I wanted to have a list for various health issues, as some things keep coming up- sour crop etc- so here is a begining of reference info- will post more as i come across it- i also am including information on a Chicken First Aide Kit- there is so much wonderful information here on BYC, for specific issues, click on the search link at the top of the forum page- so far i have sour crop info, respiration, dosages- more to come periodically
Fowl Pox
Head Trauma
CIMG0063.jpg 24037_cimg0034_1.jpg
also, here are some articles, by a fellow BYC'r Threehorses- Ivomec and Eperinex will kill worms, but has the added advantage of killing external parasites- use it like frontline-

By Nathalie Ross [email protected]

Here is some information on the use of Ivomectin Products. I just wanted to help you out a little here. First, despite what people advise, any pour on Ivomectin product shouldn't be used in water. It's designed to be weatherproof for cattle and soak into external skin. It also needs to be given in a precise dosage so that you're getting what you pay for. Both Ivomectin pour on and Eprinex- Ivomectin pour on are used the same, though some people use Eprinex at a higher dosage with success. Eprinex of course is the 0 withdrawal product by Ivomectin. If you go with Ivomectin injectable, you'll also need to buy propylene glycol to use with the injectable. By the time you do this, you've spent the same amount of money as the pour on with what I feel isn't the same level of effectiveness honestly, but some people have access to injectable and not pour on so it's an option.
For the pour on Ivomectin (not Eprinex) the dosage I use is as follows: 1 drop - OEGB sized small bantam female 2 drops - OEGB sized small bantam male 3 drops - average bantams 4 drops - large bantams, small commercial fowl 5 drops - most commercial fowl, small giant hens 6 drops - giant breeds of chicken I always use a 3 cc syringe that I just fill to about 2 cc's with a 20 gauge needle. The needle WON'T be injected into the chicken, but does make it easier to dispense a controlled correct sized drop. It also is easier to get in there between the feathers. For location, you'll want to find an easy to reach spot with as little fluff as possible. I've had the best luck with the back of the neck when I am by myself. I just pick up the chicken in my left hand, ruffle around the feathers with my right hand until I find a nice clear spot, then rotate the syringe around to dispense the drops exactly on the skin. If you hit the fluff, it will soak in before you can do anything and will be wasted. That stuff soaks in like lightening (which I discovered to my horror when I accidentally got about 1 cc of it on me from the bottle - I'm worm free now!)
While you have the bird up, look them over. This is a great opportunity to nip things in the bud! Take advantage of it. Generally I like to recommend that first time wormers use Piperzine (Wazine being the most common brand) before using Ivomectin the first time. This is a common practice with most livestock men and women. You use a less effective, less broad spectrum wormer first just in case there's a high load of roundworms. If there is a high load of roundworms and they're all killed at once, you risk either impaction or the bird having a reaction to the foreign proteins that the dead/stunned worms become. The best way in my opinion of doing this is to worm with Piperzine in the water first - full strength 24 hours, then instead of following up in 10 days with Piperzine, use the Ivomectin Ivomectin or better yet Ivomectin eprinex (for 0 withdrawal time). Using this program, I worm once a year. Once I have wormed with Ivomectin, I don't use Piperzine again unless I do a second worming during the year or have reason to suspect they've encountered a heavy level of parasites. In fact, I worm once a year almost exclusively.
I use Tramisol as my second wormer if I have to (which is rare for me, even her in parasite ridden Texas). Some people like to use a daily preventative like DE between worming. Some confusion comes when people call DE (Diatomaceous Earth) a wormer; it's not. It's an aid to preventing small dosages of worms, the small batches that your birds will pick up daily. It's not good at killing larger batches of worms however. BUT it's natural and, if you use the codex food grade DE, it's quite effective and can even be spread in the bedding and on the birds to help ward off mites and feather lice. It won't hurt anything if the other animals pick it up, either. You just use it less than 2% in your feed, or in the free choice box for your usual oyster shell, etc.
I hope this has helped you to understand a little about Ivomectin and how to get the most out of it. It's a super wormer and will do right by you if you keep its proper use and design in mind! Good luck with your flocks! Nathalie Ross, Houston, TX http://threehorses.homestead.com/ Check out Nathalie's site she has good articles there. Also any more information needed you can email her at [email protected]
Thanks Nathalie for this very good information.
Glenda L Heywood

Despite what poultry protector claims to do, it does not treat mites. It's an enzyme. What it does is it cleans away (some) mite eggs and that in turns disallows mites from hatching out as much. But it doesn't kill mites.

