Factors Causing Poultry Mortality

Poultry mortality
Poultry mortality

The problem of poultry mortality is common due to the susceptibility of birds to diseases. However, this common problem of mortality in poultry production is avoidable. All it takes to avoid this problem are sound management practices.

Running poultry requires careful management practices to keep the birds healthy and free of diseases that can ail them and cause eventual death.

This article will discuss several reasons why farmers do experience poultry mortality in their farms. Therefore, after reading this article you will be loaded with information on the causes of poultry mortality. Upon knowing the causes of mortality in poultry you will know measures to take to avoid or tackle the factors causing poultry mortality.

Poultry mortality

Causes of poultry mortality

As already stated, there are several reasons why poultry farmers suffer poultry mortality. Let us look at the causes of the sudden death of birds in poultry farms as well as measures to take to avoid these problems. Hence, the causes of mortality in poultry farms:

Lack of proper vaccination

Vaccination is a preventive measure against diseases. Lack of proper vaccination means leaving your birds vulnerable to diseases that can infect them and eventually cause poultry mortality.

Birds are susceptible to diseases such as Newcastle disease, fowl typhoid, fowl pox, and so on. These diseases if not prevented can greatly diminish your poultry stock. Therefore, you must get veterinary personnel to regularly check and vaccinate your stock of birds, especially when bringing in new stock. New stock must be checked and vaccinated to prevent endemic disease outbreaks.

Do well to have the new stock properly vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks.

Vaccines should be stored properly according to specifications.

Poor quality of feed

Poultry mortality
Poultry feeding

Poorly fed birds are susceptible to diseases and at risk of dying. You must not compromise the quality of feed for your birds because their feed determines how well they will grow as well as their marketability.

Some farmers try to play smart by compromising the quality of feed but it always turns out to cost them. Do not mix feed with less inferior substances or fail to feed your birds according to the different stages in their production cycle.

There is feed meant for chicks (called starters) and feed meant for adult birds (called finishers). Also, there is feed suitable for layers which keeps them healthy and enables them to lay eggs soundly.

Generally, adhere to a sound feeding routine and endeavour to feed your birds well to prevent complications arising from malnourishment which can lead to poultry mortality.

Transportation stress

Even as humans, travelling over long distances can be stressful and tiresome. Birds can die from transportation stress. Several factors arising from the transportation of birds can lead to mortality.

These factors include; bumps and gallops, the smell of petrol, strong wind caused by speeding vehicles, vehicle fumes, and so on.

Most birds may be unable to survive this stress thereby causing sickness or death. However, poultry mortality caused by the stress of transportation can be prevented by purchasing chicks from nearby suppliers.

Poultry mortality caused by heat stress

Birds are said to be suffering from heat stress if they are finding it hard to balance the body heat they produce and the body heat they lose to their environment. This imbalance results in heat stress. Heat stress affects birds regardless of their species and age.

When heat stress occurs, birds tend to stop feeding and take more water. This is to maintain homeostasis. Now, due to low feeding level, the birds get further stressed resulting in ailments and possibly deaths.

Heat stress can be avoided by regulating the temperature of your poultry farm. Also, make provision for ventilation to prevent a stuffy atmosphere.

Poor housing quality

Poor housing quality offers no protection to the birds against harsh weather conditions, pests, predators, and thieves. These aforementioned factors can lead to high poultry mortality.

Therefore, endeavour to provide a sound poultry structure, where there are no holes for pests or predators to use and get to your birds. Make sure that structures are in place to keep out harsh weather conditions such as strong wind, cold, rain, and so on. Also, there should be proper ventilation and the temperature in the poultry should be suitable to prevent heat stress.

Remember that heat stress can result in mortality too.

Overcrowding of birds

Poultry mortality

Overcrowding can lead to many detrimental situations in a poultry farm. When your poultry is overcrowded with birds, it would lead to a jungle situation where there will be a struggle for inadequate resources such as ventilation, space, water, and feed. The weaker ones will be deprived thereby leading to starvation and subsequently death.

Overcrowding will lead to stress which may cause erratic behaviours like regular fights. This will cause some of your birds to start having sores. Pathogens can enter these sores, causing disease outbreaks and subsequently high poultry mortality.

Poor standard of hygiene

Pathogens thrive in an unhygienic environment. Hence, the reason why you have to prioritise the cleanliness of your poultry farm.

You should maintain high hygiene to keep your birds healthy and disease-free. Ensure to make sure visitors, stray birds, water, feed, workers, and equipment are safe because diseases come from any of the aforementioned.

Make sure that you sterilize tools, disinfect surfaces, water, and feed is stored safely.

Pick up litter to ensure a clean surrounding because birds can pick rubbish that is contaminated. This can lead to an infection that may spread like wildfire on your farm. The key thing is to thoroughly sanitise your farm, disinfect tools and equipment and maintain a high standard of hygiene.


Many poultry farmers suffer from sudden deaths of their birds due to negligence or poor management practise. They fail to take note of causes of mortality as well as failed to take measures to prevent these factors.

Poultry mortality
Poultry mortality

However, as seen in this article, there are several reasons why birds die in poultry farms, and these deaths are avoidable if you chose to prevent or tackle the factors mentioned above. Therefore, start making necessary changes to how you run your poultry farm to prevent or greatly minimise mortality thereby making the most gains from your poultry business.

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