Chicks, like all baby animals, face threats from various diseases and infections. The close quarters of a brooder make it easy for diseases to spread quickly through a group and hurt your young flock before they get the chance to spread their wings. Reduce the risks by learning the symptoms, treatments, and prevention methods for the most common chick diseases. When you can catch warning signs and take action early, you can protect your baby chicks and help them grow into successful, clucking adults. Help preserve your young chicks with this overview of three chick diseases and their treatments.
One of the most common chick diseases is Marek’s disease, a viral infection that targets young chickens from about three to thirty weeks old. It can affect your birds’ skin, eyes, internal organs, and nerves, causing tumors that can eventually lead to paralysis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Marek’s disease. The good news is that there is a vaccine you can give to newborn chicks. You should also make sure you keep a clean coop and equipment so the virus can’t spread through your flock.
Coccidiosis is a parasite that targets your chicks’ intestines, impairing their ability to absorb nutrients from their food. Your birds can catch this disease through the infected droppings of another bird in the flock, so it’s important to keep your brooders—especially food areas—clean to help prevent the spread of disease. There are six different species of the coccidiosis parasite, which means your birds might develop an immunity to one strain but still fall prey to another. Fortunately, you can treat the disease with antibiotics and other medications.
Roundworms are another intestinal parasite that can infect your chicks. Like coccidiosis, the main symptoms of roundworm include diarrhea and weight loss. If left untreated, these parasites can cause a potentially fatal blockage in the chicks’ guts. Fortunately, you can protect your birds by giving them a monthly dose of piperazine in their water supply.
While some chick diseases have vaccines or antibiotics, the most important thing you can do to protect your chicks is to give them a safe and healthy environment. Outfit your brooders with the best feeders, waterers, and chicken heaters on the market. You should also make sure your chicks have clean bedding and good ventilation to keep their home warm, dry, and sanitary.
What advice do you have to help a flock of newborn chicks? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.