Mites live in the wood cracks, in the joints, under roosts, in nestboxes, and off of birds most of the time. They just travel to the birds to eat and drain their blood really. So in order to get the mites, you're going to have to spray the coops unfortunately. The best product for this is a product that is 10% permethrin - usually marketed as livestock lice spray, or goat lice spray. Industrial poultry houses actually dilute it and spray it directly on the bird - it's safe enough for that. But you will use it on the wood 3' up from the ground, on eyes in the wood, in cracks, and on the nestbox wood. Then use the permethrin dust (always read the active ingredient and make sure both are only "permethrin") on the ground under the bedding (just scrape aside, sprinkle lightly) replace the bedding and sprinkle it (stir in). You can also use on the birds, though ivermectin drop on will work for 3 days. But in 7 days when the mites are rehatching you will want to redo the treatment by dusting them with permethrin dust. HOpefully the Poultry Protector will have decreased the number of eggs (though it doesn't kill them - nothing kills the eggs, but the spray will immediately kill emerging mites that are hatching).

Since you've used Adams on the boxes, yo uwon't have to repeat those. But use the adams on the roosts - under the roosts. Glove up, use a paper towel, and spray it on the paper towels and wipe the roosts.

Also in the mean time, boost everyone's blood with some boiled eggs as a treat, maybe vitamin/electrolytes in the water to counteract anemia and dehydration.

Mites are a pain, but thankfully you caught them - they're quite tricky to catch!
First Aid Kit


Corid AND Sulmet (one for babies, one for adults)
Probios dispersible powder or Acidophilis capsules
A bottle of organic apple cider vinegar
A couple of bottles of babyfood applesauce
LS50 antibiotics
Penicillin G Procaine in the fridge

a tool box to keep this stuff in so you can have it in one place
Cuticle scissors (buy good ones - you'll use these to cut off tiny bits of flesh or trim small feathers gently around wounds)
regular scissors or "penny cutting" scissors (great for bandages and splints)
Hydrogen peroxide - a very large bottle
Betadine - a small bottle will do.
Neosporin without pain killer
terramycin ophthalmic ointment (from the feedstore - keep inside)
a spray on like Alucoat or Alushield (horse section, feedstore)
duct tape
popsicle sticks (for application of meds, or for splints for baby chicks)
Paint-stirring sticks (bigger splints)
wrapping gauze
non-stick gauze pads
Maxi-pads (they're clean and absorb a lot of blood from wounds - not joking)
Vet-wrap a plenty! (Buy it from the feedstore - it's cheaper than the pharmacy and it comes in colors to try to make things feel more positive)
Suture material (cat or dog size - see online or at better feedstores)
Hemostats (for suturing or for plucking maggots or feathers)
alcohol - a large container
a clean cheap white sheet (to make slings from or cover wounds if necessary)
A GOOD blood clotter like Clotisol - vet recommended and non toxic even in the beak, unlike styptics. One small bottle lasts years.
paper towels - you can throw them away, and they're clean.
non-latex gloves in bulk - a box. Sometimes you need to wear two pair.
a news paper (absorbant and makes clean up easier if you have to flush wounds)
<<>> Several 3cc syringes with 22-25 gauge needles.
Several 16 gauge needles. 1 inch is fine
At least 2 10-30 cc needle-less syringes for flushing wounds vigorously

Barn supplies:
permethrin dust ("poultry dust")
ivermectin (wormer and delouser) - I prefer drop-on generic.
wazine (piperazine 17% solution - first time wormer)
a smock or something to wear when handling ill birds
a fold up cheap plastic table on which you can treat wounds and then hose off and disinfect
a clip on lamp in case you need direct lighting
an extension cord
a couple of glass jars in which to make iodine solution or keep warm water
a 5 gallon bucket to throw stuff away in that can be disinfected.

New Skin or superglue

On the ingredients, Alucoat or Alushield is an aerosol wound dressing that you spray on top of your antiseptics both to dry the area, keep the wound clean and shielded, and prevent a certain amount of flies. I had heard alot about it, but hadn't had a chance to use it until this weekend when my mare cut herself up badly and had to be sent home with some.

Having used it a few days now, I feel it's absolutely brilliant! The old product I used to use was Furox (a nitrofurazone spray) but they don't make it any more (and who knows if they ever will again). The beauty of it was that, like this, it sprayed on wet but dried instantly to a powder. That helps absorb seepage, prevent flies from being attracted to goop, etc. This product really keeps the dirt out.

