1919 Farm Journal Illustrated Rural Directory Of
Genesee County, Michigan
Poultry Disease & Enemies


By Holice, Clayton, and Debbie


(from the Biggles Poultry Book)

Many of the ills that poultry flesh is heir to are directly traceable to bad breeding and treatment. In-and-in breeding is practiced and the law of the survival of the fittest is disregarded until the stock becomes weak and a prey of disease.

Yards and runs occupied for any considerable time became covered with excreta and a breeding ground for all manner of disease germs.

Dampness from leaky roofs and from wet earth floors, and draughts from side cracks, or from overhead ventilation slay their thousands yearly.

A one-sided diet of grain, especially corn, moldy grain or meal, decayed meat or vegetables, filthy water, or the lack of gritty material are fruitful sources of sickness.

In the treatment of sick birds much depends on the nursing and care. It is useless to give medicine unless some honest attempt be made to remove the causes that produce the disturbance. Unless removed the cause will continue to operate and the treatment must be repeated.

It is an excellent plan to have a coop in some secluded place to be used exclusively as a hospital. If cases cannot be promptly treated it is better to use the hatchet at once and bury deeply, or burn the carcasses. This is the proper plan in every case where birds become very ill before they are discovered.

Sick birds should in no case be allowed to run with the flock and to eat and drink with them.

In giving the following remedies we make no pretense to a scientific handling of the subject.

FEVERS, from colds, fighting of cocks, etc. Symptoms: unusual heat of body, red face, watery eyes, and watery discharge from nostrils.

Give dessertspoonful citrate of magnesia and, as a drink, ten drops of nitre in half a pint of water.

APOPLEXY AND VERTIGO, from overfeeding or fright. Symptoms: unsteady motion of the head, running around, loss of control of limbs, Give a purgative and bleed from the large veins under wings.

PARALYSIS, from highly seasoned food, and over stimulating diet. Symptoms: inability to use the limbs, birds lie helpless on their side, Treatment--the same as for apoplexy.

LEG WEAKNESS occurs in fast-growing young birds, mostly among cockerels. A fowl having this weakness will show it by squatting on the ground frequently and by a tottering walk. When not hereditary, it usually arises form adiet that contains too much fat and toolittle flesh and bonepmaking material, such as bread, rive, corn and potatoes. To this should be added cut green bone, oats, shorts, bran and clover, green or dry. Give a tonic pill three times a day made of sulphate of iron, 1 grain; strychnine, 1 grain; phosphate of line, 16 grains; sulphate of quinine, 1/2 grain. Make into thirty pills.

CANKER OF THE MOUTH AND HEAD--the sores characteristic of this disease are covered with a yellow cheesy matter which, when it is removed, reveals the raw flesh. Canker will rapidly spread through a flock, as the exudation from the sores is a virulent poison, and well birds are contaminated through the soft feed and drinking water. Sick birds should be separated from the flock and all water and feed vessels disinfected by scalding or coating with lime wash. Apply to sores with a small pippet syringe or dropper the peroxide of hydrogen. When the entire surface is more or less affected, use a sprayer. Where there is much of the cheesy matter formed, first remove it with a large quill before using the peroxide. A simple remedy is an application to the raw flesh of powdered alum, scorched until slightly brown.

SCALY LEG, caused by a microscopic insect burrowing beneath the natural scales of the shank. At first the shanks appear dry, and a fine scale like dandruff forms. Soon the natural scale disappears and gives place to a hard, white scurf. The disease passes from one fowl to another through the medium of nests and perches, and the mother-hen infecting her brood. To prevent its spread, coat perches with kerosene and burn old nesting material and never use sitting hens affected by the disease. To cure, mix 1.2 ounce flowers of sulphur, 1/4 ounce carbolic acid crystals and stir these into 1 pound of melted lard. Apply with an old tooth brush, rubbing in well. Make applications at intervals of a week.

WORMS in the intestines of fowls indicate disturbed digestion. Loss of appetite, and lack of thrift are signs of their presence. Give santonin in 2-grain doses six hours apart. A few hours after the second dose give a dessertspoonful of castor oil, OR, put 15 drops of spirits of turpentine in a pint of water and moisten the feed with it.

BUMBLE-FOOT, caused by a bruise in flying down from perches or in some similar manner. A small corn appears on the bottom of the foot, which swells and ulcerates and fills with hard, cheesy pus. With a sharp knife make a cross cut and carefully remove al the pus. Wash the cavity with warm water, dip the foot in a solution of one-fourth ounce of sulphate of copper to a quart of water and bind up with a rag and place the bird on a bed of dry straw. Before putting on the bandage anoint the wound with the ointment recommended for scaly leg or coat it with iodine.

GAPES, caused by the gape-worm, a parasite that attached itself to the windpipe, filling it up and causing the bird to gasp for breath. The worn is about three-fourths of an inch long, smooth and red in color. It appears to be forked at one end, but in reality each parasite is two worms, together. This parasite breeds in the common earth worm. Chicks over three months old are seldom affected. If kept off of the ground for two months after hatching, or on perfectly dry soil, or on land where affected chicks have never run, chicks seldom suffer from the gapes. Old rums and infested coil should have frequent dressings of lime.

