How to get rid of dermatitis in poultry houses
What comes to mind when I mention the word Dermatitis? For most poultry farmers, this term means a threat to both their birds and their entire farm. Necrotic dermatitis, specifically gangrenous dermatitis, is a secondary bacterial infection usually caused by an infectious bursal disease.
Watch below for more on gangrenous dermatitis and how to fight this disease challenge.
Dead birds. Day after day.
It happens like this... You begin walking to your house in the morning and as you make the turn at the end of the house, you see 5 dead birds in the corner. The next day in that corner there are 20 birds. The next day there are 70 birds. Depending on how bad the outbreak of dermatitis is, you could lose up to 500 birds in a house in one day!
An even more frustrating issue with gangrenous dermatitis is that it's actually a secondary issue and the result of underlying causes in the house and bird. With characteristic gross lesions, this clinical disease can turn your poultry house environment upside down.
Bacteria and infectious bursal disease
As we mentioned, infectious bursal disease and other contributing factors like inclusion body hepatitis are the cause of gangrenous dermatitis- it's a secondary disease. The initial disease can come from a variety of environmental conditions that predispose flocks to more serious conditions.
The factor of bacteria: Clostridium is a nasty bacteria that is the main culprit in causing this disease, along with and other disease organisms. Surprisingly these culprits are EVERYWHERE- the gut of the bird, the litter, dust in the air, feces, etc… When the skin of the bird is damaged, it is like opening the door for these bandits to get into places that can do damage.
An Important Sign to Look For
I’m sure many of you have picked up your dead birds and felt the spongy, fluid filled skin. This comes from gas that is created by the bacteria between the muscle and the skin. If you can detect this happening in your flock before the mortality begins to increase then you have a good chance of minimizing the damage from gangrenous dermatitis.
Can you defeat dermatitis?
No matter what you do to deal with the bad bacteria, it is impossible to get rid of all of it. The goal is to manage the load levels. That is why helping your birds build their immune system is crucial.
Giving your birds probiotics will help them fight off harmful bacteria, like Clostridium and staphylococcus aureus, in the gut. Probiotics also help with nutrient uptake. When birds pass feed, that's not just affecting their feed conversion, it's depriving them of the nutrients in the feed.
If your integrator allows you to run vitamins, apple cider vinegar, electrolytes and other treatments, try running those as well for added immune support. Along with keeping them hydrated, by inhibiting bad bacteria from overpopulating inside the gut, your birds have a better chance to fight against dermatitis.
Address wet litter and litter moisture
Foot pad dermatitis is another form of dermatitis that can be deadly to a flock. When chicken feet have any cuts or openings in them, they can become very vulnerable to bacteria living in bedding material.
Many farmers need to do a complete clean out of litter material in order to increase their litter quality and get rid of harmful microbial growth. However, this may not be enough to address serious outbreaks.
Using a litter treatment can address the bacteria involved in dermatitis and other diseases on a microbial level. Litter treatments like Litter Life can prevent repeat outbreaks by using beneficial bacteria to combat the harmful bacteria that causes these diseases. Check out our Grower Spotlight blog to learn about how Litter Life prevented a Georgia poultry farmer from losing his farm.
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