Ivermectin drop on is actually pour-on. It's a cattle product for worming via blood by dropping drops on the skin where it absorbs into them very very quickly. Most parasites that are in the body, and any that are external that take the blood, are killed quickly by it. Ivomec is the main brand, but I prefer generic for the price - Aspen is the brand I bought last time 250 ml for $14. It takes 1-5 drops per bird (on the skin) to worm with. The only thing about it is that you really should worm with a weaker wormer first - like Wazine - and then on the 2 week repeat use ivermectin> Then I use it 2x's yearly. Using the weaker wormer first kills part of the worms, roundworms, but not all. That way the bird isn't overcome by a heavy load of dead worms trying to leave the body all at once. All wormers usually require a 2 week withdrawal time (no meat, no eggs). Ivomec is labeled for 14 day with drawal in cattle, I'd assume the same in chickens although I feel the eggs are safe for home use. But with worms, I'm thinking that dead worms shed through the cloaca - I would want to wait 2 weeks to let them all pass with ANY wormer.

Penicillin G Procaine (or other penicillin injectable) is an antibiotic meant for a few respiratory illness, but is best for skin-type lesions, wounds, infections. I keep it on hand in case I have an animal attack or a big wound. It's good for secondary skin infections if you have something come up from Pox, etc - a sore gone bad. Pen G Procaine only needs to be used every other day because of its strength. There's some talk about Pen G less effective because it's every other day, and Pen being better - but there's sometimes a practical consideration for people who are squeamish about shots and prefer every other day rather than daily. So it's a toss up. Here, Pen G is the one I can get readily at the feedstore where other Pen's I can't a s often.

LS50 is a strong antibiotic. It's actually Lincomycin and Spectinomycin put together. Lincomycin has long been hailed by poultrymen and livestock men alike as being quite an effective drug. The spectinomycin is one of the most effective drug at the moment for Mycoplasma disease. It's also effective against coliform bacteria (E. coli, etc diarrhea type illnesses not attributed to cocci). It can be used as a water solution.

Corid and Sulmet are both coccidiocides. Corid is amprolium, the same medication in medicated chick starter, but in a "-cide" strength rather than "-stat". It's not an antibiotic, only an anti-coccidial. Sulmet is also a coccidiostat, but also has antibiotic action because it's a sulfamide drug. It's harder on the bird but more broad spectrum, including activity against E. coli if you have older birds that are showing vague symptoms. It's also useful against FC (fowl cholera).

Tylan can be used in place of LS50, and for FC it can be used in place of Sulmet. In fact I recommend Tylan but only injectable over Sulmet for Fowl Cholera, but not everyone feels comfortable with injections. And then again, sometimes people can't really tell if they have fowl Cholera or Pasteurella instead (in which case I'd go back to Sulmet which is labeled for Pasteurella). I wouldn't recommend the waterbased Tylan because of the way it works in poultry it's not as effective as injectable. I know quite a few poultry men and women who feel that way from experience. If I'm going to use something like that, i don't want ANY chance of less effect and thus possible resistance.

On the syringes and needles, you can usually get those at feedstores. The larger syringes often come without needles. (Many good feedstores sell separate needles so you can pick what you need). Few syringes come with attached needles. Thankfully. I use the big syringes for flushing out wounds vigorously. That gets dirt out, makes sure that iodine/water solution is pushed way into every crevice. It's the way the vets taught me to irrigate wounds.

The 3 cc's often come with something like a 22-25 gauge needle (for cat/dog use) that can be screwed off. If I'm using Penicillin, I take off the smaller needle and replace it with a 16g needle which is thicker. Pen is large particles of medicine in solution and very thick when properly refrigerated. In order to make sure I get particles AND solution (not just liquid) , use a larger syringe. Also makes it easier to inject.

And yes, Wazine does only kill roundworms - but it's necessary in a flock. You only "withdraw" for 14 days with it - it's quite safe. Don't eat meat and eggs for 2 weeks after using. That's all wormers, really.

When you do worm, I do recommend Wazine first. They won't be laying or eaten for 2 weeks. Roundworms are the most common worm of the barnyard (and the easiest of which to get a heavy infestation). So you want to get those down first. Then I wouldn't use ivermectin til says 5 months, just before laying. Honestly I probably wouldn't worm any babies until three months here. But I keep babies on wire for a while, not many cases of worms particularly because of my worming program (wazine/ivermectin first, at three-four months, then ivermectin or levamisole twice yearly thereafter).

