Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming

Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming

Does chicken pox sound familiar? Then its time to learn about the fowl pox! Are they similar or contagious? Are you finding unusual symptoms in poultry birds and not sure? Let’s take a closer look.

As a poultry farmer, it is important to know about diseases that may affect poultry birds and prevent them or curb them to avoid an outbreak. Poultry diseases can destroy the whole birds and eventual loss of investment.

Diagnosis of fowl pox disease in poultry birds may be a little tricky, yet it is achievable with practice over time. The disease has no cure therefore, poultry farmers are advised and encouraged to prevent an outbreak at all cost.

Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming

Poultry is a term used for avian birds domesticated and farmed for their eggs, meat and feathers. The term includes chickens, turkeys which are most common and others like ducks, guinea fowl, quail, geese, pigeons etc.

Fowl pox Disease

Fowl pox, a contagious viral infection which affect the unfeathered skin of birds leaving painful sores. It is also referred to as Avian pox, sore head and chicken pox although bearing no resemblance to the human chicken pox.

Fowl pox disease can not be transmitted from birds to human either through their eggs or flesh but can be contagious among birds causing high mortality if care is not taken to curtail it.

Birds of all ages are susceptible to fowl pox when there are open wounds and the viral infection is associated with the rainy season. It occurs in two ways known as dry and wet pox. Birds can be affected with either or both types at the same time.

Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
A Bird Infected With Dry Fowl Pox

Dry Fowl Pox Disease

This type of fowl pox disease affects the unfeathered areas such as the comb, face, eyelids and wattles. It is referred to as the cutaneous fowl pox.

It slowly starts out as a form of blisters initially and blows up to warts on the bird’s skin. There is a noticeable difference between the affected part and the surrounding areas.

The warts growth increase over time changing colour until it becomes dark brown forming dry roughened scabs which can stay till 4 weeks when they drop off.

The drop off contains the virus making it infectious to other birds that may want to peck on it or come in contact with it. Another bird or birds become infected while the initial one recovers or become reinfected.

Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
Wet Fowl Pox In Poultry

Wet Fowl Pox Disease

Wet fowl pox affects areas with fluids such as the eyes, upper respiratory system, mouth and throat. They are the most dangerous as it is life threatening causing high mortality. It is also called diphtheritic pox.

It also start as small white nodule which develops into large patches with yellow cheesy growths. The growths are severe enough to stop the birds from drinking, eating and even breathing.

Common Symptoms Of Fowl Pox Disease

Regardless of the type of fowl pox disease in poultry birds, symptoms are visible and prompt care required. These symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite for food and water due to pain.
  • Weight loss
  • Injuries and wounds on the affected parts
  • Noticeable drop in egg production.
  • Difficulty in breathing
Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
Weight Loss In Infected Bird

Causative Organisms Of Fowl Pox Disease

The primary organism that cause and spreads fowl pox is mosquitoes and other biting insects through their bite.

Mosquitoes when they bite an infected wild animal and or bird, transfer the infected blood to the poultry birds. They can keep this virus in their salivary glands for as long as 8 weeks.

Another mode of transmission is through infected birds. The infected bird may be in the farm or a new addition.

Pecking on open wounds, feathers can also increase chances of  infections. A bird can become infected when they come in contact with the droppings or feathers of infected birds.

Humans can bring diseases to the farm with their footwear and having contact with infected birds elsewhere. Not everyone should be allowed into the poultry pen and care givers should clean up after touching infected birds.

Stress can also reduce immunity in chicken making them vulnerable to diseases and infections.

Preventive Measures Against Fowl Pox Disease

  1. Proper hygiene is the best shot to prevent fowl pox diseases. Mosquitoes and other insects breed where there is stagnant water, trash and dirts.
  2. Natural mosquito and insect repellants should be used as well as non-toxic insecticides to reduce the availability of insects that can spread or cause the viral infections.
  3. Plants that naturally repel mosquitoes include neem leaves, basil, rosemary etc. Having them around the poultry pen can reduce the rate of insect invasion.

    Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
    Neem In Preventing Fowl Pox In Poultry
  4. Disinfecting visitors and caregivers before having contact with the birds should be done at all times. Special footwear should be made available with overalls and gloves.
  5. Food trays, water containers and other items used by and for an infected bird should be cleaned properly and retrieved from uninfected birds.
  6. Infected birds should be quarantined and medical attention given. This pen should be away from other pen.
  7. Vaccination against fowl pox disease should be administered as at when due.

    Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
    Vaccination Against Fowl Pox In Poultry

Treatment Of Fowl Pox Disease

Like all viral infections, there is no cure for fowl pox disease. There are however medications to treat the symptoms shown in birds.

Antibiotics such as tetracycline can be used to treat secondary infections because an antibiotic doesn’t work on viral infections. The tetracycline antibiotics is administered through the birds water.

Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
Kitted Poultry Caregiver

Vitamin supplements can be added to boost immunity and make up for the loss of dietary nutrients. Vitamins A, B, D and E boost the respiratory system and aids healing.

Scabs should be treated with diluted iodine solution to prevent flies from perching and also heal up the wounds.

Neosporin can be applied to the scabs to soften it to prevent roughening of the infected part causing more injuries.


Fowl pox disease affects chicken and doesn’t affect humans although it can be transmitted by humans through cloth items and footwears.

It is a disease can be life threatening in the case of wet fowl pox if care is not taken, lead to high mortality and loss of investment.

Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming
Fowl Pox Disease In Poultry Farming

Preventive measures is the best way to protect birds and investments. Proper hygiene and good farm practices by the care givers goes a long way in curtailing an outbreak.

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