Chicken Poultry Feeding and Health Management

Broiler/Meat Type

  •  Broiler commercial rations are fed to the birds during the first 5 weeks and from then on are replaced by the broiler-finisher ration.
  •  All purpose of straight broiler ration is fed from the start to the marketing  age of eight weeks.
  •  Commercial broiler feeds contain additives considered to be growth  promoting substances. Feed additives make the production of broiler  profitable and help broiler farmers control diseases. Purchase feeds from  feed dealers nearest your place.

Layer/Egg Type

  •  Starter mash is given to chicks from day old to 8-10 weeks old.
  •  Growing mash is given to birds aged 8-10 weeks until they are 5 months  old or when the egg production reaches 10 percent. This mash promotes  pullet growth at a rate that is just right to allow the bird to develop its body  and internal organs so that it will start to lay at the right time.
  •  The bird should not be allowed to get fat during the growing period  because this causes poor egg production and high mortality among layers.  A good way of preventing fatness among the pullets is to restrict their feed  to 85 percent of normal consumption when they are 18-16 weeks old then  full fed them at 17-20 weeks of age.
  •  Laying mash is given to pullets when they are about to lay (10 percent or  until the layers are replaced) or when they reach 19 weeks of age.
  •  Wetting the mash or instituting wet mash-feeding at noon during hot days  will increase appetite of the birds.
  • Adopt a regular system of feeding because chickens resent abrupt changes in feeding habits that gets reflected in their performance, especially on egg production.

Nutrition and Feeding

  • Table 1. Daily feed requirements of layers (White Leghorn) according  to size of bird and number of eggs laid.
  • Table 2. : Minimum nutrient requirements of chicken under Philippine condition.

Feed Compositions

  • Table 3. Find the nutritive value of the following rations (Dahomey) using Granaria  and check with the requirements.

Health Management

  •  The most economical and ideal method to control disease is through prevention, which could be achieved by proper management, good sanitation and having an effective vaccination program.
  • Table 4. Disease outbreak can be prevented by instituting the following vaccination program.

Common Diseases of Poultry

1. Avian Pest (Newcastle 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 beings transmit the disease through infected clothes and shoes.


  • In young birds, gasping, coughing, rattling of the windpipe, hoarse chirping, paralysis, walking backward and circling.
  • In adults, coughing, 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.


  • There is no treatment for the disease. In case of an outbreak, the following measures could be adopted to minimize its further spread and effect control of the disease.
  •     Isolate sick birds quickly-
  •     Quarantine the area by regulating persons entering the disease-affected premises or from other farms as well as from one poultry house to another.
  •     Revaccination of the birds if titer (detected by serological test) is already low.
  •     Thoroughly disinfect the houses and premises. Allow to dries up before occupancy.
  •  Bury dead birds deeply or burn.

2. Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD)

Cause:  Mycoplasma organism or pleuropneumonia-like organism (PPLO)


  •  CRD organism 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 the feeds or drinking water.

3, Coccidiosis

Cause:  Microscopic organisms called Coccidia (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 files, human beings and other mechanical means.


  • Tendency to huddle together in a comer.
  • Decreased feed and water intake and poor weight gain.


  •   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.

4. 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 reach the feeders and waterers resulting in dehydration and emaciation which finally causes 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.

5. 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, emaciation and nervous signs like twisting of the head.
  •     The shanks and toes are dry and birds have ruffled feathers.
  •     Greenish-yellow or greenish-white diarrhea.

Prevention:  Control of 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.

6. Fowl Pox

Cause:    Virus

Transmission   Spread by mosquitoes that feed on pox-infected birds; direct contact, mechanically transmitted by visitors, wild birds and predators.

Signs:     There are two forms:

  1.   Dry form  – characterized by the formation of black wart-like nodules on the skin of the face, in the region of the comb, wattles and around the eyes, causing the latter to swell and close. There is usually profuse eye discharge.
  2.  Wet form  – characterized by the presence of whitish-yellow growth of the pharynx, larynx and windpipe. Because of the growth, there is difficulty in breathing which will result in death due to suffocation.

Prevention:  Vaccination with fowl pox vaccines. Control the mosquitoes by spraying with insecticides.

Treatment:  There is no effective treatment against the disease. In the wet form, removal of the wart-like growth in the throat usually leads to recovery. In the dry form, the early application of Tincture of iodine directly on the wart-like growth has been found to give beneficial results.

7. Infectious Coryza (colds or ‘sipon”)

Cause:    Bacterial organism

Transmission:   Through the air, direct contact or through contamination of the feed, water equipment.


  •  Swelling of the face and wattles and discharge from the nostrils, which at first is watery, but becomes sticky and with foul odor as the disease progresses.
  • In laying flock, egg production decreases.

Prevention:    Strict sanitation of the farm. Isolate sick birds immediately.

Treatment:  Broad spectrum antibiotics applied in feed and water and sulfa preparation are recommended.

8. Gumboro Disease (IBD)

Cause:  Virus Gumboro disease is called “catastrophe disease” because it is the principal cause of catastrophy in flock. The latter is a term applied to flocks with high losses from variable disease conditions.

Transmission  B y contact from bird to bird, contaminated persons or clothing of caretaker.


  • Pure cases of IBD infection are difficult to recognize.
  • Slight tremors of the neck and the body, depression, ruffled feathers, wet- droppings, loss of appetite, severe prostations and few deaths are clinical manifestations. However, the disease should be suspected when an unacceptable percentage of morbidities and mortalities occur between 3-13 weeks of age, these high losses being associated with vaccination reaction in gangrenous dermatitis (wing rot) and anemia.


  •  Vaccination using IBD vaccine (Bursa- Vac-Sterwin).
  • Control  Immediately isolate the flock in affected houses and control tile entry of caretakers, egg collectors, supervisory personnel and vehicles. Remove and destroy affected birds immediately. Incinerate dead birds.

Treatment:  While there is no successful method of treatment known, improving tile nutritional quality of tile feeds (conditioning rations) and a therapeutic antibiotic regimen to check possible emergence of secondary bacterial infection must be instituted. Stresses should be avoided.



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