Newcastle disease (NCD)

is a serious poultry disease and can affect any kind of poultry operation, from backyard production to large commercial poultry farms.

NCD is passed through the droppings of sick and healthy-looking chickens that carry the virus. Healthy chickens are infected when they eat food or drink water contaminated by droppings. There’s no treatment for NCD and it’s best to destroy sick chickens. NCD is also a controlled disease, which means you must contact your animal-health technician or state vet if you suspect the disease. They can help control it and prevent it from spreading. Control measures include quarantine, emergency vaccination, disinfection and burning chicken litter and dead chickens.

The best way to prevent the disease is by good management and vaccination. Only healthy chickens should be vaccinated. Ask your animal-health technician or state vet to advise you.Prevent people from other chicken farms from coming into contact with your chickens, because they could carry the virus on their clothes and shoes. Keep rats and birds away from the cages, as they could also spread the disease. You can also put a foot bath with disinfectant at the entrance of your facility.

Only buy healthy chickens and remember that indigenous poultry may be more resistant to NCD, if in good condition.

Source: Animal Health for Developing Farmers, by the Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (ARC-OVI). For more information call 012 529 9158.