What causes pip in poultry?


There used to be a time when the pip was regarded as a disease, but modern science teaches us better than that, and it is now recognised that what was called the pip by the old dames of 20 years ago is really nothing more nor less than a symptom of disease. To be explicit, for the benefit of those who are newcomers into the poultry world, it may be said that the pip denotes a little piece of hard scale at the end of the tongue, which rather resembles the furred tongue of a human being. It is probably caused by the fowl being obliged to breathe through its mouth through the nostrils being closed, and this explains why the pip is of common occurrence among poultry which are suffering from roup.

Many people when their poultry exhibit this symptom roughly remove the scale. This, however, should not be done, because it may result in permanent injury to the tongue, and it is better to allow it to fall off itself, which it will do when the fowl has had the attention which it needs and has recovered from the complaint, whatever it may be. No harm, however, can be done by sponging out the mouth with a little antiseptic, and in so doing this horny scale may be softened. in its hard, unsoftened state, of course, it is rather a trouble to the fowl, just as a blister on the end of the tongue would be a source of trouble to a human being. If a fowl which has a pip on the end of its tongue is not suffering from roup, but can breathe properly through its nostrils, it will be wise to assume that it is suffering from simple indigestion, or more probably from congestion of its liver.

As a matter of fact, fowls do not as a rule suffer from indigestion until their liver is out of order, and when the liver is out of order the food no longer passes through the crop in the ordinary way. In the human family liver disorders follow indigestion, but among poultry it is more often the other way about, and indigestion is a result of disorganisation of the liver. If a number of birds appear to be suffering from this pip, which will be noticed by the fact that they seem uncomfortable about the mouth, it is a good plan to add some strong solution of iron or steel drops to the drinking water, because this will act beneficially in several ways - it will be a good general tonic, it is antiseptic in its properties, and so will cleanse the mouth, and it will also tend to discourage any further deposit of horny substance at the tip of the tongue. It can best be given in the drinking water, because it can be purchased in a strongly concentrated form, so that a few drops can be diluted with the proper quantity of water according to requirement; and in this way you will obviate the difficulty of having to dose each bird singly, because if the birds be allowed to become thirsty and then be provided with some drinking water, containing the necessary quantity of this, they will all dose themselves straight away without any difficulty.

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