5 Chicken Diseases a Poultry Farmer Should Look Out For.

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By Selija Achaya

Poultry farming is a common practice in Kenyan households. Whether large scale or small scale you can never miss finding a home without chicken. Rearing chicken is a practice loaded with a lot of work and a guarantee of hefty returns.

All the work and losses can happen especially when your chicken and chicks get infected with diseases that lower their productivity and even result in death.

Chickens commonly suffer from a variety of diseases and health conditions. And here are the top chicken diseases a farmer has to look out for.

Newcastle disease

Newcastle disease is an acute respiratory disease that can spread rapidly. 

Symptoms of the disease depend on whether the infecting virus has a predilection for the respiratory, digestive, or nervous systems. While it can affect both wild and domesticated fowl, domestic poultry is much more susceptible to contracting severe symptoms.

Egg production declined up to zero in four days.

In chicks, gasping coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, depression, and diarrhea. 

Birds can be generally seen walking in circles, hiding their heads between their legs, or sitting on their back hock joints.

The chickens also tend to lose their appetites and are droopy.

Fowl Cholera

The disease is caused by Pasteurella avicida, a microorganism that multiplies very rapidly in the blood causing poisoning. 

This disease is transmitted by sick birds, wild birds, humans, animals, or shared utensils.

Its symptoms include a yellowish coloration on birds’ droppings, which is followed by yellowish or greenish diarrhea.  When your chicken is infected you will notice they are sleepy and feverish.

Your birds will also sit with their head down or turned backward or rested in feathers around the wing.

It is a disease that spreads very rapidly in a flock. 


Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease caused by Coccidian protozoa that live in and causes damage to a specific region of the gut in chickens.

This disease comes about when chickens consume a sporulated oocyst which is broken down by chemicals in the gut, releasing an infective sporocyst. This begins the life cycle that causes the destruction of intestinal epithelial cells.

Together with damage to the gut walls, this disease has other symptoms like loss of appetite, diarrhea, and ruffled feathers. Weight loss is also noticed and the inability to absorb nutrients.

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fowl pox

Also known as Avian Pox, Fowl Pox is the most dangerous and highly contagious chicken disease. Chickens who have fowl pox can experience two different types of the condition:

  • Dry pox
  • Wet pox

Symptoms of the disease include distinctive bumps that look like warts and are visible on the wattle and comb. When young birds are infected they tend to have stunted growth. For your layers, egg production decreases.

Gumboro Disease

It is a highly contagious viral disease that affects poultry. Chickens that are mainly affected are usually three to eight weeks old.

The chicken gets infected when directly in contact with infected birds .or just indirectly through contact with material contaminated with infected chicken fecal matter.

Contaminated clothes, bedding, equipment, and even the chicken house can spread the disease to a flock. The virus causing this disease is stable in the environment and particularly difficult to eradicate once it infects a flock.

You will notice your chicken has Gumboro disease when they experience severe prostration, watery whitish diarrhea, and soiled vent feathers. There is also the inflammation of the cloaca and eventually death.


In case of infection, the farmer has to call a veterinary immediately to avoid heavy losses. Separate the infected from the whole group to avoid infecting others. When the chicken dies from diseases ensure you dispose of them well in a well-covered whole to avoid the infection spreading further.

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