Best option for chicken cold?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JacksonPearce, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. JacksonPearce

    JacksonPearce Songster

    Aug 17, 2016
    Hi there,

    I have a brand new Black Copper Marans pullet I got from a very good local breeder yesterday-- however, she has a bit of a runny nose and sounds a touch croupy (I thought I'd inspected her well before taking her, but apparently not). Other than that she's active, eating, drinking, and well. I've contacted the breeder and am waiting to hear back; I've also separated her from the rest of my chickens (they weren't in together yet anyhow, though she was in with the Ameracauna I got from the same breeder). Is there anything I can do for her?

    My easiest options are:
    -I've got quite a bit of Doxycycline from my various foster dogs/former foster dogs with heartworms (not taking it away from a current dog, I promise!).
    -The breeder advised Tylon 50, which I'm sure I can go purchase at the local feed store.
    -Another chicken friend has some probiotics from the vet she can give me.

    Which of these is the best option?

    I'm fairly newish to chickens, so forgive me-- I see LOTS of "sickness" themed posts here, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information!

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016

  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    Chickens don't get colds. It's possible that she's just having a reaction to something in the environment like ammonia or dust and that's causing it, but there's another possibility that is much more frightening. I keep seeing posts like this so I've created a copy and paste so apologies if some of this doesn't pertain to you but I want to inform you.

    I don't want to alarm you, but she possibly has a nasty respiratory disease and the other one likely has it too if this one does. This is why quarantine is so important - they can carry these diseases with absolutely no sign of them until they are stressed, and they are highly contagious, so if that other bird has been living with the sick one it likely has it too.

    The really devastating thing about these diseases is that a lot of them can't ever be cured once the birds have them. You can treat the symptoms but they will reappear every time the bird is stressed, such as coming into lay, during a molt, during a cold snap, etc.

    You can try to treat this and it will get rid of the symptoms but the bird will probably carry the disease for life and if you ever do put her in with your flock they will catch it from her. If there is a bad smell coming from her, especially from her nasal discharge, it's likely coryza. If no smell, you can try treating for mycoplasma as it is likely that. To find out definitively what it is you could ask a vet to run a blood test (which will probably be expensive) or you could cull her and send her for necropsy, but if you want to treat her that would kind of defeat the point. These are the only ways you will ever know for sure what this is though, and putting her in with your birds without finding out puts them at risk of being sick for the rest of their lives.

    Again, it could just be some irritation from the environment, but you have to decide whether the risk is worth it. At the very least I would quarantine her and the one you got with her away from the rest of your flock for at least a month and watch this to see what develops. Either that or take them back to the breeder.
  3. JacksonPearce

    JacksonPearce Songster

    Aug 17, 2016

    If she gets very very sick, I'll return her, and I'm keeping a close watch on the other. Honestly, though, I'm just a hobby keeper, and there are so many backyard chickens in this area that the idea of being able to keep my entire flock respiratory disease free forever is pretty impossible (especially after reading the distance the disease can travel). I don't mind if she's a carrier-- I just mind if she's actively sick. I feel like I can manage and do preventative care on the rest of my flock (four others), though again, I'd be surprised if they all weren't already carriers. Doing blood tests and the like, however, is financially prohibitive, so I think I'll just stick to treating as best I can with what I've got!

    She doesn't smell at all, so it does not appear to be coryza, thankfully. I've administered some VetRx and gave her a sink full of water with electrolytes added, and she's going to town. If it doesn't improve in the next few days, I'll return her.

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