A lot of people have the misconception that poultry is an easy task. It is important to know about the scientific methods that go into it as well as the steps taken for disease resistance in order to turn it into a profitable business. In earlier times, the chicken roams around the fields and grasslands and eat a wide variety of things which included medicinal plants as well. Therefore, they hardly got affected by diseases. But the current scenario is different.
The animals with good productive capacity grown in limited space based on trade market trends are more prone to diseases. Apart from all this, the sudden changes in the weather also affect them. Different varieties of bacteria, virus, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms are the major cause of diseases. Nutrient deficiency also causes diseases.
There are possibilities of the disease spreading from one affected chicken to the rest. Diseases are commonly spread through the saliva and excreta of the affected chicken. Disease-causing microbes can also spread through contaminated food, water, and other materials present inside the cage. Knowing about different disease resistance measures is important in preventing the disease. Vaccinations that help in disease resistance must be given without fail in the prescribed intervals. The third and final step is to diagnose the disease correctly and seek treatment at the earliest. For this, help should be taken from a certified health care professional.
Important measures to be followed to prevent diseases
Chicken and chicks should be reared in separate cages. Use disinfectants before and after going into the cages. Gloves should be worn. The cage and utensils used must be kept clean. If possible, restrict visitors from going near the cages. Make them use a disinfectant before going inside if required.
Dead bodies of the chicken should be cremated with utmost care. If the chicken had died due to diseases, its body should be burned into ashes. An alternative is rubbing calcium hydroxide onto it and burying it deep underground. The affected chicken should be separated from the rest as soon as the symptoms are seen. After confirming the presence of a disease, treatment should be taken immediately. The presence of mice, flea, houseflies etc. should be monitored regularly. The sheets laid on the surface of the cage should be changed frequently. Most importantly, keep the cage and the nearby surroundings always clean.
Deworming the chicken frequently is another measure to be taken in order to resist diseases. The first session of deworming should be done in the 7th week. Later on, medicines for deworming should be given once in two months. Fleas and lice that are seen on the body of the chicken, feed on its blood and inflict microbes into it. Dipping this body in pesticide, or spraying pesticide on it can help in preventing this.
Maintenance techniques should be reformed based on requirements created by sudden weather changes. During the scorching summers, heat reduction measures should be taken. Cages made from palm leaves make it cooler, but changing it yearly makes it a taxing process. Spreading palm leaves or hay on top of the cage can help reduce the heat. Spraying water on top of the cage, attaching fogger, and attaching sprinkler on top of the cage can help in reducing the heat.
Instead of feeding the birds in the morning, food can be divided and given in morning and evening. Diet should be monitored based on its age. Nutrient-rich food must be given to prevent nutrition deficiency. Enough number of food and water bowls must be provided based on the number of chicken inside the cage. The scorching summer heat makes them consume lesser amounts of food. Therefore, good amounts of vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrient supplements should be mixed in their food. Water, more than 2-3 times of the food consumed, should be provided. More care should be given during the summers as the death rate increases by 5%.
Immunity boosting vaccines
Vaccinations must be given at the right intervals in order to prevent deadly viral diseases like Marek’s, Chickenpox, Newcastle disease etc. Vaccination is the only way to prevent these diseases that don’t have an existing cure. Taking into account the situation in Kerala, vaccinations to prevent Marek’s, Chickenpox etc. as well as the vaccine for IBD disease must be strictly administered on egg-laying chicken.
The above-mentioned vaccine for Marek’s must be given from the hatchery on the day the chick hatches. To prevent Newcastle disease, RDF vaccine must be given on the fifth day (one drop in the eye or nose). On the 21st day, Lasota vaccine must be given by mixing it in drinking water. 0.5 ml of r2b must be given on the 7th week on the skin under the wings. Before engaging in market aimed poultry, fowl pox vaccine must be given on the 6th week.
The above-mentioned vaccines can be preserved for 2-3 months. For IBD disease resistance, IBD vaccine must be given on the 14th and 28th day by mixing it in drinking water.
Clean water from the well must be used while giving vaccines through drinking water. Make sure that the water doesn’t contain chlorine or pesticides. Before administering it, make sure that they are not provided with water for at least 2 hours. While administering the medicine, make sure that it is mixed in the amount of water that the chicken would possibly consume in the next 2 hours. Dairy whitener should be mixed with drinking water in the ratio 5 gram:1 litre. The vaccine should be given mixed in it. Make sure that pre-used vaccines are not used. Be careful to follow every instruction given by the manufacturers.
Betterment of treatment
Sometimes due to unexpected diseases, poultry might turn into an unprofitable business. Therefore, it is important for the people involved in poultry to be aware of disease resistance measures. If symptoms such as loss of appetite are observed, immediate help must be taken from a certified health care professional. Constant monitoring is required to spot such symptoms. After the disease is diagnosed, immediate help in treatment must be taken from a veterinary doctor.