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How to control common diseases and pests that affect poultry

By Alex Wachira
Eston Manegene and Ceasar Macharia inspect chicken at Macharia’s home in Mutuanjogu. Photo: JOSEPH MUCHIRI


Ways to control common diseases affecting poultry as highlighted by include:

Gumboro/infectious bursal disease

1. Restricting movement of people into the farm, and paths heading to the farm entrance.

2. Isolation of new birds for observation before mixing with the flock.

3. Vaccination of chickens against Gumboro by buying vaccine available in most agro vets.

4. Buying chicks from farms that vaccinate their breeding stock against Gumboro so as to protect chicks during the first 10-14days post-hatching.

5. Isolating sick birds

6. Contacting your veterinary immediately any signs of infection are noted.

Fowl Pox

1. Restricting movement of people into and out of the farm, disinfection of equipment, watering and feeding troughs and quarantine of new birds brought to the flock.

2. Control of mosquitoes and other blood-sucking arthropods is also important.

3. Vaccinating day-old chicks and unaffected adult birds using the wing-stab method.

4. Cleaning and disinfecting the house and equipment at the end of each crop and rest it for one to two weeks.

5. Isolating sick birds, cleaning and disinfecting waterers, feeders and chicken house daily.

Fowl Typhoid

1. Vaccinating the birds at seven weeks of age.

2. Destroying all dead birds by burning.

3. Not allowing visitors to enter into the poultry unit without being disinfected.

Fowl Cholera

1. Birds with acute type should be destroyed and burned.

2. House should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 

3. Treatment with recommended Sulphur drugs is effective. 

4. Ensuring there is no wet litter is important, which provides ideal conditions for coccidian.

New Castle Disease

1. Vaccination of chicks at three to four weeks of age which is repeated at 16 weeks of age and at the 24th week.  Thereafter, vaccination is done three times a year and when there is an outbreak in the area.

2. Prevention can be achieved through cleaning and disinfecting chicken houses and equipment. For commercial farms, there is a need to restrict the entry of people into the chicken house. 

3. Chicken being most affected, there is a need to reduce contact between chicken and other poultry such as ducks, turkeys, pigeons.


Sulfur drugs are normally used for treatment, use of coccidiostat in feed and always ensuring dry litter are other controls.

Pullorum Disease

1. Destroying all confirmed carriers of the disease.

2. Cleaning and disinfecting all the premises and incubators.

3. Getting chicks from hatcheries with a good disease control program.

Poultry pests

Pests that attack poultry are classified into two according to


These are parasites found outside the body. They include lice, fleas, mites, and bedbugs.

They can be controlled by spraying or dusting the poultry and poultry house with recommended chemicals and replacing litter at the end of each crop.


These are parasites found inside the body such as roundworms, tapeworms, gapeworms, etc.

They are controlled by providing proper sanitary conditions in the rearing units and treating the flock using recommended drugs from the veterinary.

Abnormal poultry behavior

Birds develop abnormal behaviors or vices such as cannibalism, breaking and eating eggs, etc.

This can be controlled by occupying the birds by supplying grass in the unit for them to pick on and de-beaking them if the problem persists.

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