Usually when people keep hens, hen diseases are something they should be aware of. This way they will be able to look at the signs and symptoms of the diseases and get timely intervention from the vet. Usually, it has been seen that the hens reared in homes are susceptible to respiratory ailments. Hence, whether you are rearing hens for personal or commercial purposes, ensure that you know all the hen diseases, so that your entire flock is not affected.
Here are some of the most common hen diseases found in hens reared in homes:
Infectious bronchitis is a respiratory ailment found in hens that are raised in backyards. Commonly known as cold or bronchitis, this disease is seen in chickens more frequently compared to any other poultry. The disease can be mild or severe in nature based on the immunity that the hen has. Some of the symptoms of infectious bronchitis seen in hens are as follows:
- Reduction in food and water intake
- Discharge coming out from the nostril and the eyes
- Difficulty in breathing; you will see the hen gasping for breath
- The egg laying capacity of the hen will reduce significantly
There is no cure for infectious bronchitis. The only way to prevent this disease is through vaccination. In case, the hens get this disease, then ensure that you treat them with antibiotics recommended by your avian vet. The antibiotics will help to alleviate the symptoms associated with the disease.
Avian influenza has been making a lot of headlines in the recent years. This is a contagious disease and can be spread among the hens by several means. Insects, rodents, equipment used for basic care of the hens, and shoes carrying the pathogens can transmit the disease to the hens. Some of the symptoms of avian influenza include the following:
- Respiratory distress
- Marked changes in the eating patterns and habits
- Diarrhea which can be mild or severe
- Decrease in the egg laying capacity of the birds
- Red or white spots on legs of the hens
- Nasal discharge that can have spots of blood
There are vaccines available for avian influenza. However, owners have to get a special permit to be entitled to these vaccines. If you are unable to vaccinate your hens, the only way to treat this disease is through the use of antibiotics. However, these antibiotics are not hundred percent effective.
Mycoplasma gallisepticum is believed to be a chronic respiratory ailment. It is also referred to as infectious sinusitis or mycoplasmosis. While turkeys and ducks are more susceptible to this ailment, even hens can get it. Also, it is important to note that adult hens will invariably not show any symptoms of this ailment. Nonetheless, the symptoms of the disease are as follows:
- Inflammation of the sinuses
- Nasal discharge
- Foamy type of discharge from the eyes
The only treatment protocol for this hen disease is antibiotics. The medication can be mixed with the drinking water or feed. Alternatively, the vet may recommend injecting it.
Other hen diseases include fowl pox that causes lesions on the areas which are not covered with feathers, and infectious coryza, which is also known as roup, which causes inflammation of the mouth and eyes and mucus discharge from the eyes and mouth.
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