Botulism in Chickens: Causes, Detection and Prevention

Botulism in Chickens: Causes, Detection and Prevention

Botulism in chickens is a rare and life-threatening disease that affects not only humans but mammals, and domestic poultry such as chickens. Also known as limberneck, this toxic disorder can cause paralysis and even death if the patient is not treated immediately. It is mainly caused by ingesting food that has been contaminated by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can usually be found in decaying matter.

The first recorded incident of having this paralytic illness was in Europe in 1735. During that time, experts believe that the main source of the poison is a sausage which in the Latin language is called “botutus.” Botulism outbreaks in chickens are quite as compared to humans. Transmission from one chicken to another is not possible. But if you have a lot of chickens and the feeds got contaminated, all of them will likely be infected.

Once the poison has been ingested, it will be absorbed by the intestine and will go to the bloodstream. Symptoms include vomiting, suffocation, difficulty in swallowing, blurred vision, reduced muscle tone especially in the neck and legs, and being unable to stand. Infected chickens are usually found lying on the ground or dead but with no evidence that they struggled. Victims are usually known to have eaten rotten food and digestive tracts of animals.

If you think your chicken has ingested some amount of toxin, it may still survive. However, the toxins should be removed from its body. And because the bird may find it difficult to swallow, don’t offer food and water. Instead, wait for your chicken to lift its head and make clucking sounds. However, if your chicken has no improvement within 24-48 hours, you are very likely to lose him.

How To Prevent Botulism in Chickens

So far, there is no treatment or cure for botulism. The only way to fight it is to avoid it. Prevention includes properly disposal of spoiled food or food waste, throwing away canned goods with a broken seal, cleaning of waterers regularly, making sure that the feeds are fresh and new. You should prevent your chicken from drinking water that was previously mixed with rotten meat or vegetables.


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