Diseases of Guinea fowl.

Guinea fowl suffer less disease than other types of poultry but they do get sick.

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What are the Symptoms of Guinea Illness?

GUINEA FOWLS are mainly raised for eggs and meat. Being robust by nature, they can thrive well in drought prone regions. The birds feed on a wide variety of insects and crop pests.

The alert birds have been known to attack rodents, eat venomous insects and even kill snakes approaching their nesting areas. Any change in their vigilant behaviour or decrease in egg production can be early warning signs of impending illness. Check for additional symptoms that may indicate the onset of serious disease.

How do I know if my Guinea fowl is sick?

If Your Guinea fowl is not eating and drinking as she normally would that's definitely a sign something may be going on with her.

All fluffed up and hunched up when it is not cold.

Stood still and not wandering with the others.

Check the head and neck:- A look at your guinea hen's head can tip you off to common poultry diseases. Discharge from the eyes or nostrils can indicate respiratory infections, while distinct swelling of the face, helmet or wattles can indicate a serious condition known as swollen head syndrome. A sick hen frequently has a diminished appetite and might stop drinking water as well. Dull eyes, red tear ducts, and sneezing are other symptoms of illness you may notice when examining your guinea hen's head.

Check the breathing:- Listen to your guinea breathing when roosting at night and all is quiet. If her breathing sounds rattly or laboured then she will need to see a veterinarian. Feel her body carefully with your fingers.

Lost weight:- Sickness may cause her to become emaciated quickly, especially if she becomes dehydrated from not drinking water. Some diseases, such as lymphoid leukosis, cause an enlarged abdomen. A sick hen will many times puff up her feathers and sit in a hunched position.

Lets talk about bottoms:- Look at your Guinea fowls vent area beneath her tail. If you see mites, redness or swelling she may have parasites or another condition that is making her sick. Soiled feathers around her vent can indicate explosive diarrhoea or a pasty vent. A sick bird will sometimes peck at the feathers around her vent, which can lead to open sores that other birds will pick at. Take a look at her eggs. If they have a rough texture, runny whites or thin or missing shells, your bird is sick.

Gait and walking:- Other indicators of a sick guinea hen can include unwillingness or inability to stand. Her legs may turn pale, swell or look inflamed and she may lay with them straight out instead of tucked underneath her. A sick guinea hen may also have an unpleasant smell. Guinea hens may succumb quickly to illness without medical intervention. If you suspect your bird is sick, place her in a warm area away from drafts and contact your veterinarian. 

See how to catch Guineas.

What causes illness in Guinea fowl?

Guinea fowls, though hardy and resistant, are susceptible to viral diseases, bacterial infections and  protozoan diseases like coccidiosis.

E-coli is found to affect young keets of about 8-12 weeks of age, he said. The infection is caused mainly due to poor litter management.

Coccidiosis infection, severe diarrhoea, a condition common in poultry, is mainly noticed during winter. 

Guinea fowl with impacted crop:

Unlike local chicken varieties, Guinea fowls require high amounts of protein and minerals in their feed. On an average each adult guinea bird consumes about 200 grams of grass and weeds a day. Crop problems are dealt with in the same way as chickens.

As long as they have grit and stones in their diet they will normally be just fine. 

Egg binding in guinea fowl:

Guinea fowl may become egg bound.I have never seen it or heard of it is Guineas but it may happen in first time layers. Feel for an egg that may be stuck, and check for any signs of an egg that has broken inside her and her vent will be wet and messy.

There is little chance of success but treatment is the same as for chickens. 

Keet mortality:

Another limiting factor in guinea fowl rearing is keet mortality. Keets require high amounts of proteins and minerals in their feed from the first week of hatching. Deficiency in these could cause poor growth and susceptibility to infections. 

Fowl Pox:

Fowl pox is transmitted by direct contact between infected and susceptible birds or by mosquitoes. Virus-containing scabs also can be sloughed from affected birds and serve as a source of infection. The virus can enter the blood stream through the eye, skin wounds, or respiratory tract.

No treatment is available but fowl pox is relatively slow-spreading and it is possible to vaccinate to stop an outbreak.

Prevention is by killing mosquitoes. 

Mycoplasma Galliseptum:

I have been unable to find examples of MG effecting Guinea fowl but it is a possibility or they may be immune.

Infectious Coryza:

A disease affecting chicken, pheasants, guinea fowl, turkeys and other game birds

Simple coryza,is like the common cold, is usually caused by improper management in which birds are subjected to undue exposure.

Infectious coryza is caused by a specific microorganism and its severity is increased in birds subjected to resistance lowering factors.

Common Symptoms: Respiratory distress accompanied by watery and swollen eyes and poor condition.

Treatment: Simple coryza responds to correction of undue exposure. Antibiotics are beneficial.

Prevention is by vaccination if exposure risk is high. 

Fowl Cholera.

Domestic fowl of all species  and game birds are susceptible.

Fowl cholera is a contagious, bacterial disease of birds caused by Pasteurella multocida. Acutely, it causes elevated mortality. Chronically, it causes lameness, swollen wattles (in chickens), pneumonia (in turkeys), and torticollis, but it can also be asymptomatic.

Fowl cholera usually strikes birds older than 6 weeks of age. In acute outbreaks, dead birds may be the first sign.

Fever, reduced feed consumption, mucous discharge from the mouth, ruffled feathers, diarrhoea, and laboured breathing may be seen.

As the disease progresses birds lose weight, become lame from joint infections, and develop rattling noises from exudate in air passages.

Multiple means of transmission have been demonstrated. Flock additions, free-flying birds, infected premises, predators, and rodents are all possibilities.

A flock can be treated with a sulfa drug or vaccinated, or both Sulfa drugs leave residues in meat and eggs. Antibiotics can be used, but require higher levels and long term medication to stop the outbreak.

Prevention is by vaccination. Do not vaccinate for fowl cholera unless you have a problem on the farm. Rodent control is essential to prevent future outbreaks. 

Marek's disease:

Marek's disease is a highly contagious viral disease in poultry.

Vaccination is the only known method to prevent the development of tumors but administration of vaccines does not prevent transmission of the virus.

The vaccine can be administered to one-day-old chicks through subcutaneous inoculation.

Causes frequent wing and leg paralysis. 

Newcastle disease:

Newcastle disease affects all birds of all ages. Humans and other mammals are also susceptible to Newcastle. In such species, it causes a mild conjunctivitis.

There are three forms of Newcastle disease, mildly, moderately and highly pathogenic. It is notifiable meaning you have to inform the authorities if you suspect it.

Newcastle disease is characterised by a sudden onset of clinical signs which include hoarse chirps (in chicks), watery discharge from nostrils, laboured breathing or gasping, facial swelling, paralysis, trembling, and twisting of the neck.

Mortality ranges from 10 to 80 percent and there is a compulsory slaughter policy 

Avian influenza:

A virus. Highly infectious severe virus of many different strains.

Symptoms: Sudden death, drop in egg production, depression, loss of appetite, blue combs and wattles, diarrhoea, blood-tinged discharge from nostrils.

Treatment: None. It is notifiable meaning you have to inform the authorities if you suspect it.

Control is by slaughter of all birds on infected premises and surroundings.