.
  • Green diarrhoea with foul odour.
  • The head may be twisted to the side, drawn back or down between the legs.
  • Convulsions, paralysis and incoordination.


Fowl Pox:

A viral disease that can affect birds at any age resulting in high mortality rates.

  • Formation of greyish spots or blisters on wattles which after several days enlarge and develop into wartlike eruptions with scales.
  • Removal of scales results in rough, raw bleeding wounds.
  • Formation of hard crust in 10-14 days.

Fowl Coryza

A bacterial disease contaminated through feed, water and by contact through carriers.

  • Watery discharge from eyes and nose and sometimes sticking of eyelids.
  • Noticeable difficulty in breathing, shaking of head and wheezing.
  • Odorous, cheesy droppings.
  • Soiled feathers under the wings with fowl odour.


Worm Infestation:

Internal parasitic worms are common in poultry and will always be present in small numbers. However, when present in excess they can seriously affect the health and productivity of birds.

External Parasites:

There are many different external parasities harboured by poultry. The commonest are mites, fleas, lice and ticks.

  • Chickens are restless and nervous.
  • Chickens peck at their own feathers.
  • Pale combs and wattles.
  • Low egg production.

Fowl Cholera:

A bacterial disease contaminated mostly through feed and water.

Acute Form:

  • Sudden death without any visible symptoms.
  • Diarrhoea and fever.

Chronic Form:

  • Swelling of the wattles followed by wrinkles.
  • Painful abcesses in the joint of legs and lameness.


Marek’s Disease

The disease is caused by a virus which is spread from an infected chicken to a non-infected one through the air, poultry dust, by contact, sometimes faeces. Greatest susceptibility from 6-26 weeks of age.

  • Paralysis of legs and/or wings
  • Laboured breathing
  • Whistling and circling movements
  • Unilateral and bilateral blindness.
  • On postmortem examination whitish nodules in muscles of thigh, neck, kidneys, testes and in ovaries are seen.


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