Most of the time, I look forward to writing these blogs because we get to talk about the wonderful ways backyard chickens can add to our lives, fun recipes, and helpful ways to care for your flock. However, there are times when we have to talk about the other side of raising backyard chickens and today is one of those times. I will start by saying that my flock has never experienced fowl pox (and I’m grateful!), so I’m not speaking from first-hand experience. But I’ve done my research and am ready to dive in with you.
What is Fowl Pox?
I think with any sign of abnormality in your chickens, most owners either panic or don’t tend to the bird quickly enough. It’s important to be educated and have a general knowledge of different illnesses your chickens can deal with so you can help your flock as quickly as possible!
According to poultrydvm.com, “Fowl pox is a slow-spreading viral disease of chickens characterized by lesions on the unfeathered skin areas and/or mucous membranes of the oral cavity, larynx, or trachea.”
There are two different types of fowl pox. Dry fowl pox usually starts with little yellow wart-type bumps that eventually dry up and turn into a dark brown scab and fall off. Wet fowl pox lesions are found in the chicken’s mouth and are similar to yellow canker sores. Wet fowl pox can be more serious because the sores can develop in their digestive and respiratory tracts. This causes them to slow or stop eating and drinking and prevents them from getting the nutrition they need to survive.
How Do Chickens Get Fowl Pox?
Fowl pox is transmitted by mosquitoes or from bird to bird. Here in Minnesota, our mosquitos are known as our ‘second state bird’ they’re so big. Ick! They’re thick in the spring and summer and love to feast on anything they can find. Mosquitoes love wet, moist environments. So, it’s of utmost importance to keep your coop clean and dry for many reasons, but keeping bugs away is a big one. Coop Recuperate™ has helped tremendously with this!
Coop Recuperate is the safe and natural way to care for your coop. Organic eucalyptus and lemongrass essential oils along with diatomaceous earth reduce odor and moisture and help improve the quality of your compost. You can buy Coop Recuperate at our local farm supply store, Amazon or Chewy.
It’s also important to note that if you’re adding new chickens to your flock and they’re carrying the virus, it will easily spread to your other chickens. This brings me to my next point…prevention!
How to Prevent Fowl Pox
There are currently no effective treatment strategies for fowl pox, making prevention essential to keeping fowl pox at bay. If you have questions, never hesitate to talk to your veterinarian about the prevalence of fowl pox in your area and if vaccinations should be incorporated into your flock health plan.
If fowl pox occurs, it must run in its course and it can be long and daunting because of how it moves slowly through a flock.
So, what are some ways we can prevent fowl pox? Here are a few tips that have worked in my flock!
Keep a clean and dry coop. This will help prevent mosquitoes from buffet on your chickens and limit exposure to the fowl pox virus. Coop Recuperate will help tremendously.
Quarantine new birds. If you bring a new adult bird into your flock, it’s very important to quarantine them for 30 days to ensure they’re healthy. A check with a veterinarian wouldn’t hurt either!
Watch for lesions. If you notice suspicious-looking lesions, call your veterinarian and have them take a look to prevent further spread.
Eliminate stress in your flock. Stress can exacerbate the spread of viral diseases. It can also allow them to spread more quickly. I like to use Flock Fixer™. This is a vitamin-rich additive that helps hydrate, restore vital nutrients and help support immunity. It gives your chickens everything they need to help them through stressful times.
Support your chicken’s immune system. A healthy diet, along with Chicken E-lixir™, will provide your flocks with what they need to have healthy digestive and respiratory systems, thus creating strong immunity in your flock! Chicken E-lixir is for everyday use. It contains a unique blend of organic oregano essential oil, prebiotics, calcium, vitamins D & E and electrolytes. Think of it like a daily vitamin for your flock!
What Should I Do if I Suspect Fowl Pox?
If you suspect fowl pox in one or more of your birds, separate them as quickly as possible. Give them a quiet and safe place to rest with fresh food and water. Give your veterinarian a call and ask about next steps. More than likely your chickens will come through just fine. It’s important to catch it quickly so that it doesn’t spread throughout your flock!
Raising backyard chickens is one of the most rewarding hobbies I’ve ever had. I’ve not personally dealt with fowl pox in my flock, but I feel like it’s really important to be somewhat educated on the different diseases that can harm our sweet chickens.
Until next time,
-The Wing Lady