By the way, if you're shopping, try the dollar store for the gauze, hydrogen peroxide, popsicle sticks or tongue depressors, etc. And while you're at Walmart, ask them for a couple of free paint stirring sticks.

ON my list, I've taken a while to build it up. It's too expensive to do all at once. Buy buying something here, a med next month, an ointment on the next feed run, etc has helped to build up a collection of stuff that has served me from everything from a small cut, to fully broken goose legs, to dog mauls. There has to be SOME relief from the stress when you have an ill bird. Having the feeling of at least some control ("I have something for that!") is quite a good sensation.

Plus, in my experience, chickens and horses read calendars. They see when the holiday is, and then they get sick after 5 o'clock on the day before. Particularly on big holidays when NO one is open! For example, 5:30 p.m. July 3rd, my mare is dreadfully injured. No vets open, no feedstores open. yay. The med cabinet served me well til my vet would come out for me the next day.
the following is from BYC, but i need to find the thread reference
Dosage Chart

These are the recommended dosages for Poultry and Game Birds. Available are the medications and dosage amounts we use on the farm. For whatever reason if you ever have any bad effects from these dosages discontinue use and contact a Vet at once.


Chronic Respiratory Disease
Run LS 50 for 1st 14 days of life; 1 shot (.5cc subcutaneous) @ 7 days, wait at least 4 weeks 2nd vaccination, annual booster.
Coryza 1st shot (.5cc intramuscular) @ 3 weeks old-wait at least 4 weeks before 2nd vaccination, annual booster.
Marek's Disease .2ml subcutaneously at 1 day old to prevent range paralysis (not useful after 1 day of age)
Poxine Vaccinate with web pricking needle provided anytime after 6 weeks of age to prevent fowl pox, booster annually.
Newcastle-Bronchitis 1 day old or older, mix in drinking water or intranasal/intraocular, effective for 90 days only!
Penicillin antibiotic, 1/2cc for 3 to 5 days for wound infection, use 3cc's orally 3-5 for cholera
Ivomec 1/8-1/4cc orally for round, cecal, gape, capillary, lung, and stomach worms. Does not kill tape worms. Does kill some lice and mites.
La200/ Durvet 72 200 1 cc orally & 1 cc intramuscular twice daily for 5-7 days, broad spectrum time release antibiotic.
Omnimycin CRD antibiotic: 1/2cc for 3 to 5 days
Valbazen 1/8cc-1/4cc orally for tape womers. Does not kill round of Cecal worms.
B15 1/10 to 2/10ths for 3 days
Tylan 50 Respiratory antibiotic, 1/2cc subcutaneously and 1/2cc in the breast for 7-10 days to treat CRD.
Vitamins A&D 1/4cc intramuscular once every2-3 weeks in brood stock to improve fertility and hatchability.
Vitamin B- Complex 1/2cc intramuscular daily to increase appetite and energy.
Spectram Injectable Respiratory antibiotic, 1/2cc subcutaneously and 1/2cc in the breast for 7 to 10 days to treat CRD.
Vitamin B-12 1/2cc intramuscular daily to increase appetite and energy.
Tablet and Capsules
Fish Mox (pennicillin) 1 capsule per day for 5 days to treat wound infections and other infections sensitive to penicillin.
Fishzole 1 tablet per day to help treat canker
Wormazole 1 tablet, then repeat in 10 days for treatment of round, Cecal and tapeworms
Vitamins B12 100mg 1 tablet daily to increase appetite and energy
Vitamin K 250mg 1 table daily for 3-5 days, blood coagulatant- helps stop bleeding.
Cod Liver Oil Capsules 1 tablet 2-3 times per week, great source of A&D
Corid For coccidiosis: 1t per G of water for 3 days, then 3 days ASP vitamins, followed by 3 days of Dimethox at t per G of water.
Aureomycin/CTC 1T per G of water for 10-14 days minimum, combine 1/2t vitamin or 1 cup cranberry juice. May be combined with 1/2 to 2t Erymycin for respiratory problems.
Bacitracin/Solutracin 1t per G of water combined with 1/2t Neomycin for 5-7 days- treats intestinal problems and diahrea.
Copper Sulfate 1/8t per G of water 1 to 2 days a month to kill algea and protozoans in water.
Permethrin 10% 21/2 T per 2 gallons of water (or 8 oz mixed in 121/2 G of water. Dip birds until completely saturated (except head) Wear disposable gloves and eye protection.
Electrlyte Pak 1t per G of water 3-5 days during perios of heat stress or after medicating birds. Help to rehydrate and balances minerals in blood.
Gallimycin/Erymycin 1/2 to 2 t per G of water depending on severity of the CRD symptoms. Minimum of 10-14 days recommended
ASP Vita-Pak Concentrated vitamins and electrolytes. 1/4t per G of water, for 1-14 days of life. then 2 or 3 days a week. Can be added to wet feed.
LS-50 1t per G of water during 1st 14 days of life for respiratory problems (CRD) use 1t per G of water for minimum of 7-10 days.
Neomycin/ Neo-Sol 1.2t per G of water combined with 1t Bacitracin for 5-7 days. Treats intestinal problems including diahrea.
Wazine 17 percent Mix 2 fluid oz with 2 G of water to treat 100 birds over 6 weeks of age. Wazine also comes in a 34% solution.
Tylan Water Soluable 1t per G of water for respiratory (CRD)symptoms, Minimum of 7-10 days .
Terramycin/ Tet Sol 1T per G of water for 10-14 daysminimum, combine 1/4t vitamins or 1 cup cranberry juice. May be combined with Erymycin for respiratory problems
Sulfadimethoxine Soluable 1t per G of water for 5 days for coccidiosis, coryza, e coli, salmonella
Anti Pick Lotion Apply topically to reduce feather pciking
Chalk Apply to spur after cutting to reduce bleeding
Earmite Medication Apply several drops in the ear twice daily for 2-3 days.
Cod Liver Oil 1T per G of feed once a week for adult fowl as a vitamin A&D supplement.
Tek-Trol Concentrate 1/2 ounce (1T) per G of water for disinfecting premises, incubators etc.
Red Cell 1T per G of feed; may be combined with 1T cod liver oil or 1T wheat germ oil.
Red Kote w/Dauber Apply liberally to legs to prevent and treat scaly leg. Will also enhance leg condition and color.
Scarlet Oil Spray Apply liberally to the legs to prevent and treat scaly leg. Will also enhance leg condition and color.
Vet Rx Inhalant for respiratory problems; 1 drop under wings and chest or may be added to the drinking water per instructions.

