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Chickens are very susceptible to diseases. Together with predators and thievery, diseases account for the biggest losses in indigenous chicken rearing. If a farmer doesn’t watch out for diseases, the flock can be wiped out within days. The most dreaded disease is Newcastle, with its very high mortality of up to 100%.

You can imagine a farmer struggles to grow chicken numbers only to be brought back to square one by diseases. There is really no treatment for viral diseases; therefore, it is better to take preventive measures including vaccination. You can also use antibiotics to treat secondary infections. In addition to vaccination, farmers can reduce incidences of diseases through good feeding, housing and hygiene.

Below is the vaccination table;

Week Vaccination against Method

1 Mareks and Newcastle Disease Subcutaneous and nasal drops

2 Gumboro In drinking water

3 Newcastle Eye/nasal drops or in drinking water

4 Gumboro In drinking water

5 Lasota and Gumboro In drinking water

6 Fowl Typhoid Injection

8-10 Fowlpox Wing stab

12-14 Fowl typhoid Injection

16-18 Newcastle, if the disease is prevalent Eye/nasal drops or in drinking water

Deworm your chicken

As you can see, always deworm your chicken; otherwise, the food you give them will not go into growing their bodies but to feed the parasites. If your style of rearing is free-range then deworm every 1st week of the month. If your chickens are restricted within a house or small compound, then you can deworm after every 6-8 weeks.

To keep diseases at bay;

(i) Maintain high hygiene standards, including providing clean drinking water, and well-dusted resting and laying quarters.

(ii) Always isolate new birds for at least two weeks. This way you protect your birds from pathogens that could be introduced from other farms.

(iii) In case of a disease outbreak, remove and burn or bury all dead birds.

(iv) Keep a veterinarian on call for consultations every time you see signs or suspect that your birds are sick.

(v) Vaccinate all birds as recommended against the most common diseases. Revaccination is also necessary to boost the chickens’ immunity to diseases.

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