Fowlpox – Backyard Chickens’ Health and Care

Illnesses in chickens

What is Fowlpox?

Fowlpox is a viral disease that affects chickens and other birds. The disease is caused by the Fowlpox virus, which is a member of the Poxviridae family. Fowlpox is characterised by the formation of scabby lesions on the unfeathered parts of the bird’s body, such as the comb, wattles, and legs. The disease can also cause a decrease in egg production and weight gain in affected birds.

Fowlpox Symptoms

The symptoms of Fowlpox can vary depending on the severity of the infection, but the disease is generally characterised by the following symptoms:

• Formation of scabby, wart-like lesions on the unfeathered parts of the body, such as the comb, wattles, and legs
• Decreased egg production or weight gain in affected hens
• Mild respiratory symptoms such as coughing and sneezing
• Reduced appetite and lethargy

Fowlpox Causes

Fowlpox is caused by the Fowlpox virus, which is highly contagious and can be transmitted through contact with infected chooks or contaminated equipment. The virus can survive in the environment for several weeks, making it difficult to eradicate once it has infected a flock.

Fowlpox Diagnosis

Diagnosing Fowlpox can be challenging, as the symptoms can be similar to other poultry diseases. A veterinarian specialising in poultry health can help to diagnose the disease through a combination of clinical signs, laboratory tests, and post-mortem examinations.

Fowlpox Treatment

There is no specific treatment for Fowlpox, and affected chickens typically recover on their own within a few weeks to a few months. Supportive care such as providing a clean, warm, and dry environment with access to food and water can help affected birds recover more quickly. In severe cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections.

Fowlpox Prevention

Preventing Fowlpox is important for maintaining the health and productivity of your flock. The following measures can help prevent the spread of Fowlpox:

• Practice good biosecurity by preventing contact with other flocks and wild birds, and disinfecting equipment and surfaces regularly
• Vaccinate your birds against Fowlpox, which can help prevent the spread of the disease
• Provide a clean and well-ventilated living environment for your birds, with plenty of space to move around
• Provide a well-balanced and nutritious diet, with access to clean water at all times
• Monitor your girls for any signs of illness, and isolate any sick chooks to prevent the spread of disease


Fowlpox is a viral disease that can have a negative impact on the health and productivity of your flock. Practicing good biosecurity, vaccinating your birds, and providing a clean and healthy living environment can help prevent the spread of Fowlpox and other poultry diseases. If you suspect that your birds may be infected with Fowlpox or any other illness, seek the advice of a veterinarian who specialises in poultry health.

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