How to keep your birds free of chicken pox

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What cures fowl pox in small chicks?

Chicken pox or fowl pox is a viral disease caused by a virus. The disease is common in birds such as chickens, turkeys and pigeons.

Dry form: There are two forms of chicken pox in chickens – dry form and wet form. Chicken with the dry form of the disease have wounds that resemble warts on the parts of the bird’s body that have no feathers such as the comb, wattle, ear lobes, eyes and even the feet. This form of the disease is transmitted by insects such as mosquitoes. Birds affected by the dry form of chicken pox usually recover in a few weeks without treatment.

Wet form: The second form of chicken pox or wet form is spread if the birds inhale the virus, which causes the bird to form a false lining of the tissue in the mouth, pharynx and the windpipe (trachea). Yellowish patches appear in the bird’s mouth.

The wet form of the disease is much more serious than the dry form. Fowl pox spreads slowly and a flock may be affected by the disease for several months without visible symptoms. The main symptoms to look for are:

• Affected birds are retarded in growth.

• Laying birds reduce their egg production.

• All the birds have difficulties in eating and breathing.


Like in all viral diseases, there is no treatment for chicken pox once the chicken are infected. If the birds have a strong immune system, they can survive the disease. The first line of defense against chicken pox is therefore prevention through vaccination and improved hygiene in the poultry sheds. Sick birds should be separated from those that appear to be healthy and provided supportive care to improve chances of their recovery.

All layers should be vaccinated.

If the mosquito population is high, all broilers should be vaccinated to protect them against infection. Chicks should also be vaccinated from day one through the wing-web method (under their wings). Vaccination offers long term immunity to the birds.

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