Broiler Poultry Production Guide, Part 2 Health

Health and Diseases

a. Avian Pest (New castle Disease)

Cause: Virus


  • Direct contact with the nasal and mouth discharges of infected birds
  • Airborne transmission
  • Through mechanical means such as being carried by sparrows (maya) predators or other birds
  • Human being transmit the disease through infected clothes and shoes


  • In young birds gasping, coughing, rattling of the windpipe, hoarse chirping, paralysis, walking backyard and circling
  • In adults, coughing and occasional paralysis, abrupt drop in egg production soft shelled eggs, greenish watery diarrhea

Prevention: Vaccination. Consult your veterinarian for a program suited to your operation

Treatment: There is no treatment for the disease. In case of an outbreak, the following measures could be adopted to minimized its further spread and effect control of the disease.

  • Isolate sick birds quickly
  • Quarantine the area by regulating persons entering the disease-affected premises of from other farms as well as from one poultry house to another
  • Re-vaccination of the birds if titer (detected by serological test) is already low
  • Thoroughly disinfect the houses and premises. Allow to dry before occupancy
  • Bury dead birds deeply or burn

b. Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD)

Cause: Mycoplasma organism or pleuropneumonia like organism (PPLO)


  • CRD organism or is egg-borne; contracted exposure with infected flock
  • Airborne transmission


  • Tracheal rales, sneezing coughing watery or sticky discharged from the nostrils
  • Foamy exudates in the eyes
  • Feed consumption is reduced and the birds lose weight

Treatment: Broad spectrum antibiotics, either by injection or mixed with feeds or drinking water

c. Coccidiosis

Cause: Microscopic organisms called coccidian (Eimeria species) usually occurs in flocks below two months of age.


  • When birds pick up or swallow the coccidial organisms
  • Contaminated feed and water
  • Indirect contact thru flies, human beings and other mechanical means


  • Tendency to huddle together in a corner
  • Decrease feed and water intake and poor weight gain

Prevention: Incorporation of coccidiostat in the feeds or drinking water. Use of sulfa drugs. Most feed companies incorporate this in the feed mixture as indicated in the feed tags

d. Mareks Disease

Cause: Virus

Transmission: Exposure to infected birds or to environment with existing virus, poultry nests and feeders


  • Initial symptoms are leg weakness and paralysis of one or both legs
  • Birds tend to rest on their breast with one leg extended forward and the other backward
  • They could hardly reached the feeders and the waterers resulting in the dehydration and emancipation which finally cause death

Prevention: Vaccination with MD vaccine, the most commonly used is the so called Herpes virus of turkey (HVT)

Treatment: There is no known treatment for the disease

e. Avian Malaria

Cause: Microscopic Protozoan Parasite

Transmission: Bites of mosquitoes, mechanically by blood transfer as in mass vaccination, caponization and injection


  • Severe anemia (paleness) extreme leg weakness, emancipation and nervous signs like twisting of the head
  • The shanks and the toes are dry and birds have ruffled feathers
  • Greenish-yellow or greenish white diarrhea

Prevention: Control if mosquitoes within the premises and houses with effective insecticides, include spraying the breeding places of mosquitoes. Proper drainage of stagnant water

Treatment: Anti malarial drops like plasmochin, quinine hydrochloride and pyrimethamine combinations were found effective. Confer with the veterinarians


Housing Equipment

Feeding troughs or feeders

Feeders can be placed inside or along the front of cages. When making feeders, consider the ease in cleaning and avoidance of feed spillage. Feed spillage may be avoided by placing a metal or wooden strip along the inner mouth of the feed trough.

  • Waterers -To facilitate cleaning, the shape and size of the waterers should be semi circular, fairly wide and supported by an adjustable bracket to permit easier adjustment. It may have a removal stopper at the drainage end to allow for easier cleaning.
    • For chicks, the waterers are usually one gallon plastic jars.
    • The most common waterers are the plastic waterers because they do not rust therefore they will last longer
    • Backyard poultry raisers usually use bamboo waterers. They are cheap but there is a great tendency for slime (lumot to develop) and often times they do not last very long. They need constant changing.
  • Portable Catching Panels – This is usually made of either bamboo, wood or wire frames. This device comes in handy during vaccination.
  • Feed Carts – In a well-planned poultry house with cemented service alleys, the feed cart is a handy piece of equipment which can reduce the number of hours spent in feeding the chickens. It makes the feeding less laborious and tiresome. In the absent of a feed cart a wheel-borrow will do.
  • Lighting – In shade houses, natural daylight must be supplemented with artificial lighting in order to obtain desirable lighting patterns which are necessary to adequately control sexual maturity. A constant or decreasing lighting pattern during rearing is essential to prevent too early sexual maturity. An increasing or constant light pattern is necessary after 22-24 weeks of age.
  • Egg Handling – Supply at least 1 nest per 4 female. Ensure free circulation of air around the nest areas to discourage broodiness. Collect eggs more regularly than in temperate areas and transfer immediately to the egg cooling room which should be located on the farm site. Transport eggs to the hatchery in an insulated van. Practice daily fumigation of eggs.

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