Avian Tuberculosis

Avian tuberculosis is caused by the organism Mycobacterium avium (M. avium). Symptomatic birds usually have a chronic infection that can lead to:

  • Poor body condition

  • Decreased egg production

  • Granulomas (pockets of infection/inflammation in organs)

  • Eventually will lead to death

Chickens, pheasants and partridges are more likely than turkeys to get infected. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese appear more resistant to infection. M. avium can infect other animals such as pigs, as well. Once the soil is contaminated by infected animals, the organism may remain for many years. Infection, however, is a rare occurrence and not seen in chicks or pullets. 

High risk individuals:

  • Immune Compromised 

Best management practices:​

  • Do not use areas known to be previously contaminated

  • Try to use all in/all out management (replacing whole flock at once after a break between flocks)

    • If adding individuals, isolate them for 30 days from the other birds​

  • Depopulate birds when infection occurs

    • Treatment of the birds is not recommended because of the risk to create strains resistant to antibiotics

Image by Arisa Chattasa of chickens around a feeder