Infectious Diseases

Backyard birds can pass diseases to you even if they do not seem sick!

There are many diseases that can pass between you and your backyard birds, these are also known as zoonotic diseases or zoonoses. Click on each page to learn more about several of these diseases and the best ways to prevent infection. 

When to Contact a Veterinarian:

  • Changes in egg quality ​​

    • Lumpy shells​

    • Shell-less eggs

    • Blood present on eggs  

  • Irregular egg laying​​​

  • Signs of respiratory illness

    • Open-mouth breathing​

    • Nasal discharge 

    • Coughing/sneezing

  • Signs of gastro-intestinal illness

    • Diarrhea ​

    • Profusely wet litter 

  • Lameness (inability to walk/limping)

  • Neurologic signs

    • Circling, ataxia (not walking in straight line), tremors, falling over, paralysis​

  • Signs of parasites such as lice, ticks or mites 

  • Weight loss 

    • Birds will feel lighter when holding them​

    • Pronounced weight loss - can feel the keel bone more than usual (hold bird on its back and run fingers down center of chest, if prominent/sharp may be losing body condition)

  • Unexplained deaths within the flock 

checking chicken or poultry for signs of illness

Image from University of California Cooperate Extension Eggsercise Book (2021-2023)