Chicken flocks do not tend to just spontaneously erupt with an infectious disease. Such diseases are instead introduced into flocks in ways that go unnoticed, such as unintentionally carried in on clothing and shoes. Equally common are diseases that the flock are exposed to via the likes of equipment, other animals, vermin, and new additions to the flock, feed and pests.
Good management and the correct sanitation practices are thus vital to making sure that chicken flocks are safe from such possible infections. This can include equipment being thoroughly cleaned with strong disinfectants, eliminating or cutting down on the amount of new chickens brought into the existing flock, and limiting or preventing contact with visitors, animals and other birds like ducks, pigeons and sparrows.
Disinfecting and Quarantining
The chicken house should be disinfected on a regular basis as a matter of routine and is by far the most vital thing you can do to prevent your flock from being infected. All surfaces in the chicken house should be cleaned with disinfectant. It is important to keep in mind that disinfectants can take half an hour at least to effectively destroy all infectious organisms.
The most commonly used disinfectants for chicken houses include glutaraldehyde, which is found in products such as BioShield P, and all surfaces should be dry before you use them, with the recommendations for dilution given by the manufacturer being followed to the letter. If you do notice a sick chicken in your flock, it should be quarantined immediately and steps taken to identify the disease as soon as possible. The quicker infected poultry is treated, the greater the likelihood the spread of the infection can be contained.
It is important to keep up to date and informed about the most common diseases among poultry, and to be aware of the kind of symptoms to look out for.