Please Note: T =tablespoon, t=teaspoon, G=Gallon, cc and ml are synonymous terms.

Edited to add: I was injecting my standard size pullets with 1/2cc. I would assume you would want to do your 3 month pullets less. I believe that I read 1/4cc. Good luck.

Sour crop info


sour crop

Yes, it is sour crop. The food that is in there has dissolved into a toxic slush. If the crop is still full, you would want to cleanse it and then treat her with probiotics and give her organic apple cider vinegar water for two weeks if she's showing no other symptoms. You also will want to determine the cause of the problem in the first place and fix that.

You will want to do this as soon as possible because the liquid in that crop will grow bacteria and yeast and make your bird sick(er).

The probiotics are to replace the bacteria that have been damaged by the toxic contents and pH of the crop dribbling into the rest of her digestive tract. They will also help fight against whatever bad bacteria and yeast make it to that part of the system. The organic apple cider vinegar (1 ounce ACV to one gallon of water) will help correct the digestive tract pH, provide more good bacteria, break down the feedstuff that are in the crop waiting to go through, and also provide more digestive enzymes to break down solid particles in the digestive tract. The pH of ACV at this solution is that of a healthy digestive tract which is unfriendly to good bacteria. the pH of the crop (and thus the digestive tract) now is unfortunately friendly to bad bacteria, so we must change that.

If you see runniness of droppings after four days of treatment after the cleaned crop, let the board know. Let us know in any case, please.

By the way - no more solid foods until she's over this for two weeks. No grains, no grit, nothing but crumbles, probiotics (plain yogurt, acidophilis tablets, etc), maybe the bread if it's soaked in something useful - BUT - it's too friendly for yeast infections, sooooo maybe not. Boiled egg yolks are a good healthy treat and will help her gut. You can also mix the yogurt in a small amount of unsweetened applesauce. The pectin is small, helps clean out the digestive tract of sludge from this, the pH is like ACV (can be used with it), and chickens like the taste so it's a good way to hide probiotics.


