Diseases of Free Range Poultry

Victoria Roberts


The Chicken Health Handbook

Gail Damerow

Poultry Diseases

and Other Health Problems

There are a number of health problems and poultry diseases that you may encounter at one time or another. This section of the site contains articles and information about many of the most common problems. It is divided into sub-categories to help you find the information easily.
Examine your bird, then check their symptoms here to get an ideas of what could be wrong with them.
Please remember this advice should not replace the advice of a qualified vet - Whilst we have experience in keeping chickens, waterfowl and a few other types of poultry, we are not vets!

Worth a mention are "Diseases of Free Range Poultry" and "The Chicken Health Handbook", both very good books covering just about all diseases and disorders in a non technical way. Victoria Roberts' book in particular is an excellent read with information aimed at UK enthusiasts.


  • Red Mites

    Red Mite

    Articles and information about red mites and how to get rid of them.

    Symptoms can include hens off lay, pale combs and wattles and hens not wanting to go to roost in infected houses.

  • Respiratory Problems

    Respiritory ProblemsArticles and information about respiratory problems in poultry.

    Symptoms of typical poultry respiratory problems include: Runny / watery eyes, swollen sinusses, wheezing, sneezing, gurgling / rattling, and difficulty breathing.

  • Digestive System Problems

    Chicken Digestive System

    Information about the digestive system and the problems that can occur in poultry.

    Symptoms of typical digestive system problems include: Loss of appitite, a swollen crop, bad or sweet smelling breath, diarrhea, or messy bottoms.

  • Reproductive System Problems

    Reproductive SystemInformation about the reproductive system and disorders of the reproductive system, including egg laying problems. Problems with eggs themselves are covered in the Eggs Category below.

    Symptoms of reproductive disorders include infertility, hatching problems, laying difficulty, swollen abdomen and prolapse.

  • Egg Problems

    Egg ProblemsArticles and information concerning egg problems

    For egg laying problems, see Reproductive System. Typical egg problems are soft or missing egg shells, wrinkled or misshaped eggs, watery whites, double or multiple yolks and worms or blood spots inside eggs.

  • Skeletal and Muscular Disorders

    Chicken SkeletonArticles and information about skeletal and muscular problems in poultry.

    Lameness, splayed legs, legs or wings pointing in odd directions, inflamation of joints are all typical symptoms of skeletal and muscular disorders.

  • External Problems

    Poultry Health ProblemsInformation and articles about problems  that affect feathers, beak, skin, scales, eyes, comb, and nails

    Cuts, wounds, feather loss, blindness, external parasites, (with the exception of red mites which are in a separate section) and other symptoms.

  • Nervous System Problems

    nervous-disorder-thumbThe nervous system is effected by a number of things from nutritional disorders to beak trimming and diseases such as Marek's disease.

  • Cardiovascular and Organs

    cardio-organs-thumbArticles and information about health problems with cardiovascular and major organs in poultry.
    Symptoms such as rapid un-explained death of a seemingly healthy bird.

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