Signs of Good Health and Ill Health in Poultry Animals

Health is commonly defined as freedom from disease. While  disease can be defined as any disturbance of the normal body processes, which affects an animal adversely.

Every effort must be made to support health and avoid diseases in poultry birds

There are a number of clinical signs which can give an indication of the health status of poultry animals

Signs of Good Health

The following behaviours by a poultry animal show that the animal is in healthy:

  • Attention and responsive to surrounding
  • Good appetite 
  • Animal posture and appearance
  • Absence of discharge
  • Maintenance of Weight
  • Normal Faecal Appearance
  • Fairly constant body temperature

Attention  and Responsive to Surrounding

A healthy bird shows interest in its surroundings. It is always alert and responds to the environmental stimuli

Good Appetite

Healthy animal has appetite, a first sign of illness is refusal to eat.

Animal Posture and Appearance

A healthy animal carries its head high and is alert. Dejected appearances are signs that all is nor  well with an animal.

Absence of Discharge

Bird in good health condition does not have discharge. The eyes are dry and clear, inflamed (swollen) running eyes is a sign of unhealthy bird.

Maintenance of Weight

Healthy adult animals should maintain their weights. Animals showing obvious loss of body weight are probably unwell or starved.

Normal Faecal Appearance

Faecal appearance indicates the state of the digestive tract. Diarrhea are signs of digestive disorders.

Fairly Constant Body Temperature

The internal body temperature of healthy animals remain fairly constant.

Signs of Ill Health

1. Listlessness

Births keep away from the other animals, and with its head down.

2. Lack of appetite

Birds shows no interest in feed.

3. High temperature

4. Congestion of mucosa around the eyes

This congestion of mucosa often accompanied by weeping sometimes it appears pale or white in the case of anaemia, it may be yellowish in colour.

5. Coughing

Coughing is a sign of respiratory disease in birds.

6. Diarrhea

This can easily be detected because the birds' bent are dirty.

General Measures of Disease Prevention on the Poultry Farm

Selection of appropriate breeds of birds that can adapt well to local conditions and have good vitality and disease resistance.

Good husbandry that encourages strong disease resistance and prevent infection.

Use of appropriate stocking densities and regimes.

Sick or injured animals must be treated immediately.

For specific advice on individual disease problems, their prevention and treatment, consult a veterinary surgeon.

Good standard farm biosecurity measures prevent, control disease outbreaks.

Ways Diseases are Spread on the Farm

Feed and water — faecal and urine contamination

Farm equipment — dirt/ manure carried on trucks, cars, tractors, dips, vaccination guns etc

People — employees, contractors, neighbours, contaminants/ manure/ dirt carried on hands, boots, clothing etc.

Related article: Solutions to Fish Farming Problems in Nigeria

Ikechukwu Evegbu

Ikechukwu Evegbu is a graduate of Statistics with over 10 years experience as Data Analyst. Worked with Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A prolific business development content writer. He's the Editor, Business Compiler

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