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Prevention of Blackhead can be achieved in a natural way. This article describes a natural approach to the prevention of Blackhead in turkeys, peafowl and guineafowl and also gives instruction following an outbreak of this serious disease.



Blackhead (Histomoniasis) is a potentially fatal disease caused by the protozoan parasite Histomonas meleagridis. The disease affects many poultry species but is most troublesome to Turkeys, Peafowl and Guinea fowl causing extensive and often deadly damage to the caeca and liver of infected birds.


Spread of disease is complex involving indirect transmission by via caecal worms (Heterakis gallinarum) and earthworms that act as accessory hosts. Understanding the role played by these carriers and conditions that predispose to serious infection forms the basis of our prevention plan, as the disease is unlikely to be transmitted directly through the droppings.


Control Options

Blackhead may be controlled in several ways. The method of choice depends upon the severity and duration of the Blackhead problem. The following describes methods for controlling Blackhead.


Peacocks, turkey and guinea fowl should not be reared with chickens or range where chickens have been produced during the previous several years, as soil contaminated with caecal worm eggs is an ongoing source of Blackhead infection.  Caecal worms, their eggs and earthworms all act as carriers of the parasite.


Deworming treatment with Prazole tablets or Nilverm Pig & Poultry Wormer is given to all chickens following the diagnosis of Blackhead. This treatment is then repeated each 3 weeks for three further treatments and then each 3 months. Even so it may take many years of these worming treatments and complete separation of chickens from Peacocks, turkey and guinea fowl to completely de-contaminate the soil.  Therefore additional methods of control are required. 


Strategic medicines that target the most susceptible age groups are effective in preventing Blackhead outbreaks. Turbosole (1 teaspoon per 2 litres of drinking water) is given for 2 days each week immediately babies are given grazing opportunities at 3-4 weeks of age and continues until they reach 12 weeks old.


Ve8 Powder, which contains prebiotics, herbal tonics and vitamins, is given during this treatment plan. 

Ve8, which offers the most natural method for controlling Blackhead, is used for prevention and following an outbreak. Research has shown that gas-forming clostridia bacteria are needed to produce fatal forms of Blackhead. Ve8 prevents the Blackhead parasite from seriously damaging the caecum or liver by inhibiting the proliferation of these harmful gas-forming bacteria in the gut.


Ve8 Powder is mixed with Turbobooster, E-powder & Bloomford on the food for 2 consecutive days twice weekly. This treatment is given to birds between 3 -12 weeks of age. 


Blackhead Outbreak Treatment

Research has shown that the health status of the flock and the level of care it receives influence the seriousness of an outbreak.  Outbreaks often coincide with exceptionally cold, wet or hot weather, overcrowding, intestinal worms (e.g. strongyle, capillaria and tapeworms), food or water contamination and where turkeys, and peafowl and guinea fowl babies are housed with chickens. Rapid recovery requires the immediate identification and control of these complicating factors. Therefore veterinary consultation and complete dropping analysis is recommended to diagnose all factors involved with the outbreak.


Emergency treatment is required when Blackhead is diagnosed as the cause of sudden death. Treatment targets the Blackhead parasite (Histomonas meleagridis), associated Clostridial and E.coli infections and other diagnosed disease processes.


Immediate Treatment Plan


  • Turbosole (1 teaspoon) & Quickgel (5mls) are mixed into 2 litres of drinking water and made fresh each day for 7 days.  Cank-R-tabs (1 tablet per 400gm body weight) are given 2x daily for symptomatic birds for 5 days to treat Clostridial infections.  Cank-R-tabs (1 tablet per 400gm body weight) are given 1x daily for healthy but in-contact birds for 3 days.  Other medicine treatments may also be necessary after the dropping test are finalised. 


  • Turbobooster, Ve8 Powder & Bloomford are added to a seed mix each day for 7 days then given for 2 consecutive days twice weekly for 8 weeks to prevent reinfection.

Chinese Silkies are our first choice backyard chicken. They are robust, loveable, quiet, lay good quality eggs and make ideal pets.

Our programmes are a simple and effective way to provide your chicken companions with the best possible care.

Click for information regarding our holistic methods for managing chicken diseases.

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