Newcastle Disease is one of the most dangerous chicken ailments that farmers seek to eliminate on their farms. Without proper management structures in place, it can be challenging to curb Newcastle disease. Since it gets transmitted quickly, poultry farmers need to be able to identify and isolate affected birds on time. Otherwise, it may get out of hand. In this article, we discuss the origin, causes, symptoms, and preventive measures of this deadly sickness.
Origin Of Newcastle Disease
In 1927, Newcastle Disease made its first appearance in the English city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. That was where it got its name from. Since then, it has found its way into different continents. Meanwhile, it is a viral disease that spreads very fast. Newcastle disease affects all ages and species of poultry birds. As a result, you need to ensure proper management structures to prevent the outbreak and spread of this disease.
As a serious respiratory disorder, affected birds have difficulty breathing and moving their body parts. Before long, their entire system begins to shut down. Newcastle disease have three main strains namely, lentogenic, mesogenic, and velogenic. While the lentogenic pathotype causes minimal weakness, the mesogenic pathotype has significant symptoms, and the velogenic pathotype triggers massive deaths.
Symptoms of Newcastle Disease
Some of the symptoms for Newcastle Disease include:
- Frequent sneezing
- Watery diarrhoea with greenish faeces
- Swelling of area around the eyes and neck
- Nasal discharge
- Repeated coughing
- Watery eyes
- Partial or full paralysis
- Drooping feathers
- Sudden deaths within flock
- Drop in egg production
Mode of Transmission of Newcastle Disease
Body contact between non-infected and infected poultry is the main path for contracting Newcastle disease. When nasal, buccal, and eyes discharge from affected birds touch heathy birds, they become infected. Poultry droppings is another viable mode of transmitting the disease.
These viral particles can cling to the clothes and shoes of farm workers, who may transfer it from one pen to another. It could also be contracted from infected machineries, shavings, manure, water, feed, and vehicles. Besides, Newcastle viruses are so tough and they can survive for months in a favourable environment.
Prevention of Newcastle Disease
You should know that Newcastle disease has no known treatment for now, due to its viral nature. Antibiotics only perform a secondary function of treating symptoms. However, we have outlined some strategies for preventing Newcastle Disease.
It is important to administer vaccines to day old chicks (DOCs) as soon as a breeding cycle starts. For locations with high prevalence of Velogenic Viscerotropic Newcastle Disease (VVND) strain, broilers require multiple doses of live vaccines and a single dose of killed vaccine. On the other hand, pullet and layers need Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) vaccines. LaSota strains are excellent NDV vaccines. However, ensure you consult with an experienced Veterinarian before adminisitering anyone.
Apart from vaccination, you should implement a solid biosecurity strategy for your farm. This is a secure way of preventing Newcastle disease from spreading around.
When you bring in new flock to your farm, keep them apart for four weeks, at a distance of about 11 metres from other birds. During this time, you can watch our for disease symptoms.
Assign a staff to infected birds
If you isolate any bird due to disease symptoms, ensure that farm workers taking care of them prioritize personal hygiene. Your farm workers need to thoroughly wash their hands, and change their overalls and shoes. Otherwise, they may transfer these viral particles to your healthy chickens unknowingly. Besides, you can assign a worker to take care of only affected poultry, if you have the funds.
Take good care of equipment
Ensure you wash and disinfect every item you use in a pen before using it in another. If there are any pathogenic organism, the detergent should wash it away. Where there are sufficient funds, each flock can have its materials and equipment.
Manage your poultry waste effectively
Wastes such as poultry droppings, dead birds, and used medication items should be disposed faraway from your flock. That way, you can reduce the incidence of contamination.
Newcastle Disease is a dangerous poultry disease that you must prevent from occurring on your farm. The effects can be as mild as a few deaths to killing all the flock. Ensure that you vaccinate your chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other poultry species as at when due.
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