Every good chicken-keeper knows a healthy flock is a happy flock. That’s why it’s important to learn about the most common diseases and conditions that can affect your backyard chickens. Among these diseases is fowl pox, a highly contagious viral infection. You can protect your flock from fowl pox by learning more about the disease, its symptoms, and how you can treat or prevent it. Educate yourself and learn everything you need to know with this guide to fowl pox in chickens.
What Is Fowl Pox?
As we stated above, fowl pox is a viral infection. It acts similarly to the chicken pox infection that humans can get. Chickens that catch fowl pox will develop scab-like wounds and sores on their skin and combs. This is the most common symptom, but other signs of fowl pox include decreased appetite, poor egg production, or weight loss. Chickens might also develop ulcers inside their mouths or throats. This indicates a less common form of fowl pox known as wet pox. These ulcers along the respiratory tract can lead to complications with breathing or eating.
These symptoms are no joke, but most of the symptoms of fowl pox heal, and the chicken can recover within a few weeks.
Treatments for Fowl Pox
There’s no cure for fowl pox, but there are ways to treat the disease and keep your birds comfortable while the infection runs its course. You can also give the uninfected birds in your flock the fowl pox vaccine to protect them. Furthermore, once a chicken has survived fowl pox, they develop an immunity to the infection.
If fowl pox makes its way into your flock, isolate the infected birds. Contact your veterinarian to see if there are any antibiotics that can control any secondary infections that result from the disease. You can keep your infected birds comfortable by keeping the coop clean and eliminating stressors in their daily activities. You might also use antiseptic, ointment, or other veterinarian-approved products to clean and soothe your birds’ scabs throughout the infection.
Preventing Fowl Box in Your Flock
One of the most important parts of this guide to fowl pox in chickens is learning how to prevent the disease. Fowl pox often reaches a flock through biting insects—usually mosquitos. Once within a flock, the virus can spread from chicken to chicken through feather debris, skin dander, or parts of the scabs. Administering the fowl pox vaccine is the best way to prevent an infection in your flock, but make sure you vaccinate within the appropriate time frames. You can give chicks the vaccine early, when they’re one day old.
Whether you’re a seasoned chicken-keeper or just starting your first flock, Stromberg’s Chickens has the resources and products you need to take good care of your birds. In addition to poultry vaccines, we can supply you with electric chicken fencing and other coop or run materials to keep your flock healthy, secure, and safe.
Do you have experience with fowl pox in your flock? Share your stories, tips, and advice with your fellow chicken enthusiasts below.