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Correct me if I'm wrong but I think it's IB....what are my options?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone. 

I am 90% sure my flock has IB. It started with one bird and quickly spread. They all (well almost all, a couple haven't started yet) sneeze and cough and make a rattling sound (almost sounds like purring) when they breath. A couple have started the sticking out their neck and opening their mouth thing.


Otherwise they all seem happy. They peck and scratch and eat and drink and just strut around doing chicken things and don't act sick at all. I have been getting one hard egg a day of my four layers and always find one soft shell that is wet and collapsed in the morning. Just putting these details in so if you know it could be something else you can tell me.


What are my options here? Do I have to cull or can I cure them? Are the eggs safe to eat? 

If they get better will they still lay eggs ok in the future because that's the top reason we got them.


I feel like I got this flock and have run into EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM you can with a flock of chickens in less than 2 weeks. I will only be buying from reputable breeders this time around if I have to cull these birds....

Edited by Kmack - 11/12/15 at 2:15pm
post #2 of 7

Personally I would not cull the flock with infectious bronchitis, since it is the most common, the mildest of the respiratory diseases. It will make carriers of the flock, but for only between 5 and 12 months after recovery, so wait for over a year before breeding or getting more chickens. It does affect chicks and younger birds more severely, but in grown chickens, the disease is fairly mild. It is a virus, and is not necessary to medicate with antibiotics, but sometimes they can develop secondary bacterial diseases, such as E.coli air sacculitis that make it more serious. Then antibiotics (Tylan, oxytetracycline, or Gallimycin) might be needed. Testing would be a good thing to do if possible. Eggs are perfectly safe to eat unless antibiotics are used. Here is a good link to read about IB, and a link about all common diseases:

Edited by Eggcessive - 11/12/15 at 2:02pm
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your response Eggcessive.


Will they lay eggs ok once they're better? We have them as pets but our main aim is to have eggs. I read the IB can ruin them in that regard.... sorry if I sound kind of ignorant, I'm new to all of this and all I can do is read what's online.

post #4 of 7

There are different strains of IB, some mild enough for very few symptoms, and others which are serious. I think they may have a temporary slowdown in egg laying that usually gets back to normal after recovery, but in some cases, especially in younger chickens, they can get involvement of the kidneys or reproductive tract in the so-called nephopathogenic strains which can cause permanent damage. Here is a small excerpt from The Merck Manual about that:


Clinical Findings

Morbidity is commonly close to 100%. Chicks may cough, sneeze, and have tracheal rales for 10–14 days. Conjunctivitis and dyspnea may be seen, and sometimes facial swelling, particularly with concurrent bacterial infection of the sinuses. Chicks may appear depressed and huddle under heat lamps. Feed consumption and weight gain are reduced. Infection with nephropathogenic strains can cause initial respiratory signs, then later depression, ruffled feathers, wet droppings, greater water intake, and death. In layers, egg production may drop by as much as 70%, and eggs are often misshapen, with thin, soft, rough, and/or pale shells, and can be smaller and have watery albumen. In most cases, egg production and egg quality return to normal, but this may take up to 8 wk. In most outbreaks mortality is 5%, although mortality rates are higher when disease is complicated by concurrent bacterial infection. Nephropathogenic strains can induce interstitial nephritis with high mortality (up to 60%) in young chicks. Infection of young chicks may cause permanent damage to the oviduct, resulting in layers or breeders that never reach normal levels of production.

 Birds infected when very young may have cystic oviducts, whereas those infected while in lay have an oviduct of reduced weight and length and regression of the ovaries. Infection with nephropathogenic strains results in swollen, pale kidneys, with the tubules and ureters distended with urates; in birds with urolithiasis, the ureters may be distended with urates and contain uroliths, and the kidneys may be atrophied.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that.


Ok..... what to do here.


They all sneeze and two of them cough (or hack - probably a better word for it) and they are shaking their heads when they sneeze. The two that hack sound like they're purring when they breath. No runny eyes or noses, no fowl smells no change in every day behaviors. Their poos all look normal. But one of the hens that lay has had soft, wet collapsed eggs for the past 3-4 days. The other hen's eggs look great....


The one little one that seems to be affected just sneezes constantly but otherwise seems perfectly healthy. Her poos look fine. They are about 8 weeks....


I guess I'll just wait and see what happens. They do seem perfectly healthy apart from these cold like symptoms. I don't want to kill them if it isn't necessary. I just read some responses to similar inquiries that were basically, "your only option is to cull the lot, sorry for your losses".


I've put ACV in their water. I don't plan on getting any more chickens or selling any of mine so it could work out to be ok. I'm hoping my 8 week RIR's egg production isn't going to be permanently tainted. 


Thank you Eggcessive I appreciate it. I got a little too worked up I think from all the other posts I was reading. A lot of people are very radical in these matters it seems.

post #6 of 7

I would recommend culling with certain respiratory diseases such as coryza or ILT, and maybe with mycoplasma (MG) but I haven't had to make that decision so far, thank goodness.  It still would be good to get a sick bird tested, or any die, then get it necropsied by the state vet, just to make sure exactly what the disease is. With backyard flocks, many believe in keeping birds no matter what, and spending lots of money on medications, but very few ever know for sure what disease they are actually treating.

post #7 of 7

Mine tested positive for infectious bronchitis... some very really ill.. some less so.


All recovered with no problems.


Egg production dropped when they were ill.. but after it went back to normal.


No need to cull with this diseases.


No treatment needed either, just keep up good hygiene and make sure they have quality food and fresh water available.

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