Breeds and Disease Resistance

Year of the Rooster

Sebright Savvy
11 Years
Jun 27, 2008
West Central Ohio
I was reading the book The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow and while reading about breeding for resistance, it said that Leghorns and other light breeds are more resistant to pullorum than heavy breeds such as Rocks and Reds, but that Rhode Island Reds are more resistant to worms than Leghorns. I was just wondering what other breeds are more resistant/susceptible to certain diseases/parasites? I know that Sebrights are a breed that is more susceptible to Marek's than most others. Anyone know?
See, that's what I'm talking about
So, are your Key West chickens an actual breed or are they mixed? I don't know anything about them.
Personally, I think the husbandry has much more to do with disease prevention/resistance than breed. Strong, healthy birds who have room to roam, a varied diet and a healthy social structure are much less likely to fall ill.
Well, yes that too makes sense. But the fact that these different breeds we have came from all over the world makes you wonder what breeds are immune/susceptible to certain diseases. And knowing what diseases a certain breed is susceptible to is good to know so that a breeder can help raise breed resistance and cull those individuals who would not be acceptable.
this... a lot...

i have "friend" that i sold some of my chickens too... i dunno what he did, but they all died on him... said that they all got sick, one at a time... i haven't had one sick chicken since i took home this one sick pullet from a feedstore... i gave her some meds, and never saw a sneeze or anything ever again... all of their pens are open air and close to eachother as well... i even have a clean up crew of feral pigeons that i see under the pens every now and then... sparrows... nothing... my neighbors next door too... we haven't had a sick bird in forever...
I'm not denying that good husbandry practices are imperative for good health, but don't you think different breeds of poultry are resistant/susceptible to certain diseases just like with dogs and cats?
Good husbandry is important for sure.

But so is good genes. I remember a great-uncle who bred racing pigeons; my understanding is that he culled any sick bird. Seems to me this had a number of values. Less time for another bird to catch the disease and suseptable birds were removed from the breeding pool. Apparently he was an extraordinary breeder. He always won enough races to pay for all his feed. Wish he was still around . . .

Will follow this thread and hope more contributors have breed details . . .
I've been searching and I haven't found much as far as what I'm looking for, however I did find this article:

"Not all breeds of chickens are suited for the harsh temperate climates of tropical regions. The following breeds of chickens are well suited to small flock practices; they are dual purpose in that they are equally good producers of eggs and mature quickly for quick turn-over as meat product. These breeds are also well suited to a family or village system of flock management where chickens are allowed to free-range or scavenge
during the day and offered protective housing at night. They are hardy, yet easily caught or herded into their pens at night. These breeds have shown consistently high resistance to disease, particularly Newcastle Disease, the number one cause for flock failure in Africa."
... and it continues on to list the breeds.

Not sure how credible this is, but it's all I can find so far.
IMO The research done at Universities focuses on the super production methods of chicken management; the pre-mass production breeds that fell out of favor some 50 years ago is not of financial value to the livestock industry so they are not studied. ALBC has one study on turkeys and liveability when purposely exposed to a particular disease, where the Bourbon Red outlived the Narrigansetts.

With the dramatic increase in the old breeds and addition of more breeds from abroad, and the more people are adding chickens ( and other poultry) into their lives and farms, we do need to know which strains and breeds are more useful for a specific geographic area. But until then . . . .

Don Schrider who wrote an article in the Backyard Chicken Magazine that examines a number of dual purpose chickens including whether a particular breed leans more toward egg production or toward meat, and a few that are equally good for both. A very interesting article. Like all magazine articles space is limited and subjects are kept short so there is no specifics on disease resistance but some info on climate suitability.

I don't know how to find it on- line and link it--maybe someone can do that.

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