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 with our eggs and helpful ways to care for our flocks. However, there are times when we have to talk about the other side of raising backyard chickens, and today is one of those times…
Today, we’re going to learn all about fowl pox. I will start by saying that my flock has never experienced this and I’m very grateful! So, I’m not speaking from first hand experience, but I have done A LOT of research and I’m ready to dive into it with you.
According to poultrydvm.com, “Fowl pox is a slow-spreading viral disease in chickens characterized by lesions on the unfeathered skin areas and/or mucous membranes of the oral cavity, larynx, or trachea.”
As the graphic above illustrates, there are two different types of fowl pox. Dry fowl pox usually starts with little yellow wart type bumps on non-feathered areas. These 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 as well. This causes them to slow or stop eating and drinking which prevents them from getting the nutrients they need to survive.
Honestly, I think with any sign of abnormality in chickens most backyard chicken owners either panic or don’t tend to the bird quick enough. This is why it’s SO important to be educated with a general knowledge of different chicken diseases so you can help your flock as quickly as possible.
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. Ick! They are large and love to feast on anything in the summer months.
Mosquitoes love wet, moist environments. So, it’s of utmost importance to keep your coop clean and dry for many reasons, but keeping mosquitos away is a big one.
Coop Recuperate™ has helped me 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.
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!
Preventing Fowl Pox
According to Dr. Jessica Fox, Director of Veterinary Services for Strong Animals Chicken Essentials, “There are currently no effective treatment strategies for fowl pox. Prevention is essential to preventing fowl pox from infecting your flock.”
She encourages us to talk to your local veterinarian about the prevalence of fowl pox in your area and if vaccination for this disease should be incorporated into your flock health plan. Fowl pox must run in it’s course and it can be a long and daunting road because it moves slowly through your flock.
So, what are some things we can do to prevent fowl pox?
Keeping a clean and dry coop will help prevent mosquitoes from attacking your chickens and limit their exposure to the virus. Coop Recuperate will help tremendously with this!
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 visit to the vet wouldn’t hurt either!
If you notice suspicious looking lesions, call your veterinarian right away 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. Flock Fixer™ is a vitamin rich additive that helps hydrate, restore vital nutrients and support your flock’s immunity. It gives your chickens everything they need to overcome times of stress.
Providing your chickens with all that they need to have a healthy immune system is of utmost importance for prevention! To help with this, Chicken E-lixir™, helps support your flock’s 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.
All of these products are available at your local farm supply store.
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. It’s important to catch it quickly so that it doesn’t spread throughout your flock.
Fowl pox seems scary, but more than likely your chickens will come through just fine. Rememeber, education and prevention goes a long way!
Until next time,
–The Wing Lady