Comb, Apoplexy, Anaemia, and Cramp - Egg-binding and Scaly-leg
In extreme cases of weakness fowls cannot pick up food, and it will be necessary to feed them by hand. For this purpose the food should be prepared in a gruel-like state and poured down the patients' throats by means of an ordinary patient's feeding-cup. Should the remedies used not be added to the drinking water, the latter should be kept frequently changed, and the vessels should be kept clean by scalding them in boiling water. It is* essential that, during the treatment of infectious cases, the drinking water be slightly tinted by the addition of a few crystals of permanganate of potash.
After isolating and attending to sick fowls, the rest of the stock should be examined to ascertain that all is well with them. If the patients isolated for treatment are suffering from a contagious ailment, those looking well should be given a dose of Epsom salts in their soft food to cleanse their systems, and they should be shifted to fresh quarters. The houses vacated should be fumigated with burning sulphur, which is best performed in the following manner : obtain a sulphur candle, such as sanitary inspectors use for house disinfection, and, having stopped up all crevices with paper, place the candle in the centre of the floor and apply a light. All doors, windows, and other apertures should, of course, be tightly shut. Let the candle burn itself out, and keep the house closed until the fumes have permeated every nook and corner. The interior of the house should then be sprayed or painted with a limewash prepared as follows : Slake half a bushel of fresh lime with water in a tub, covering it during the process to keep in the steam. Then strain the liquid through a fine sieve and mix it with a peck of salt, dissolved beforehand in a little warm water; also (this to prevent flaking) three pounds of ground rice boiled to the consistency of thin paste. Add to the whole five gallons of clean water, stir well, and allow to stand covered for a day or two. Apply hot. The runs should be dressed with slaked lime and allowed to rest for a time.
It is essential that the poultry keeper should have a knowledge of the common ailments to which fowls are subject, and also be able to diagnose particular ailments and apply the necessary treatment without loss of time, as delay in some cases may lead to fatal results. It is essential also that cases of a contagious nature should be speedily isolated for treatment to ensure the safety of the healthy stock.
Among the more dangerous and contagious diseases to which fowls are subject is that commonly called roup. In its worst form, roup is highly contagious. The symptoms are swellings underneath the eyes, swollen comb, cheesy-like matter in the mouth, and, when diphtheritic, also in the throat.
Roup is a disease of the blood, and is contracted by birds whose blood is in an impure state at a time when suffering with a neglected cold. Cases of roup should be isolated for treatment. The patients should be first dosed with Epsom salts, after which their heads, if swollen, should be bathed with a hot decoction of poppy heads, and then thoroughly dried. Any cheesy-like growths in the mouth may be removed by the aid of a small sharpened piece of wood, and the raw places left behind touched with a solution of caustic by means of a stiffish feather. Roup powder should be added to the drinking water, and the patients should be given soft, nourishing foods.
In cases of catarrh the sufferers have a watery discharge from the nostrils, and sneezing is frequently heard. The ailment is caused by roosting in a warm, impure atmosphere, followed by exposure to cold, or through roosting in draughty structures. Nothing should be done to stop the discharge from the nostrils, but the latter should be frequently sponged. Twice a day the patient should be given a teaspoonful of cod-liver oil, to which has been added two drops of oil of eucalyptus and one drop of pure terebene. Soft food should be given, and the drinking water slightly coloured with permanganate of potash.
The symptoms of bronchitis are a rattling in the throat, wheeziness in breathing, a hot condition of the head, and frequent visits to the drinking water. Nothing can be done for birds suffering with this ailment beyond placing them in a room the atmosphere of which can be kept moist by means of a bronchitis kettle, and dosing them with tincture of aconite every hour, one drop of aconite in a little water being a dose. Unless the birds are valuable, they are not worth the trouble that the treatment of bronchitis entails.
In cases of crop-binding, the crop becomes enlarged and hard. The ailment is caused by stoppage in the passage leading from the crop to other digestive organs. It is neessary to give relief as soon as possible. The patient should be given a dose of castor oil with warm water, and the crop should be gently kneaded with the fingers. If this does not right matters by the following day, an operation must be performed by a skilled hand, but, as often as not, the simple treatment referred to will effect a cure.
When fowls suffer from indigestion they become mopish and dull in plumage, whilst their combs present a dark and unhealthy appearance. The ailment affects fowls fed on starchy foods and too little green food, and deprived of the means for healthy exercise. To effect a cure Epsom salts should be added to the drinking water, and the patients should be put on soft food rations, and given plenty of green food, either in a raw state or cooked and mixed with the mashes. When the birds show an improvement in condition, they should be gradually put on to the usual grain rations, and flint grit kept within their reach.