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Mystery Respiratory Issue

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 



I have what seems to be a respiratory issue affecting a few chickens in my flock and I have no idea what it could be.


We have 8 hens, and 1 rooster, all of which we've had for years; some for several years, others for just a couple. In that time all have been very normal and healthy, with no major issues.


2 years ago we bought two salmon faverolle hens from the same farm (I assume they were sisters). One was 100% fine and healthy, the other one we discovered, after having her for a couple weeks, was a little off. She started getting very sneezy, and we noticed that you could hear a sound when she breathed, like it was snotty or congested. She also always acted a bit differently from the other chickens, just kind of submissive and dopey. She has a great appetite and does everything the other chickens do, she's just a little different. Also, once in a while her eyes will crust up in the morning, in which case I would put a warm compress on them and they would open back up almost immediately. But that actually hasn't happened for a long time.

So after having this hen for months and months, and not seeing these symptoms spread through the flock at all, we assumed that she was not contagious. We have had her for about 2 years and there has been NO worsening in symptoms, no chickens have died, and until just a few months ago, NONE of our other chickens had any symptoms whatsoever.


About 3-4 months ago, I noticed that her sister seemed to be sneezing more, and was making a similar sound when she breathed. And now our rooster sounds like he has a frog in his throat when he tries to crow; he sounds very weird. I have no idea if these things are related, but I'm going to assume they are.


Other than the symptoms I mentioned, they are all completely healthy seeming. They're eating well, drinking, laying eggs, tearing up our yard, and doing all the other normal things that free range chickens do. They seem completely normal. And the other 6 hens have no symptoms at all.


I don't understand how if our salmon faverolle hen had something contagious, it could take two years for it to affect anyone else in the flock!


What could be going on??

post #2 of 4
Welcome to BYC. Without testing the faverolles, it would be impossible to know what she has, but it sounds a little like MG or mycoplasma. Sacrificing the sick faverolles, and sending her in to the state vet for a necropsy would be a good way to find the cause. Sneezing only sounds more like infectious bronchitis, a virus that spreads around through a flock. The eye drainage is more like MG. That said, I have a salmon faverolles who in winter cold weather will have foam in her eyes sometimes in the mornings. It goes away later in the day. She has no other symptoms, so I think it might be a tear duct problem or irritation from feathers around her face.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm very unfamiliar with diseases affecting chickens. Could it be possible for her to have these things for years before they spread to the others? It's just been so long without anyone else showing symptoms.

Also, we have been eating the eggs of our chickens all this time. Is it unsafe to do so??

Edited by TML24 - 5/4/16 at 1:17pm
post #4 of 4
Wild birds can spread respiratory diseases, and it can be tracked in on peoples' shoes. MG is a carrier disease that makes carriers for life of all exposed, whether they show symptoms or not. Infectious bronchitis will make carriers for up to a year. Eggs from birds with respiratory diseases are perfectly safe to eat. Many flocks are MG positive, and somerimes their will be illness only when birds get stressed, such as during cold weather, moving to a new home, or molting. Providing good overhead air circulation in the coop, preventing wet spots or mold, and preventing very hot temperatures in the coop may be helpful in precention of respiratory diseases. You can prevent a lot of worry by getting the faverolles hen tested.
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