I have 9 Buff Orpington hens that have begun coughing over the past 2-3 weeks. I thought that it might just go away, but it hasn't. We are trying to be organic and not give them antibiotics or vaccinations, but I'm now concerned that I might lose my whole flock. Plus, I have 44 chicks that are 4 weeks old that I'm about to transition outside, and I'm doubly concerned that these chicks will get whatever the older hens have.
What do I do? I called to Tractor Supply and Southern States, and they don't have any antibiotics to put in their water. I really don't want to give them injections...I don't mind the medicine in the water, but I don't want to do the whole injection thing. We don't have a vet, so I would really like something that I can buy online or over the counter.
Also, these hens were coughing/sneezing a bit over the winter. But, I cleaned out their cage and it seemed to stop. But, now it's back again. By the way, we use pine shavings from our wood chipper as shavings in the coop. I'm pretty sure the problem in the winter was that the coop was too musty, damp, and too stinky from all the pooh. But, that's not the problem now. We keep the windows open all the time, and it is very dry in the coop. Is it too dry? Can that cause this problem? There's quite a bit of pooh under their roosting poles, but it's not stinky at all. We only have 9 hens, and the coop is 11x15...so, it's really big.
So, I have 3 questions: (1) What should I do to save my hens? (2) What do you think is causing this? (3) How do I prevent it from happening again?
Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.