The best fed and housed stock with the best genetic potential will not grow and produce efficiently if they become diseased or infested with parasites. Therefore good poultry health management is an important component of poultry production. Because poultry are housed commercially at high stocking densities, infectious disease causing agents will spread through the flock very quickly. A disease is any condition that interferes with the normal functioning of the cells, tissues, organs or systems of the body.
Poultry health management, to be effective, must aim to prevent the onset of disease or parasites, to recognise at an early stage the presence of disease or parasites, and to treat all flocks that are diseased or infested with parasites as soon as possible and before they develop into a serious condition or spread to other flocks. To be able to do this, it is necessary to know the action required for preventing or minimising disease, how to monitor for signs that the prevention program is working and how to recognise that the birds are diseased .
Principles of health management
The key principles of poultry health management are:
- Prevention of diseas
- Early recognition of disease
- Early treatment of disease
As much as is possible disease should be prevented. It is easier and less damaging to prevent disease than it is to treat it. However, it must not be assumed that all disease can be prevented. Inevitably, some will get past the defenses, in which case, it becomes imperative omg that the condition be recognised as early as possible to allow treatment or other appropriate action to be implemented as soon as possible to bring the situation under control with a minimum of damage.