Newcastle Disease

We bought 12 local chickens in the market and so far, a week later, 5 have died. A vet at Vom hospital cut one of them open and identified Newcastles Disease.

This is a highly infectious viral disease among chickens. There is no treatment for it (although there is a vaccination). Chickens will be lethargic – sitting down with droopy eyes instead of being up and scratching for food. Their poos will be dark green, the colour of leaves. Not good! If one has it, most of your chickens may end up catching it and dying.

Fortunately we have 2 chicken runs so I have been able to separate the birds with symptoms from the birds who look ok. Unfortunately, since they were all together in the coop before the disease showed itself, they are all exposed so even this may not save them.

They vet said that if we kill the birds we can eat them (although honestly, I have no stomach for it so we haven’t done that). But she said if they die, they should not be eaten. How to dispose of a chicken, or in this case, lots of dead chickens? Its hard! We have poured kerosene on them and burnt them, but it takes a lot of kero to get them good and burnt to deter wild animals coming in to finish them off…….

To prevent the spread of the virus, we are not letting anyone but me go into the chicken coop. I am wearing boots and gloves that I put on as I go in and take off and leave at the coop when I am finished.

So we’ll wait, and hope that once the disease has run its course we have at least a pair left to breed! After a month we will then vaccinate any remaining chickens, plus the other chickens that we already had.

For more information read this helpful leaflet:

http://www.smallscalelivestock.org/resources/cahw_training_notes/cahw-en-module-nd_vaccination_1202.pdf

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