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Common Diseases in Chicks to Look Out For

Common Diseases in Chicks to Look Out For

As the weather turns warmer, plenty of poultry raisers begin to hatch new chicks. To have the best possible crop of surviving chicks, there are a few diseases that you need to be aware of, how to cure them and how to prevent them from wiping out your brood.

Fowl Pox

Wart-like growth on infected birds along with cankers in the mouth and slow growth are symptoms of fowl pox. This is a virus spread by mosquitoes. There is no treatment once the chicks are infected, but prevention through vaccines and mosquito control is possible.

Marek's Disease

Lameness, paralysis, labored breathing and blindness are common indicators of Marek's disease. This is a type of cancer that cannot be treated, but prevention through proper ventilation, cleanliness and vaccines you can keep it out of your coop.

Infectious Bronchitis

If your chicks act like they have a cold; sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and a loss of appetite, they could be suffering from this bronchial infection. A warm, moist mash can help them eat better and improve recovery. A warmer brooder temperature will help with resistance to this infection.


Similar to bronchitis, this condition is also referred to as brooder pneumonia. It is characterized by higher thirst, respiratory distress and convulsions. Treating it is next to impossible once the chicks are infected. Cleanliness and adequate ventilation are your best hope for preventing.

Rot Gut

Listlessness and depression in your chicks along with rotten-smelling diarrhea are common symptoms of this disease. Antibiotics can be administered in the water of infected chicks to treat this condition. Prevent overcrowding and be super conscious of cleanliness if you want to keep this disease at bay.

Avian Encephalomyelitis

Loss of appetite, dull eyes, head and neck tremors and paralysis in advanced stages are typical symptoms of Avian Encephalomyelitis. It cannot be cured, but it can spread with reckless abandon, so your best bet is to euthanize and dispose of infected birds rapidly. Vaccines and cleanliness are the best preventive measures for this disease.


It is always better to prevent diseases instead of trying to keep up with curing them. Here are some tips to help lower the risk of diseases infecting your brood:

  • Controlling insect populations, especially mosquitoes.
  • Vaccinations.
  • Proper ventilation.
  • Provide plenty of room space for hatching chicks and avoid overcrowding.
  • Be overly conscious of cleanliness, especially in feeders, bedding and water.
  • Pay attention to brooder temperature and keep it a little on the warm side.
  • Quarantine infected birds ASAP.

Hatching chicks is a major event in poultry production. Keeping mortality rates as low as possible is an essential element in your overall production goals. We can provide you with the necessary vaccines, treatments and brooder equipment to help you have a successful hatching season. Contact us for more information on how we can best serve your needs.

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