Cover Image
close this bookPractical Poultry Raising (Peace Corps, 1981, 225 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentAbout this manual
View the documentAbout the author
View the document1. Poultry production - An overview
close this folder2. What do you have to work with?
View the documentAssessing the local situation
View the documentWhich management systems are used in your area?
View the documentCan you help?
View the documentFinding the gap
View the documentFilling the gap
View the documentEvaluating your resources
close this folder3. Getting to know the chicken
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCharacteristics of chickens
View the documentAnatomy of chickens
View the documentHandling live chickens
View the documentCatching chickens
close this folder4. Working with country chickens
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWhy work with country chickens?
View the documentProduction potential
View the documentGathering information
View the documentPossible management improvements
View the documentUpgrading the flock
View the documentFarmer assessments
close this folder5. Poultry husbandy
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBreed source
View the documentLayer breeds
View the documentMeat breeds
View the documentDual - purpose breeds
View the documentStarting a new flock
View the documentHatching chicks
View the documentIncubation
View the documentEgg selection
View the documentIncubator management
View the documentCandling eggs
View the documentBrooding chicks
View the documentMeat breed management
View the documentLayer management
View the documentOther general management principles
close this folder6. Housing and equipment
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFree - range
View the documentContained, with limited range
View the documentContained systems
View the documentBuilding a chicken house
View the documentMaking wire cages
View the documentUse of cages
View the documentEquipment
close this folder7. Keeping chickens healthy
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOther health problems
View the documentPerforming a post mortem examination
close this folder8. Feed and nutrition
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCommercial feeds
View the documentNutrient requirements of poultry
View the documentNon - nutrient feed substances
View the documentIngredient use limits
View the documentSources of feed nutrients
View the documentNutritional deficiencies
close this folder9. Poultry marketing and finances
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMarketing country chickens
View the documentMarketing medium - size broilers
View the documentWeighing chickens
View the documentStoring eggs for market
View the documentCleaning eggs
View the documentEgg grading
View the documentStoring eggs for home consumption
View the documentSize of flock
View the documentRecords
View the documentIncreasing poultry profits
View the documentSources of finance
View the documentPoultry and egg cooperatives
close this folder10. Poultry extension
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTraining and visit system
View the documentSpecial poultry projects
close this folderAppendices
View the documentAppendix A: Housing designs
View the documentAppendix B: Other poultry
View the documentAppendix C: Farmer specific assessment criteria
View the documentAppendix D: Feed formulation chart
View the documentAppendix E: Feed requirements
View the documentAppendix F: Bibliography and resources
View the documentGlossary

Performing a post mortem examination

Looking carefully at the body and insides of a chicken that has died of unknown reasons may help discover those reasons. Very sick birds, with no hope of recovery, should be killed, using locally approved methods, or by dislocating their necks.

It will be helpful to examine the insides and outsides of as many healthy chickens as you can when they are slaughtered. Note the position, size, color and texture of all internal organs. Then, when you work on a sick bird, you will be better prepared to spot abnormalities.

This manual will not attempt to give instructions on how to diagnose most diseases - that is best done by special publications with color illustrations - but there are some signs you should look for.


Killing a Chicken. Stretch neck and bend back around thumb.

Examine a bird as soon after death as possible, before body conditions have changed. As you work, take good notes. They will help veterinarians or lab technicians, if they are available, to identify the problem. Ideally, you would take or send a few sick but still living chickens to the vet or lab for diagnosis, but this often is impractical.

In a post mortem, first examine the outside of the bird. Look for lice or mites, particularly around the vent, that may have contributed to the death. Discolored head parts, such as the comb and wattles, are indications of a number of diseases. Straighten the neck, pull the tongue and examine the throat and windpipe for cheesy nodules (lumps), signs of pox. Check the nostrils for a putrid smell. If the legs are rough, scaly and swollen, it may indicate mites. Look for swollen leg and wing joints and excessive abdominal fat. Also look for blackened spots which can be caused by scorpion stings.

Open the bird carefully. With a knife or shears, cut through the side of the mouth and esophagus. Look for the lesions (injured areas) of pox, fungus, excess blood or mucus, and other abnormalities and foreign matter and nodules. Slit the larynx and trachea, looking for excess mucus, inflammation, blood and cheesy matter.

To look inside the bird, first slit the skin over the hip joints and dislocate them so that the body lies flat. Puncture and cut the skin from just below the point of the breastbone to the head. Pull the skin flaps aside to bare the breast. With heavy shears, cut through the heavy bones and ribs on both sides of the keel (center ridge of breastbone), and remove the keel and breast muscle. Do this with care or you will damage the internal organs. Check for fluid in body cavity. In females check body cavity for broken egg yolks (a black fluid if broken yolk has been in body cavity for a while).

Slit the crop, remove food (noting if it smells sour), and examine lining for worms, fungus and other problems. Examine the liver, noting its color (normal is dark brown), and looking for lesions or nodules (soft ones may indicate leukosis). Check the heart for lesions, hemorrhages on the fat, and cheesy matter or fluid inside. Examine the spleen and bronchial tubes for lesions and nodules. Note the color and texture of the lungs (normal, bright red and spongy, will float in water). Look for fluid (pneumonia), tumors, nodules, and congestion (dark red, will sink in water).

Remove the intestines and look for tumors, nodules or hemorrhages. Slit the intestines to check for worms and other problems. Thickened intestinal walls may indicate microscopic worms or coccidiosis. Also look for blood, inflammation and excess mucus. If you find blood in the ceca, look for cheesy matter, scarred lining and cecal worms.

Open the proventriculus (true stomach, located at the joining of the esophagus and gizzard), checking for hemorrhages, worms, or inflammation. Slit the gizzard, looking for erosion. Gizzard erosion most often is caused by a nutritional deficiency and is indicated when ulcers and/or peeling of the gizzard lining is seen. Check the kidneys for urates (white material) in internal passages. Examine the brachial nerves - if swollen, may indicate leukosis. Note gall bladder size and color (normally green). In layers, check the ovary and oviduct for excess fat and ruptures (breaks) that lead egg yolk into other body areas.