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Sick Flock

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,
Half of my laying hens are sick. Not sure what it is or how to cure it if possible. I had 25 healthy hens then a lady gave me 7 more. I kept them separate for a couple weeks, as soon as I put them together I noticed a couple of them coughing and chirping then nasal and eye discharge. They started getting lethargic and losing weight. As soon as I saw the first symptoms I started separating them, but too late. Now over half of my other hens are slowly doing it also. Plus egg production has gone down. I have treated them over the last 10 weeks with no luck. I have even switched to 3 different antibiotics and higher protein food and nothing helps. I have also had a few get just 1 eye infected with a thick ,hard puss. I was able to clear the eye infections at the cost of the eye. All the treatments seem to prolong the life span, some even seemed to start getting better. But as soon as I stopped treatment after a few weeks all symptoms started coming back within a few days. The product "Vet RX" seems to make the the breathing better, but it's not a cure. I have 50 ISA pullets that are not exposed and 70 one month old chicks.
Now, I need to know a few things. First, should I go ahead and cull all sick and exposed chickens? Can anyone tell me what this might be? What vaccines should I get for all the young chickens and where can I get them? What should I use to sanitize the sick chicken house and yard? And finally, how long do I wait to dare put any healthy chickens in that house?
Sorry so long, but after all my research and trials I am at a loss!
post #2 of 3

Hi and sorry to read of your troubles. Sounds like something viral, since antibiotics are not doing the trick. IME, chickens can get over it, but they can also be carriers for life (and thus symptoms can re-emerge at times of stress etc). I had some kind of viral respiratory problem with my birds, but they got over it and they are fine now. I did however, ensure that all newborn chicks were vaccinated against newcastle disease, gumbro and infectious bronchitis (recommended for where i live, in kenya) and these birds have never shown any symptoms whatsoever. Sorry, i can't advise as to what vaccines to use and where to get them from in your neck of the woods. 


Such issues only become problems if you wish to sell birds to other keepers - i.e. you should not, since they may well be carrying the virus, and thus can infect others (as happened to you). In that context, its up to you whether to cull the whole flock and start again, or not. Its a tough call, but i wish i had done so. 


As for cleaning the coop, ill leave that advice to others with greater knowledge. 


All the best in whatever you decide to do.



Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
post #3 of 3

Welcome to BYC. It sounds like a respiratory disease such as MG or coryza, but other viral illnesses can be complicated with bacterial infections in the sinus and eye. It would be much easier to send one or two in to your state vet fora necropsy and testing to find the source of illness. Then you would know what you are dealing with Both coryza and MG can take only days to infect other chickens, so removing every sick bird and culling would probably be the only way to irradicate it from your flock. With so many chickens of differing ages, it gets very complicated. Both MG and coryza last only a few days in the environment and on equipment once the bird is gone, but any birds that have been exposed to sick birds, even without showing illness is potentially a carrier for life. Coryza is much more serious to have in a flock than MG. I would do a bit of reading, then testing, and then decide how to handle it. Here is some reading for you:

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