Chicken are vulnerable to diseases. Farmers can, however, keep away diseases through proper feeding, housing, hygiene and regular vaccination. Exotic Newcastle Disease virus (NDV) is one of the most common diseases in chicken. Most chicken species do not show any or only limited signs of disease if they become infected. This is a contagious disease, which spreads through contact. It also spreads through contaminated air, water, feeds, sick birds and their products like meat, feathers, eggs and intestines. Contact with people from the infected area, chicken house, contaminated cars, hoes cages and baskets can also accelerate the spread. Most infected chicken eventually dies, but there is a period before they succumb when they can easily spread the virus. Apart from vaccination, it is important for farmers to know what causes most chicken diseases so that they can maintain their health. To prevent NDV and other related diseases consider the following;
Maintaining hygiene is one of the most important steps a farmer can take to prevent diseases in their poultry. The poultry house should be kept clean at all times. Ensure that the chicken droppings are swept every day. If possible, apply a disinfectant regularly to kill any disease-causing germs or viruses.
An ideal house should give each bird at least two square feet of space to move; overcrowded birds are prone to stress and even cannibalism. A chicken house should be well ventilated to allow free air circulation, but the house should not allow the wind as this may affect the birds. Ensure there is adequate space for all the birds to avoid overcrowding. The floor should be cemented for easy washing and sweeping. It should also be lined with wood shavings to keep the birds warm and comfortable.
This refers to the confinement of animals within a controlled environment. A fence keeps your chicken in, but it also keeps other animals out. Prevent the introduction of new chicken to a previously infected facility for two to three weeks after a complete clean-out.
Be a good neighbour
If you have or suspect Exotic Newcastle disease, initiate a self-imposed quarantine. Most critically, stop all movements of people. Make no unnecessary visits to other farms.
Cleaning and disinfection
Newcastle disease virus is a hardy virus and can survive at room temperature for days to months. However, NDV is sensitive to most disinfectants and can be readily inactivated if a surface is properly cleaned. A list of disinfectants effective in killing NDV are important. One can use AVIVAX 1-2 vaccine that is thermo-stable and lasts for eight weeks at room temperature.