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Parasite Management for Natural and Organic Poultry: Blackhead in Turkeys


Blackhead disease, also called Histomoniasis, is a serious disease capable of decimating turkey fl ocks and negatively aff ecting other poultry. Caused by the protozoan Histomonas meleagridis, Blackhead can also have a signifi cant economic impact on chicken production. Recent research has revealed new information about the bird-to-bird transmission of Blackhead through a previously unknown pathway—cloacal drinking. This publication addresses the new research as well as focusing on the history, life cycle, diagnosis, prevention, and management of Blackhead disease, primarily in turkeys. The eff ect Histomoniasis has on other poultry species (chickens, gamebirds, and peafowl) is also discussed briefl y.

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