Health & Disease


Regular Maintenance

Diseases Overview

Common Infectious

Common Non-Infectious


Notifiable Diseases

Disease Chart

Health Oracle

Prevention & Vaccination, Post mortem technique


  • 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 or Biolink products.
  • 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.
  • 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 – Health Oracle – of when you should contact your vet about your chickens has been built by this author. Click on the left menu to access.