ATTRA's COVID-19 statement

Spring Update: You can now download any of our technical materials for FREE!

Parasite Management for Natural and Organic Poultry: Blackhead in Turkeys

Digital Price:


Print Price:


By Terrell Spencer

Published: 2010

Updated: 2010



8 pages


Blackhead disease, also called Histomoniasis, is a serious disease capable of decimating turkey flocks and negatively affecting other poultry. Caused by the protozoan Histomonas meleagridis, Blackhead can also have a significant 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 effect Histomoniasis has on other poultry species (chickens, gamebirds, and peafowl) is also discussed briefly.

Table of Contents

The Life Cycle and Infectious Pathway of Blackhead
Poultry Species as Blackhead Reservoirs
Blackhead Transmission Through Cecal Worm Eggs and Soil
Horizontal Spreading of Blackhead through Turkey Flocks
Oral Ingestion and Contraction of Blackhead
Diagnosis and Symptoms of Infected Turkeys
Prevention and Management of Blackhead Disease

Note: Digital downloads are in full color. Printed, mailed copies are only available in black & white.


This page was last updated on: May 7, 2019