Hi MarinR - I totally understand where you are coming from, all I can do is tell you what happened with mine. First off, I do agree with Dawg on most of the things he says. But I had a few rescue hens in good health (that's how I got into this), had them for about 4 years, and decided to get some pullets b/c I didn't want to go thru raising chicks - never done that before. We went and picked up 4 pullets. I didn't have a real good spot to quarantine them, but I did have a pen within the run, and a dog crate, so that became their home for a week or so. Then I released them. It was only a few days before I realized there was a problem - respiratory. And it was coming from the newbies. I grabbed the suspects - two of the four - and returned them to the place I got them. They insisted they were not sick - although I could see the typical crusty dark area near their nares and I could hear respiratory sounds. I took my loss and went home empty handed. Then some of the others started in with the same symptoms. Didn't want to treat them all if they weren't sick, so I isolated best I could, used Duramycin for the prescribed period, and just as one was better another would get sick. To make this shorter, I finally ended up just releasing everyone and treating all at the same time. Also tried to clean up run, bleach containers, etc. I finally did get rid of it and it never returned, and I didn't lose any. So that is where Dawg and I part ways. I feel that if you can get it under control, they do not keep coming down with it or spread it to others. But then again, I don't know what I had - it was never diagnosed. It could be that some respiratory diseases are, like Dawg says, just real nasty and keep returning - there's a lot of different respiratory illnesses. All I can say is that was not my experience -That Time. (Hopefully there will be no Next Time)
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you care for the sick ones last, after caring for the healthy ones. Take proper precautions, and if you treat, treat for the full amount of time. Even then, I might keep isolated just to observe and be sure. When you read some of the stories on here it is truly heartbreaking what they have gone thru. So if there's any doubt that they are not cured after all that, hate to say it, but it would be best to say goodbye.
Oh, have to put in my rant here about Blacksmith's corner in L.A. who sold me those four pullets. Anybody reading this, don't even think of going there. They should be arrested and made to eat chicken poop. Sorry, but they caused me so much grief b/c of their disgusting husbandry practices that I can't pass up every opportunity.