Health & Disease


Regular Maintenance

Diseases Overview

Common Infectious

Common Non-Infectious


Notifiable Diseases

Disease Chart

Prevention & Vaccination


  • Keep stressors to a minimum or if a known stressor such as a show is imminent, give vitamin supplementation. There are several useful products on the market which contain probiotics and vitamins, administered in the water.
  • Use a suitable disinfectant for both huts and equipment such as Virkon or F10.
  • Keep dust and ammonia levels low. Ammonia paralyses the small hairs which act like an escalator to move normal mucus up the trachea before being swallowed.
  • Feed high quality commercial food for the stage of growth and the species of bird.
  • Flubenvet is available from agricultural merchants and vets for backyard flocks with no egg withdrawal time and should be used for 7 days, 3-4 times a year, more often if the hens are on the same patch of ground all the time. It is a powder, so if a little vegetable oil is put on the pellets first, this sticks the powder. Or feed may be purchased which has Flubenvet already added, the choice is yours. (STATUS OF FLUBENVET AVAILABILITY: the small pot (60g) is out of stock until later in the summer of 2015. Feed with Flubenvet already mixed in at the mill is readily available and can be used instead of the small pot when your hens need worming).
  • Monitor weather changes and take steps to minimise any effects.
  • When attending to the stock, begin with the youngest at the start of the day (i.e. with clean clothes).
  • Quarantine new stock for 2-3 weeks and treat if they show respiratory signs.
  • Do not buy from auctions.
  • If adult stock are kept symptom-free the risk of passing mycoplasma on through the egg is reduced.
  • If young stock happen to be exposed to a mild bout of mycoplasma they will acquire a certain amount of immunity as long as there are no other pathogens present.
  • Use cider vinegar, plastic drinker only, one week a month, at the dose of 10ml:500ml. For sour crop treatment this can be upped to 50ml:500ml for two weeks.
  • Biosecurity.

All hybrids are vaccinated against Infectious Bronchitis and Marek’s disease. Pure breeds do not tend to be vaccinated and there is a slight risk of mixing vaccinated and non-vaccinated stock. The problem with chicken vaccinations is that they are only effective if done at a very young age, it is not successful to vaccinate adults. If a problem has been diagnosed in a flock, it is recommended to vaccinate with the appropriate vaccine all stock hatched on the premises or bought-in as dayolds.

A decision tree of when you should contact your vet about your chickens has been built by this author and is available on