Virulent Newcastle Disease In Poultry: Symptoms And Best Preventive Measures

newcastle disease in poultry

Virulent Newcastle disease is one of the major diseases in poultry. It is termed virulent because of the high vulnerability of poultry birds to Newcastle disease.

Newcastle disease is a viral disease; this makes it more serious and of major economic concern in poultry farming. It affects all breeds of chickens as well as other poultry birds like turkey. Sadly, Newcastle disease has no treatment or cure because it is a virus disease.

All poultry birds, irrespective of the age have the propensity to be down on Newcastle disease; this is why Newcastle vaccine has the longest administration period on poultry birds. The virus to stimulate the outbreak of Newcastle disease resides within the birds; it only needs favorable conditions to escalate.

It is quite difficult to know the conditions that support Newcastle poultry disease. The symptoms of Newcastle disease are very glaring and these are what often prompt farmers to know their flock is down on this disease. Vaccination against Newcastle disease should be taken seriously at the right dosage and at due time. Ideally, vaccination should be done every three months.

It interests me to let you know that Newcastle disease occurs in two ways; some literature says there are two types of Newcastle disease. They are:  

  • Lentogenic Newcastle Disease
  • Chronic Newcastle Disease

In my opinion, there are not different in occurrence. The only difference is the severity of the outbreak and this is a function of the management of the birds right from day one.

The Lentogentic Newcastle disease is that type that shows no prior symptoms but the sudden death of birds. It is usually characterized by a high level of mortality.

Do you know what causes Lentogenic Newcastle disease?

It is caused by the failure or negligence of the farmer to vaccines and vaccinations. Some farmers do not believe in vaccines and when Newcastle disease strikes, it kills the chickens in high number. Failure to vaccinate the chicken against Newcastle disease when due leads to the sudden death of birds.

The chronic type of Newcastle disease is the common type commercial poultry farmers do experience. It shows visible symptoms of Newcastle and it does not cause high mortality unless the farmer fails to react. It is often characterized by the decline in the overall performance of the birds.

Do you know what causes chronic Newcastle disease?

This type of Newcastle disease is often caused by a low dosage of vaccine or overdue of subsequent vaccination period. The farmer in this shoe does vaccinate the chickens but he probably vaccinates at low dose or vaccinates at the wrong time.

Because the farmer actually administers Newcastle vaccine makes the chicken develop some feeble resistance against the total effect of the Newcastle disease. This is why the birds would show signs of weakness in performance rather than outright mortality.

Signs of Newcastle disease in poultry

In chicks

  • Respiratory distress such as: coughing and sneezing
  • Rhythmic movement or twisting of the neck
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nasal discharge
  • The birds drone together, keeps head on the ground, when on deep litter system,
  • The birds make screeching sound.
  • The bird has diarrhea or watery poo
  • Drooping wings 
  • In severe cases, Paralysis leads to death

On layers

  • The bird would be off-feed, that is lack of appetite.
  • The animal makes screeching sound.
  • The bird produces peewee eggs.
  • The bird produces shell-less eggs.
  • When it becomes severe and chronic, the birds turn their head and drop greenish feaces.
  • Swelling of the tissues of the head.
  • Above all, there is a drastic drop in production.

Prevention and Treatment of Newcastle disease

Firstly, I need to tell you this truth. There is no poultry drug to treat Newcastle disease but I would share with you effective management practices to control and prevent Newcastle disease either in commercial poultry farm or in an organic poultry farm.

Prevention of Newcastle disease in commercial poultry farm

Usually, in commercial poultry farms, Newcastle disease is often prevented using vaccines only. There are Newcastle disease vaccines (Lasota) you must administer at a certain period of your production stage. Vaccination against Newcastle must be done at:

  • First week of stocking, usually at day 2-3
  • Day 10
  • Day 28
  • Day 42
  • Week 18
  • Once in 2 months for layers

This vaccination schedule strengthens the immune system of your birds against Newcastle disease. Also, keep your farm environment clean always; disinfect your pen after every batch of production.

Ensure you prevent the entrance and access of local chickens, birds, and rate into your pen, especially having access to the feed. Use biosecurity measures to restrict movement within your farm.

Prevention of Newcastle disease in an organic poultry farm

Organic poultry farming is that system of raising chicken that strictly uses natural materials from the day one to harvest. This system sternly detests the use of vaccines and synthetic drugs like antibiotics.

Sadly, Newcastle disease virus does not give special preference for organic birds. It is virulent. An herb called Tagiri has been proven very effective at controlling Newcastle disease in poultry. As an organic poultry farmer, I recommend you use Tagiri for your birds against Newcastle disease.

Learn how to prepare Tagiri for preventing Newcastle disease; it is cheap and very effective.

Read: How To Treat Coccidiosis Organically In Chickens

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Author: Agbabiaka Abdulquadri

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