BirdsHealth and Nutrition

How to Prevent Disease in Waterfowl

Disease prevention in waterfowl, and in poultry in general, requires their caretakers to be diligent in three main areas to prevent birds from becoming infected with disease.


Establish and maintain a biosecurity program that will prevent the introduction of diseases into the premises where ducks are kept. This includes prohibiting the admission of any potential source of infectious agents, such as live ducks, other fowl, or animals. In cases where it is necessary to bring live ducks to the farm, the ducks must be from an established disease-free source, and should be quarantined for observation before being placed on the farm premises. Entry of potential carriers of infectious material such as people, trucks, poultry crates and equipment must be denied unless appropriate disinfection measures are taken. Duck caretakers should change clothing and boots and use disinfectant foot baths upon entering the premises or buildings.


Immunize ducks against known infectious diseases. In many cases a high level of protection against common duck diseases can be induced by the administration of appropriate vaccines or bacterins at the proper time.


 Minimize environmental stresses which may cause ducks to become susceptible to infections. This includes providing proper housing, management, ventilation, and nutrition.

Tirath S. Sandhu, DVM, Ph.D Cornell Cooperative Extension Service

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