In severe cases the worms should be removed. To do this put a few drops of kerosene in a teaspoon of sweet oil. Strip a soft wing feather of its web to within an inch of the tip, dip in the oil, insert feather in windpipe, twirl and withdraw. Very likely some of the parasites and mucus will come with it. The rest will be loosened or killed, and eventually thrown out. It may be necessary to repeat the operation.

To kill the worm in its lodgment, gum camphor in the drinking water or pellets of it as large as a pea forced down the throat is recommended. Turpentine in the soft feed as advised in the treatment for worms in the intestines, is said to be effective. Pinching the windpipe with the thumb and finger will sometimes loosen the parasite.

When broods are quartered on soil known to be infested, air-slacked lime should be dusted on the floor of the coop, and every other night, for two or three weeks, a little of the same should be dusted in the coop over the hen and her brood. To apply, use a dusting bellows, and only a little each time.

CHOLERA is due tot a specific germ, or virus, and must not be confounded with common diarrhea. In genuine cholera digestion is arrested, the crop remains full, there is fever and great thirst. The bird drinks, but refuses food an appears to be in distress. There is a thickening of the blood, which is made evident in the purple color of the comb. The discharges from the kidneys, called the urates, which in health are white, become yellowish, deep yellow, or, in the final stages, a greenish-yellow. The diarrhea grows more severe as the disease progresses. A fowl generally succumbs in two days. The virus of cholera is not diffusible in the air, bur remains in the soil, which becomes infected from the discharges, and in the body and blood of the victims. It may be carried from place to place on the feet of other fowls or animals,. Soil may be disinfected by saturating it with a weak solution of sulphuric acid in water. Remove at once all well birds to new and clean quarters and wring the necks of all sick birds and burn the carcasses and disinfect their quarters.

For cases not to far gone to cure five sugar of lead, pulverized opium, gum camphor, or each 60 grains, powdered capsicum (or fluid extract of capsicum is better, 10 drops) grains, 10. Dissolve the camphor in just enough alcohol that will do so without making it a fluid, then rub up the other ingredients in the same bolus, mix with soft corn meal dough, enough to make it into a mass, then roll it and divide the whole into one hundred and twenty pills. Dose, one to three pills a day for grown chicks or turkey, less to the small dry. The birds that are well enough to eat should have sufficient powdered charcoal in their soft feed every =other day to color it slightly, and for every twenty fowls five drops of carbolic acid in the hot water with which the feed is moistened.

ROUP--The first symptoms are those of a cold in the head. Later on the watery discharge from the nostrils and eyes thickens and fills the nasal cavities and throat, the head swells and the eyes close up and bulge out. The odor from affected fowls is very offensive. It is contagious by diffusion in the air and by contact with the exudations from sick fowls. To disinfect houses and coops burn sulphur and carbolic acid in hem after turning the fowls out and keep closed or an hour or two. Pour a gill of turpentine and a gill of carbolic acid over a peck of line and let it become slaked, then scatter freely over the interior of houses and coops and about the yards.

For the first stages spray the affected flock while on the roost or in the coop with a mixture of two tablespoons of carbolic acid and a piece of fine salt as big as a walnut in a pint of water. Or, if a dry powder is preferred, mix equal parts of sulphur, alum and magnesia and dust this in their nostrils, eyes and throat with a small powder gun. The nasal cavities should be kept open by injecting with a glass syringe or sewing machine oil-can a drop or two of crude petroleum. A little should be introduced also through the slit in the roof of the mouth. Give sick birds a dessertspoonful of castor oil two nights in succession, and feed soft food of bran and corn meal seasoned with red pepper and powdered cayenne. A physician advises the following treatment: Hydrastin, 10 grains; sulph. quinine, 10 grains; capsicum, 20 grains. Mixed in a mass with balsam copaiba and made into twenty pills; give one pill morning and night; keep the bird warm and inject a saturated solution of chlorate potash in nostrils and about 20 drops down the throat.

PIP, so-called, is not a disease but only a symptom. The drying and hardening of the end of the tongue in what is called "pip" is due to t breathing through the mouth, which the bird is compelled to do because of the stoppage of the nostrils. By freeing the natural aid passages the tongue will resume its normal condition.

DIPHTHERIA is a contagious disease. The first symptoms are those of a common cold and catarrh. The head becomes red and there are signs of fever, then the throat fills up with thick, white mucus and white ulcers appear. The bird looks anxious and stretches its neck and gasps. When it attacks young chicks it is frequently mistaken for gapes. When diphtheria prevails, impregnate the drinking water with camphor, a teaspoonful of the spirits to a gallon of water, and fumigate the house as recommended for roup.