When treating a respiratory illness in my chickens, no matter what the cause (fungal, environmental, bacteria, viral) I like to attack the problem from multiple angles at once: Medicinal, nutritional, environmental, and through supportive products.

Medicinal: This should be handled on an individual basis for each situation. The one bit of advice I would give is that if you DO treat for bacterial illness with antibiotics, be sure to use the correct antibiotic, the strongest you can get for that problem, for the full dosage and full duration. Never let them "sip", give for a short period, or give partial dosages. And leave Baytril as a last resort.

To help tackle a respiratory illness, I keep in mind that the body needs fuel to do its job. Not only is the bird still having to nourish itself to survive, but there's the extra stress of providing materials to fight the intruder - the pathogen causing the illness. There are certain nutrients that boost the immune system and increase healing for respiratory illnesses and I like to take full advantage of them. Anything that I can do to boost the chicken's immune system, I will do.

Vitamin A (and its precursor beta-carotene) is one of the weapons in my arsenal against respiratory illness. Vitamin A is a most important vitamin for ocular, mucus membrane, and respiratory health. It is so important to the chicken that a lack of sufficient vitamin A in the diet can actually CAUSE respiratory illness. So it's one of the first nutrients I make sure to supplement to an ill bird.

If the bird doesn't have caseous nodules (yellow-whitish pimples) in the inside of its eyelids, mouth, throat, etc, you can simply treat with a more broad spectrum oil type vitamin liquid. Because vitamin A is an oil vitamin, I feel that using oil or liquid/oil sources is more effective than dried sources. So I prefer a vitamin like PolyViSol baby vitamins (Enfamil brand) used in the individual bird's beak daily. Don't buy the iron-fortified, but the non-iron-fortified. You can find it in the vitamin section of many stores, including Walmart. For a chick, it's 1 drop in the beak for 7 days and then taper off. For a young or medium bird, 2 drops. For a larger bird, 3 drops.

If I'm treating a flock, I prefer to use fortified wheat germ oil, or cod liver oil, in a quickly eaten damp mash that I prepare for the birds daily. For the cod liver oil, depending on which kind you use you can use a very small amount in some crumbles that you will put on top of their feed or use it in a quickly eaten damp mash. For wheat germ oil, I mix a capful into a cup of feed and stir well. I think stir this into a half gallon of feed and give that three times a week on top of their other feed.

This takes care of A vitamins quite nicely.

The benefit of the polyvisol is that it also contains other vitamins helpful to the bird.


In all cases of illness or stress, I provide probiotics to my birds but particularly for respiratory illnesses. Probiotics are non-medicinal sources of living bacteria used to replenish the beneficial bacteria present in the avian digestive system. Good bacteria live in and 'colonize' the digestive tract, helping the bird to digest their foods, and additionally competing with bad bacteria/fungi for the digestive tract. Having a strong supply of beneficial bacteria not only keeps a flock more thrifty and vigorous, but will increase their resistance to digestive disease.

If you're not using a medicine whose active ingredients end in -cycline or -mycin (read the label), then you can use plain unflavored yogurt. Most yogurts in the US contain a source of living bacteria, Lactobacilli. (Make sure and read the label for "contains live cultures".) Lactobacillus acidophilus will colonize the gut of the chicken. Use 1 teaspoon per 6 chicks to 1 tablespoon per large adult fowl as a guiding dosage. It doesn't have to be exact, but you don't want to give something as great as a cup to birds. Although birds are normally less able to digest as many milk products as humans and mammals, yogurt contains less lactose and so is less upsetting to their system within reasonable use. The live bacteria as well as its D vitamin fortification and protein make it an inexpensive and worthy probiotic.

If you ARE using a -mycin of -cycline drug, then substitute with acidophilis capsules/tablets (the contents thereof), or with a prepared live probiotic for livestock such as Probios brand dispersible powder. The powders are often easier to sneak into treats to give to birds.

No probiotics should be given in the water, despite labeling. They're best given in a small amount of quickly eaten damp feed. Yogurt can be mixed with water, and then that mixture mixed with a few crumbled pellets of the bird's normal diet and that fed first thing in the morning. removing the feed 20 minutes before giving the healthful damp mash ensures that they're more interested in it. You can also hide other healthful ingredients in the same mash.

