Welp…my flock officially has a fairly large scale illness breakout.
They’ve come down with fowl pox, a disease I didn’t even know existed until I noticed the black lesions on Django’s comb/face area. Upon further investigation, I learned a lot about fowl pox, and how inconvenient it can be.
- Fowl pox is a HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS viral infection, spread via mosquitoes (which are terrible in my yard) and direct contact with an infected bird
- There are two types, dry & wet. Dry pox are the lesions/scabs that are infecting my birds. Wet pox forms lesions in the mouth & respiratory tract.
- Dry pox is more commonly a nuisance and is seldom fatal, however wet pox can be fatal because the birds have difficulty breathing and eating.
- There is NO TREATMENT. The disease must be allowed to run its course. It is important to keep their immune systems strong and healthy to help fight the disease.
- There is a vaccination, however it does not work once the birds have been exposed and is not a treatment.
- The disease is very slow going, often taking weeks to run its course, so expect your flock to be infected and contagious for weeks to months post-initial exposure.
- The scabs that slough off (from dry pox) remain very contagious and can easily spread the disease if another bird eats or comes in contact with them.
- By the time lesions appear/are noticed, the bird has been infected for some time and it is likely that most if not all of your other birds have it.
- Birds may seem sick, less active, lethargic, and generally egg production will drop.
Fowl pox aren’t the end of the world, but in the future I believe I will be vaccinating my flock because the drop in egg production is a HUGE damper on my summer egg sales. Luckily all of my chickens seem to remain in good spirits and other than the drop in eggs, I have not noticed any other adverse symptoms to the disease. I like to imagine this is because they free range and are not penned up in a coop where the disease can spread more rapidly.