Fowl Pox Treatment & Prevention

If you don’t know what fowl pox is and you have a backyard chicken flock, you’ll want to at least read up on it. Fowl pox is highly contagious and is a viral infection among poultry. It causes painful sores on the chicken’s skin. Fowl pox also comes in two forms, a wet form and a dry form. There is no cure but you can prevent it and treat the symptoms.

Fowl Pox in Chickens

Fowl Pox Causes

  • The virus is transmitted to backyard chicken flocks by biting insects such as mosquitos.
  • Wet Fowl Pox affects the bird’s upper respiratory system; watery eyes and other symptoms can be seen in the mouth.
  • Dry Fowl Pox is a viral infection that affects the skin where there are no feathers usually on the comb, wattles, and face.
  • It spreads slowly from chicken to chicken within a flock. The virus can last in a flock for months to years even, in hot debris.
  • Some chickens acquire immunity but others are more susceptible to recurrences in times of stress.

Hot debris is known as skin dander, sloughed-off scabs, scab secretions, and blood.


Some noticeable symptoms in chickens will be a drop in egg production, loss of appetite and/or weight loss in addition to the lesions on the skin (dry) or lesions inside the mouth and throat (wet). Symptoms will generally persist for several weeks in a single bird and months in a flock. I do usually try to seclude the chickens as I see them get any disease so they hopefully don’t get the whole flock sick.


  • Quarantine new flock members properly
  • control mosquitos if possible
  • practice good biosecurity to avoid introducing fowl pox to your birds from an infected flock on your clothes or shoes or equipment
  • Day old chicks and adults who aren’t affected can be vaccinated against Fowl Pox. The wing stick method is easy do and very affordable as well. Definitely consult your flock’s veterinarian or a state agriculture extensive poultry agent for more information about the vaccination and vaccinating against the virus.
  • During an outbreak, to limit the spread of the virus be sure to clean and sanitize the waterers daily. Adding in 1/4 teaspoon of oxine per gallon of drinking water.
  • After the outbreak, do a once a week clean of your chicken coop with oxine for a month.

Fowl Pox Treatment

Being that there is no cure for fowl pox, you can still treat it to provide more comfort for your chickens as they deal with it. Preventative care also can also help to avoid secondary bacterial infections. Offering tetracycline antibiotics in the water to help control the secondary infections. It’s recommended to do 300mg of terramycin per gallon of drinking water for 3 days followed by a vitamin supplement in the water. Treating scabs with a dilute iodine solution such as J. Crow’a Lugol’s Solution. You can also apply an ointment to soften the scabs by mixing a solution of 1/2 cup vaseline and 2 tablespoons of a sulfur powder and apply daily until the lesions are healed.

Dealing with lice or mites? Check out this post full of information to treat and prevent lice and mites in your backyard chicken flock.

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