The reason this is so important for respiratory birds, even if not medicated, is that the ocular and nasal sinuses drain into the digestive tract through the opening in the roof of the bird's beak. The drainage can upset the bacterial flora of the gut and cause it to be reduced which leaves the bird more vulnerable to diarrhea and digestive secondary illnesses like yeast/fungus, and pathogenic bacteria.

As ill birds are often reluctant to eat, sometimes I like to use boiled/mashed eggs as part of a daily damp mash to tempt them to at least eat the nutritional supplements I'm trying to give them daily. The extra protein helps birds who are healing to have a little more fuel.

VetRx is an herbal based oil that is non-medicinal but very helpful to birds being treated for respiratory illness. The purpose of VetRx is to facilitate air flow through the sinuses of the bird, reduce mucus, and possibly reduce inflammation. If VetRx for poultry cannot be found, any other of the "species" of vetrx (rabbit, cagedbird, etc) can be used the same. If that cannot be found, Marshal Pet Peter Rabbit Rx is the same and can be found at many big-chain pet stores.

VetRx is best used to swab the upper respiratory area. Mix a few drops of very hot water and a few drops of VetRx in a cup. Stir well to cool the water while emulsifying the oil into the water. Use q-tips to apply to the bird: a new q-tip end for each individual spot, an absolutely new q-tip per each bird. The q-tip can be quite damp for all applications. Swab the nostrils (nares) well, press a q-tip into the cleft opening in the roof of the beak of the bird. Pressing gently there can sometimes cause the VetRx to bubble into the eye, which is acceptable. It's not necessary but a benefit. Use either some very dilute VetRx one drop in each eye or (my preference) simply swab near each tear duct. The box recommends using in the water so that when the birds drink, they treat their own beaks as the oil floats on top. This is an option; I rarely follow it as sometimes I use the water to give other things. You can, however, use it wherever the bird wipes their eyes on their feathers, or where they lay their head when they sleep.

A bird that can't breathe will not eat; A bird that will not eat will not heal. Bacteria generally hate oxygen, so we want air flowing all through the sinuses.

SUPPORTIVE PRODUCTS/OACV: If you're not medicating in the water, and if your birds have a lot of mucus in their throats (gurgling, coughing, etc) the you can use organic apple cider vinegar in their water during illness to help reduce mucus and help support digestive health. The dosage is always 1 teaspoon of OACV to one gallon of water. The reason for using the organic is that it's unfiltered and still contains some of the prebiotics and lactobacilli that will act in concert with your yogurt to promote digestive tract health. The pH of this solution will also correct the pH of the digestive tract (which, remember, is being bombarded by nasal secretions) so that it's more friendly for good bacteria, and UNfriendly for opportunistic fungus and bacteria. A correct pH facilitates good nutrient absorbtion and we do want our ill birds to get everything they can from their food. The reason for using organic is not philosophical, but because of its mode of manufacture; there's still some good left in it.

All birds, because of their specialized respiratory system, are highly dependent on superior air quality and ventilation. Birds who have reduced breathing ability in respiratory illness are particularly dependent on good air. They should be kept as all birds are: in well ventilated but not drafty conditions with few fumes or odors in the air, in a non-dusty bedding. This is particularly true if you cannot rule out an environmental cause for illness (ammonia, mildew spores in the air, etc).

When you have multiple birds, the sick bird/flock should always be cared for after all the other chores are done. You want to reduce all changes of infecting other birds, or even challenging possibly exposed birds who aren't showing symptoms (yet). Isolate sick birds unless you intend to treat the flock. Then it really does help to isolate the sick birds so that they don't have to compete for feed. Keep something like overalls or a big man's shirt in the 'sick area' and put it on before handling the birds, taking it off before leaving the coop. Keep anti-bacterial gel in that area to wipe your hands as you leave so that you don't contaminate the doorknobs of your house. Of course, wash thoroughly when all chores are done. Be sure to disinfect all the feeders and waterers more often as the droplets of their respiratory exudates will be on feeders and waterers. If you have family or friends over, try to keep only one person handlng the sick flock and ask everyone never to go from the sick flock to the well.

I hope that these suggestions will help you when it comes time to treat your flock for respiratory illness. All suggestions have been used by me personally on everything from slight cases to extreme cases. They work well for me, and I hope that they will help you to bring your flock back to full health.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article and consider my suggestions.

Nathalie Ross
(Please do not reproduce without permission of the author. The author is not a veterinarian and always recommends a good qualified avian vet attend your ill birds first. No information is intended to supercede that of a qualified veterinarian.)
August 1, 2009​