Spray the throat with peroxide of hydrogen or with this formula: 1 ounce glycerine, 5 drops nitric acid, 1 gill water. To treat several birds at once with medicated vapor, take a long box with the lid off, make a partition across and hear the one end and cover the bottom with coal ashes. Mix a tablespoonful each of pine tar, turpentine and sulphur, to which add a few drops, or a few crystals of carbolic acid, and a pinch of gum camphor. Heat a brick very hot, put the fowls in the large part and the brick in the other, drop a spoonful of the mixture on the brick and cover lightly to keep the fumes in among the patients. Watch carefully, as one or two minutes may be all they can endure. Repeat in six hours if required.

CROP-BOUND--the crop becomes much distended and hard from obstruction of the passage from the crop to the gizzard by something swallowed; generally, it is long, dried grass, a bit of rag or rope. Relief may sometimes be afforded by giving a tablespoon of sweet oil and then gently kneading the crop with the hand. Give no food, except a little milk, until the crop is emptied. Wet a tablespoonful or more of pulverized charcoal with the milk and force it down the throat. Should the crop not empty itself naturally pluck a few feathers from the upper right side of it and with a sharp knife make a cut about an inch long in the outer skin. Draw this skin a little to one side and cut open the crop. Remove its contents, being careful not to miss the obstruction. Have a needle threaded with white silk ready, and take a stitch or two in the crop skin first, then sew up the outer skin separately. Put the patient in a comfortable coop, and feed sparingly for a week on bran and meal in a moist state, and give but little water.

SORT OR SWELLED-CROP, arises from lack of grit, or from eating soggy and unwholesome food. The distended crop contain water and gas, the bird is feverish and drinks a great deal. By holding it up with its head down the crop will usually empty itself. When this is done give teaspoon doses of charcoal slightly moistened twice at intervals of six hours. Restrict the supply of water and feed chopped ions and soft feed in moderation.

EGG-BOUND, DISEASE OF THE OVIDUCT. Overfat hens are often troubled in this way. Forcing hens for egg production will sometimes break down the laying machinery. Give green food, oats, little corn, and no stimulating condiments. Let the diet be plain and cooling in its nature. To relieve hens of eggs broken in the oviduct, anoint the forefinger with sweet oil and deftly insert and draw out the broken parts. When the hen is very fat and the egg is so large it cannot be expelled, the only way to save the hen is to break the egg and remove it as above directed.

WHITE COMB OR SCURVY-- caused by crowded and filthy quarters and lack of green food. The comb is covered with a white scurf. This condition sometimes extends over the head and down the neck, causing the feathers to fall off.

Change the quarters and diet, give a dose of castor oil and follow this with a half a teaspoon of sulphur in the soft food daily.

RHEUMATISM AND CRAMP caused by cold and dampness. Chicks reared on bottom-heating brooders are particularly subject to these troubles. Damp earth floors and cement floors in poultry houses produce it in older birds.

Give dry and comfortable quarters, feed little meat, plenty of green food, and soft feed seasoned with red pepper.

DIARRHEA of chicks with clogging of the vent. Remove the hardened excretion and anoint with parts. Chamonilia is useful in this complaint, a few drops in drinking water.

FROSTED COMB AND WATTLES-- As soon as discovered bathe with compound tincture of benzoin.

FOR LICE, on perches, walls and coops, use kerosene or line wash. To make the lime-wash more effective, pour a little crude carbolic acid on the lime before slaking or mix with plenty of salt.

For use in nests, pour crude carbolic acid on lime and allow it to air-slake. Put one or two handfuls of the carbolized line dust in the nest box.

Pyrethrum powder kills by contact and is effective for dusting in nests, and through the feathers of birds. Its judicious use in the plumage and nests of sitting hens will insure immunity from lice for the hen and her young brood.

Chicks and poults are often killed by large lice that congregate about the head, throat, vent and wings. To destroy them, soak fish berries in alcohol, take the birds from under the mothers at night and slightly moisten the down of the infested parts with the poison.


Now that eggs are dearer as a rule than they have been for yeas, many people are inquiring about the methods of preserving them. The old way was to pack them in sale or lime. This served the purpose, but It gave the eggs a very strong taste.

The approved method now is the now which calls for the use of "water glass," or silicate of soda. This is a thick, syrupy liquid which can be had at most drug stores for about 10 cents a pound, and a pound is enough to treat five dozen eggs, so that the cost of preserving is about two cents a dozen.

There are several grades of water glass, and it is wise to get the best. To prepare the solution, stir one part of the silicate of soda into sixteen parts of water which has been boiled, cooled and carefully measured.

It is essential to have the eggs fresh, or the experiment will not be a great success. Those over three days old should not be used, as the air has already had a chance to penetrate them. The very best way is to keep the solution made up ready and put the eggs into it just as soon as they are brought in from the nests, if you have your own chickens,

It is worse than useless to try to preserve eggs that are not fresh or that have been cracked or washed.




20-22 days


28-34 days


28 days


27-29 days

Guinea Fowls

25 days


25 days


40-42 days


The period of gestation in animals varies considerably, but the following is an average period based on a long series of observation.


2 years


11-12 months


12 months


11 months


9 months


5 months


5 months


3-1/2 months


9 weeks


8 weeks


30 days

Guinea pig

65 days



Published By Wilmer Atkinson Company, Philadelphia, 1919

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