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Help! My hen has swollen eyes and can barely move!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello! Today I went to water and feed my chickens and I noticed one of my hens sitting in a corner. I looked closer to find that her eyes were swollen shut, she has some liquid (don't know if it is puss or some discharge) on her beak, she had poo all around her back feathers (around her butt), that she had a large bump on her back, and I saw traces of blood on her left wing. I picked her up and separated her from the rest of the flock. As I did so, she could barely keep her head up. I let her be for a couple of hours and she is still alive but exactly the same. She was completely fine yesterday. Please help, I have no idea what is wrong with her and I am not sure if whatever is might be a threat to the rest of the flock. Thank you!

Edited by BagginsFrodo - 2/6/16 at 3:19pm
post #2 of 4

Is there a bad odor around her face? It sounds like a respiratory disease such as coryza, or possibly mycoplasma (MG.) Coryza apparently has a rotten odor. Have you added any new birds to your flock in the last week or two that may have been a carrier? She needs to be separated from other chickens. Antibiotics such as Tylan and oxytetracycline can be used to treat symptoms of MG, while Sulfadimethoxine and Sulmet are used to treat coryza. Both diseases can be chronic and keep coming back, and both can be complicated by secondary infections. Your state vet can perform a necropsy to find out what disease it is, or you can get her tested, but if you use antibiotics, those may alter the results. She may remain a carrier even if she recovers.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I purchased a new rooster about a month ago, do you think he could be a carrier of a disease that she caught? When I got him, I noticed a bit of yellow discharge around his beak. I kept an eye on it, but it left within 24 hours of him being with me. I have had no problems since then.
I just checked on her and she is moving a bit more,. There is no odor from her face, but she seems to have more discharge, and she is gurgling. Probably trying to breath through her nose but not able to because of the discharge? Does this sound like either MG or corzya? Thank you so much!
post #4 of 4

Yes, that could be how she got sick. Some chickens may not show a lot of sickness symptoms, but if they have been in a flock where there has been MG or coryza, the whole flock can be assumed to be carriers. A lot of people cull any chickens who show signs of a respiratory disease, while some with backyard flocks choose to treat them. Here is some reading about those diseases from the University of Florida, and I would recommend to try and get testing done--that way you can decide how to handle this:


Mycoplasma gallisepticum

Synonyms: MG, chronic respiratory disease (CRD), infectious sinusitis, mycoplasmosis

Species affected: chickens, turkeys, pigeons, ducks, peafowl, and passerine birds.

Clinical signs: Clinical symptoms vary slightly between species. Infected adult chickens may show no outward signs if infection is uncomplicated. However, sticky, serous exudate from nostrils, foamy exudate in eyes, and swollen sinuses can occur, especially in broilers. The air sacs may become infected. Infected birds can develop respiratory rales and sneeze. Affected birds are often stunted and unthrifty (see Table 1).

There are two forms of this disease in the turkey. With the "upper form" the birds have watery eyes and nostrils, the infraorbitals (just below the eye) become swollen, and the exudate becomes caseous and firm. The birds have respiratory rales and show unthriftiness.

With the "lower form", infected turkeys develop airsacculitis. As with chickens, birds can show no outward signs if the infection is uncomplicated. Thus, the condition may go unnoticed until the birds are slaughtered and the typical legions are seen. Birds with airsacculitis are condemned.

MG in chicken embryos can cause dwarfing, airsacculitis, and death.

Transmission: MG can be spread to offspring through the egg. Most commercial breeding flocks, however, are MG-free. Introduction of infected replacement birds can introduce the disease to MG-negative flocks. MG can also be spread by using MG-contaminated equipment.

Treatment: Outbreaks of MG can be controlled with the use of antibiotics. Erythromycin, tylosin, spectinomycin, and lincomycin all exhibit anti-mycoplasma activity and have given good results. Administration of most of these antibiotics can be by feed, water or injection. These are effective in reducing clinical disease. However, birds remain carriers for life.

Prevention: Eradication is the best control of mycoplasma disease. The National Poultry Improvement Plan monitors all participating chicken and turkey breeder flocks.



Infectious Coryza

Synonyms: roup, cold, coryza

Species affected: chickens, pheasants, and guinea fowl. Common in game chicken flocks.

Clinical signs: Swelling around the face, foul smelling, thick, sticky discharge from the nostrils and eyes, labored breathing, and rales (rattles—an abnormal breathing sound) are common clinical signs. The eyelids are irritated and may stick together. The birds may have diarrhea and growing birds may become stunted (see Table 1).

Mortality from coryza is usually low, but infections can decrease egg production and increase the incidence and/or severity of other diseases. Mortality can be as high as 50 percent, but is usually no more than 20 percent. The clinical disease can last from a few days to 2–3 months, depending on the virulence of the pathogen and the existence of other infections such as mycoplasmosis.

Transmission: Coryza is primarily transmitted by direct bird-to-bird contact. This can be from infected birds brought into the flock as well as from birds which recover from the disease which remain carriers of the organism and may shed intermittently throughout their lives. Birds risk exposure at poultry shows, bird swaps, and live-bird sales. Inapparent infected adult birds added into a flock are a common source for outbreaks. Within a flock, inhalation of airborne respiratory droplets, and contamination of feed and/or water are common modes of spread.

Treatment: Water soluble antibiotics or antibacterials can be used. Sulfadimethoxine (Albon®, Di-Methox™) is the preferred treatment. If it is not available, or not effective, sulfamethazine (Sulfa-Max®, SulfaSure™), erythromycin (gallimycin®), or tetracycline (Aureomycin®) can be used as alternative treatments. Sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for pullets older than 14 weeks of age or for commercial layer hens. While antibiotics can be effective in reducing clinical disease, they do not eliminate carrier birds.

Prevention: Good management and sanitation are the best ways to avoid infectious coryza. Most outbreaks occur as a result of mixing flocks. All replacement birds on "coryza-endemic" farms should be vaccinated. The vaccine (Coryza-Vac) is administered subcutaneously (under the skin) on the back of the neck. Each chicken should be vaccinated four times, starting at 5 weeks of age with at least 4 weeks between injections. Vaccinate again at 10 months of age and twice yearly thereafter.

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