Just like humans, chickens can fall sick with various illnesses and diseases. One sick chicken can infect the rest of the flock, causing a small cold to become a big issue in your backyard coop. The good news is that you can take simple measures to stop the spread of germs through your coop. Learn more about how to prevent disease spread in backyard flocks with this expert guide.
START WITH PREVENTION
Prevention measures keep diseases from ever taking hold in your coop. A clean coop is the key to keeping out viruses, parasites, and other health hazards. You should disinfect your chicken feeder trough, waterers, and other equipment on a weekly basis. This will prevent germs from entering the places where your birds eat and drink. Change the bedding in the coop regularly as well. Wet bedding or a damp coop create the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria and parasites. Finally, take care when exposing your flock to visitors—especially when those visitors have their own poultry at home. Germs can spread from one flock to another on your clothes, shoes, or equipment. Eliminate this risk by having visitors change or cover their shoes before meeting your birds and also consider investing in a good boot/shoe cleaner. A SaniStride® Mat System is another great way to maintain biosecurity around your flock.
QUARANTINE WHEN NEEDED
Just as you might stay home with a cold or the flu, chickens can do the same when they get sick. In fact, isolation is one of the primary ways to prevent disease spread in backyard flocks. Create an area where you can keep quarantined birds until they’re safe to reenter the flock. If you catch early symptoms in one of your chickens, this quarantine space will give them a comfortable place to stay away from the rest of the flock. An isolated area can also help with preventative measures. Whenever you buy new birds, keep them safely quarantined for one to two weeks. This will allow you to make sure all your birds are healthy when they join the flock. You can also quarantine your chickens after shows or other events that put them in contact with other people or animals. A little time on their own will make sure any germs your chicken picks up can’t reach the rest of the flock.
Chicken diseases can be stressful, but these tips can keep them from being devastating. What do you do to prevent the spread of disease in your flock? Share your experience with us in the comments below.