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Why Chickens and Wild Birds Shouldn’t Combine

Chickens and different poultry are birds, proper? So logically you’d assume it wouldn’t be an issue in your flock to mingle with wild birds. However listed below are three explanation why chickens and wild birds shouldn’t combine.

Fowl Mites

The northern fowl mite (Ornithonyssus sylviarum) is probably the most severe exterior parasite of chickens. It’s the most typical one occurring in cool climates. It usually infests wild birds, and birds can readily introduce it right into a coop.

The northern fowl mite lives its whole life on a chicken, feeding on blood. Feminine mites lay their eggs on feathers. Younger mites hatch and full their whole life cycle in roughly 7 to 14 days. Any infestation due to this fact quickly will get worse.

On account of irritation, these mites trigger chickens to scratch. And lack of blood from mite bites could cause anemia. As a consequence, egg laying drops amongst hens and fertility goes down in roosters.

The tropical fowl mite (Ornithonyssus bursa) — additionally referred to as chicken mite or starling mite — resembles the northern fowl mite. In distinction to the northern fowl mite, although, it’s extra widespread within the heat southern states. And it lays eggs in nests in addition to on feathers.

The tropical fowl mite is unfold by starlings and different wild birds nesting within the eaves of a hen coop. When the wild birds abandon their nest, the mites transfer into the coop. Each sorts of mite can due to this fact be prevented by taking measures to maintain wild birds away from chickens.

Avian Influenza

Avian influenza, or chicken flu, is brought on by a number of totally different kind A orthomyxoviruses. The pure hosts for kind A influenza viruses are wild aquatic birds. They embrace seabirds (comparable to gulls and terns), shorebirds (comparable to plovers and sandpipers), and waterfowl (comparable to geese and geese).

These pure hosts don’t usually present indicators of illness. However they will unfold the virus amongst themselves and to different chicken species, together with chickens.

Avian flu is available in many kinds. Indicators due to this fact fluctuate extensively. They might relate to:

  • respiration — coughing and sneezing
  • digestion — urge for food loss and diarrhea
  • replica — drop in laying, decreased fertility, soft-shell eggs
  • nerves —twisted neck or wing paralysis
  • or quite a few sudden deaths of apparently wholesome birds

This virus spreads in secretions from an contaminated chicken’s nostrils, mouth, and eyes and in its droppings. It travels from chicken to chicken by way of sneezing and coughing.

The primary manner chicken flu spreads from wild birds to poultry, although, is thru droppings. And chicken droppings could also be unfold on contaminated gear or the footwear of people. Chickens that get well stay carriers.


The microscopic protozoan parasite Trichomonas gallinae sometimes infects chickens, inflicting sores within the mouth and throat. It is usually often called trichomoniasis, canker, or typically roup.

This illness primarily impacts home pigeons and wild doves. It might unfold to chickens by means of consuming water contaminated with saliva from an contaminated chicken’s mouth, or feed contaminated with infective saliva or droppings.

These protozoa stay within the higher digestive system of an estimated 80% or extra of all pigeons. However not all contaminated pigeons present indicators of sickness.

Trichomonads that invade a chicken quickly multiply. Indicators of an infection embrace:

  • respiration with the neck prolonged and mouth open
  • drooling and repeated swallowing
  • yellowish-white tacky patches within the mouth and throat
  • asymmetrical look of the face, typically such that the 2 halves of the beak can’t correctly meet
  • issue consuming, with accompanying weight reduction or failure to realize
  • dehydration
  • pendulous crop
  • typically watery or sticky eyes
  • typically diarrhea
  • hardly ever wobbling and different nervous indicators

The illness could also be gentle. Nevertheless it may also be quickly deadly, relying on the virulence of the protozoa. Dying is usually the consequence. However not from the trichomonad an infection. Fairly, from a secondary bacterial an infection invading the broken tissue and turning into septicemic. Recovered birds stay carriers, though they’re proof against reinfection.

To forestall canker, maintain pigeons and doves away from chickens. Find hen feeders and drinkers the place wild birds can’t acquire prepared entry.

Canker spreads extra readily in water than in feed. So don’t let chickens drink from a birdbath. Or from any supply of stagnant water which may be visited by wild birds.

And that’s right now’s information from the Cackle Coop.

Gail Damerow is writer of The Hen Well being Handbook.



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