Also looking for answers for sweet Joni, Rest In Peace


In the Brooder
Apr 29, 2015
Hello- I lost Joni tonight. She was almost 3, a Rhode Island Red. She is part of my first flock and I have three left. I don’t have a lot of chicken experience but try to learn from lots of reading. Am hoping some experienced soul can offer insight. Last night I noticed she had rattly breathing with her beak ajar, and she was sneezing. This morning, seemed a little less symptomatic when she got down from her coop, but breathed a little harder once she started moving around her open yard. Super vigorous and good appetite though. Avian vet far away so I researched what I could and got some Tylan50 and tetracycline on way home from work. Tonight she was still vigorous, no other discharges, eyes bright, and crop felt ok, no odor. A little pasty but not bad and no weird colors. By time I went out to give her meds, she was on her roost. I took her down and wiped her vent and gave her 1cc of the tylan50 injectable orally, with thought to also start tetra in the morning. She got stressed by this and started breathing with difficulty again. I returned her to her roost and watched for awhile. Breathing eased only a little. Thought I’d let her rest and calm down, and went inside. Came out to check three hours later and she was gone :-(
When I picked her up, quite a bit of clear liquid came out her beak, seemingly more that the 1cc I had put in.
I understand from reading that they can succumb to illness quickly. But I can’t help but feel that the tylan I have her caused her to perish.
Do her symptoms sound like anything in particular? Bacterial or viral infection? Did I do the right thing? What can i do for my other girls? For example, they have no symptoms yet but should I proactively treat with tetracycline and/or tylan? I will also clean and disinfect though they share an outside yard which will not be possible to clean. I’m sad. Thank you in advance!
Could have been anything. Respiratory infection maybe. You did what you could. The antibiotic was a good choice. Sometimes, by the time a chicken shows illness, it is pretty sick. As long as you were careful not to get the Tylan into her airway, I cant see that you did anything wrong. I'm sorry for your loss. Keep an eye on your other birds to make sure they are not catching anything.
Sorry for your loss. She probably had a respiratory disease, and some of the common ones are MG, coryza, and ILT. Infectious bronchitis is the most common one and usually more mild. The stress associated with given her the tylan might have put her over the edge, but it sounds like she was already to sick to help. If you saved her body, and refrigerated it, you could send it in to your state vet for a necropsy.
Thank you to everyone who responded. So far, the other three are doing well. Fingers crossed.
I'm so sorry for your loss. :hugs
How did you administer the Tylan? It certainly sounds like she had a respiratory issue but just wondering if she may have accidentally aspirated some of the Tylan which then caused her severe respiratory distress.
Aspergillosis is a fungal infection which can cause sudden severe respiratory problems and death, so that is certainly another possibility and the stress of administering the antibiotic put too much of a strain on her already restricted airways.
The only way to know for sure is to send her for a necropsy. Not sure where in the world you are but state facilities in the US often provide a subsidised service for poultry and it can be as little as $20 and may provide you with peace of mind for your remaining flock or point you in the right direction for appropriate preventative measures.
Hi, I gave the tylan orally by dropping it into her mouth. She was otherwise active and not sick in appearance so maybe she did aspirate. Are you able to tell me or point me toward info on how to correctly administer oral drugs to them? I will look into a necropsy in my area. Thank you.
How sad. You did your best. The only way to really determine what killed your chicken is a necropsy with samples sent off to determine happened. Remember, she might have been incubating something longer than you know. Chickens are very good at hiding their illness, and it takes a sharp experienced eye to detect when a chicken goes 'off'.

Since you don't know what killed her, I would not medicate the rest of the flock. You might end up creating a more resistant strain of whatever you are dealing with. Plus, medicating healthy chickens doesn't seem right. Though the most basic test you can do is a fecal sample to see if you have a heavy parasite burden in your flock.

When people mention sudden death of a healthy chicken I always think of a cardiac event. I had a hen die while sitting in my lap. She had just won the right to sit in my lap (had an altercation with another hen). She jumped on my lap, preened a moment or two, gasped and fell off my lap where rolled on her back and died. Her necropsy revealed a fatty heart. (The vet called it something else but I can't spell it and right now I'm too lazy to look it up). Since you mentioned lots of fluid coming out of her, I'm wondering about sour crop. Did her chest feel like a soft water balloon? If so, the Tylan would have done little for a sour crop.

So many questions and no answers. I'm truly sorry you lost your hen in such a manner. Remember, all of us here have wondered if they could have done something different to save our chicken. We try to learn from our mistakes. That's the only thing we can do.

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