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Next steps with Infectious Bronchitis

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone. I have a small "flock" of red sex link 'rescue' hens (they were finished with their time at an organic egg supplier).  I have no idea how old they are but they've been with us for 18 months.


Recently several (all but one) hens have shown a symptom (or two) of a respiratory infection - and the more research I did the more those symptoms pointed to infectious bronchitis.  I know there is no 'cure' but that it's wise (according to many) to treat with antibiotics to combat secondary infections.  So I did a 5-day round of Tylan.  


All are making gains and I know that it can take a month (or more?) to completely be rid of IB.  

What can I do, additionally, to make sure that they're healing appropriately?


ALSO - as red sex links I understand that they can have egg-laying (calcium deficiencies) problems as they age.  IB also causes problems in the reproductive tract.  I have one hen that has laid at least one (probably two) very thin-shelled eggs that either broke on the way out or once they hit the surface.  (It may be two hens laid an egg apiece, but I"m doubtful.) This hen also tends to lay very large (jumbo-sized) eggs in general.  I'm concerned about possible infections and further problems.  I have given her oral calcium (23%) for two days now... she didn't lay today so I don't know if/how it's helped.  They don't eat oyster shell - ever - really... they don't, so I'm wondering: 

a.) given the recent bout of IB, should I be supplementing calcium in some other way than their own egg-shells?   Would the liquid calcium that I'm giving the previously mentioned hen be beneficial to all - say in their water bowls?

b.) should I continue to treat our soft-shelled egg-layer with the oral dose of calcium? If so, for how long?  


Thanks for any advice you've got!


post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Three days of oral calcium and 3 soft-shelled broken eggs. Yesterday's egg shell was thicker though... I'm going to keep administering 1cc of calcium (23%) to this hen and add the same to the water supply (1/2 bowls)... Unless someone tells me that this is a bad bad idea...
post #3 of 6

Calcium in water tends to settle to the bottom quickly, this is my own experience with it as a ornamental bird breeder.  What I would do is get some avi cal plus (this is powdered calcium and vitamin and minerals found in pet stores) and mix it into their feed or treats.


You could try to powder the oystershell in a blender but that would definitely cause some blender damage.  Or another idea is to put some food dye on the oyster shell, let it dry and mix it into their feed.  The colors should tempt them to see what it is.  My chickens are forever finding colorful things from old bird toys they attempt to eat.


Last idea, cuttle bone for ornamental birds.  It's soft enough to scrape into a powder or tiny chunks.  I'd just mix that with their food.  It's best if they can regulate their own calcium, but what you have done so far is what I would have also done to give the hen laying soft eggs a bump start on storing calcium up.  But now you should try to get the hens to eat their own calcium containing things unless you see a continued problem with soft shelled eggs or thin eggs.


I can't offer any advice on the IB situation with calcium as I've never experienced that myself.


another idea is leafy green vegs like Kale and broccoli.  They have a pretty high calcium content if your girls like green things.

Edited by yellowherb - 3/1/16 at 4:20am

Everyone should have a Sultan in their flock


Everyone should have a Sultan in their flock

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for you feedback.  I am using the liquid calcium... do you think that will still sink to the bottom?  Yesterday I finally got an egg that was not broken, but it looked almost exactly like the "banded egg" on the article about odd eggs - a symptom of (yep) IB... again.  But it's not thin!!!  Maybe we're making progress.  i wonder will I always have to feed her an oral dose of calcium? or will it correct over time.


I am definitely going to look into adding a little calcium to their feed. Maybe if I just toss the oyster shell in the feed they'll eat it... They love (and eat) leafy greens a bunch, but not as much in the winter.  I have a garden in which I grow several plants that I earmark as chicken feed: (kale, Swiss chard, broccoli raab... as well as radish, kholrabi, turnip and carrot tops.  Right now they're mostly getting people scraps not entire plants of their own!  :-)  


I would love for them to regulate their own calcium, but with the respiratory infection it looks like I'm going to have to do more to help them along.  I just don't want them to get too much... 

post #5 of 6
Looks like your oral calcium supplementation is working. If it were me, I would continue in this fashion until I had a nice, hard shell. If the birds aren't getting their sunshine in, you might also consider vitamin D supplementation as it is critical for proper calcium metabolism.

Some people use a fogger or humidifier filled with unactivated Oxine AH as part of their treatment for birds with respiratory infections. Here is the link to one discussion on it:
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for the link. I will definitely look into it!

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