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Common Health Problems of Backyard Poultry


Withholding periods for meat and eggs should always be observed when medications are given.



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. Click here for detailed information on Blackhead and treatment instructions.




Coccidiosis is a fatal disease in poultry and is managed with the use of Toltrazuril. When following a coccidiosis prevention programme it is important to remember there is a 1 week withholding period following the use of Toltrazuril. As an alternative to ongoing use, Toltrazuril may be administered for 3 consecutive days during an outbreak or when extended periods of rain have caused wet patches to appear in the yard. Refer to clients only section for full medicine details.


Uterus Infection


Uterus infections often occur secondary to mineral and vitamin deficiencies. These deficiencies are mostly associated with Mould Infections (see below). Symptoms of uterus infection include soft or rough shelled eggs, failure to lay eggs and then Peritonitis (bloated abdomen). The fever associated with Peritonitis and uterus infection leads to septicaemia and death. Once established, uterus infections are difficult to reverse. They can be prevented by the weekly use of a water cleanser and by following an ongoing health programme that especially includes Fvite and Turbobooster.




Worms are often associated with wet weather conditions. Prevention is achieved by administering Metronidazole tablets and a Praziquantel wormer. There is a 7 day withholding period following the use of these medications. When good resistance has been established, treatments are only required if an outbreak occurs.


Mould Infection


Mould infection may cause breathing difficulties such as gasping. It is a rapidly fatal disease that is usually contracted from mould accumulating in the yard. It is important to ensure there is no mould accumulation in the yard to prevent this from occurring. Mould infections are controlled by adding a water cleanser to the drinking water one day each week.


Blocked Gizzard


Following wet weather or fluctuating temperatures poultry often over-engorge on dirty soil. The grit and minerals contained in soil may cause the gizzard to become obstructed leading to a build up of food in the crop. This problem is called a blocked gizzard. A bird with a blocked gizzard will drink more, and defecate less and the comb will become pale in colour. The droppings may be white or cream in colour. At the first sign of a blocked gizzard, the bird should be moved away from any soil and given an emergency first treatment containing ER Formula and Quik Gel.

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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