Breathing problems, coughing


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 19, 2009
We have 2 chickens, one 18 week Cuckoo Maran and one adult BO. Both have that "perculator" sound of breathing. The Cuckoo is what I call "mouth breathing" opening her mouth wide with each breath. We started her on Sulmat in their water and I mixed some Teramycin with gatorade and have given her about 4 ounces of that in a bottle, dropping liquid in her mouth. she is drinking it without problems. Not eating. Droppings are runny white. Just noticed her coughing a few days ago and then today she started this funny breathing. The BO started breathing wierd yesterday, gave her the same abx but she was NOT mouth breathing, she was also coughing. We have several more in our flock who are coughing with no other symptoms at this time. We also have two 18 weekers who have that sinus infection...coryza? Looked it up online and their eyes look just like that with the swelling, but eating and drinking. Gosh, sounds like we have something running through the flock and I'm scared. This coughing thing has been going on for a week now.
We have put the Sulmat in everyones water. HELP please. What abx do we need????
If you treat with terramycin, do NOT mix with anything but water. Extra minerals (especially calcium) will make any ___mycin or ___cycline medicine null and void. It's really best not to treat with two antibiotics at once,actually. I'd stick with the sulmet.

Incidentally, you're never supposed to start and stop any antibiotic. You do it for the full days recommended or don't do at all. However, the exception is when it might actually harm the bird - as in kill it. Sometimes mixing antibiotics can do that, and the other incident is when they have an enormous reaction to the drug. (rare)

Since you're giving antibiotics, please give PRObiotics daily. Acidophilus from the grover/pharmacy/health food store, Yogurt (only if you're not giving -cyclines -mycins), or a livestock probiotic from the feedstore (see the horse section or cattle section for Probios, Fastrack, and more - must have live bacteria within it - not "byproducts").

Do this every day that you medicate and every other day for two weeks thereafter to help with the diarrhea. It's absolutely necessary to replenish the essential bacteria back into the gut of the bird as that's what digests the stuff the gizard doesn't get, gives them B vitamins and enzymes that digest food (read as thrift and vigor), and keep bad bacteria at bay for the most part.

Runny white is urates and no food and a lot of water. Or drainage.

I'd also use VetRx on their nares (use q-tips and swab their nares and opening in the roof of their beaks - new q-tip for each space) to help get some air into their sinuses and help them breath.

this could possibly also be a virus, in which case the antibiotics won't help but the virus must take its course. That does not however mean that you stop antibiotics. You *must* not stop them at this point.

You can make a glop containing crumbles, the probiotic, some egg yolk to help them heal better. Make it dry or wet as they prefer. Since they're older, you can use a little non-sweetened applesauce to moisten it - the apple pectin is great to help those bacteria you're adding get reestablished.

And yes, it's probably going to run through your flock. Support their immune system as best you can. Honestly, if I were you and had this going on, I'd go out and get some wheat germ oil and use that in their food. Oil based vitamins (A, D, E) are the vitamins that most readily degrade in food because they are oil based.
Putting it in water, etc, doesn't do the job as well as oil based food supplement. A is a super respiratory support vitamin, E is awesome for healing (and neurological disorders), and D doesn't hurt as it helps with calcium absorbtion. I used a cap per four cups of feed, mixed in throughly. I used every other day. Keep food out of the sunlight (as you should anyway).

I'd do that for all of your flock.

If you're feeding a complete feed, that should technically be enough but it's good to have a little extra nutrition during illness. You can't use anything but sulmet in their drinking water while you use it, so the wheat germ oil helps.
Well, my Maran died. After a couple days on abx she looked so much better and then all of a sudden we went out to check on her and she was dead. VERY SAD. The other one made it through. We kept the Sulmet in the water for 6 days. Finished now. Cleared up the 2 with the sinus infections - infect. coryza. They look great now. We do still have some coughing in the crew. I noticed another one of my Marrans tonight just sitting with her eyes closed while everyone else was out pecking the grass and scratching. She is eating but just not acting right. We also have about 50 chicks who are about 5 weeks old. A very inquisitive age indeed but they don't usually want to be picked up. We have one beautiful white Cochin who just sits there and allows us to pick her up. Not what I am accustomed to at this age. They have been handled some and talkd to alot but I'm still not sure that she is ok. She's eating, drinking, bright eyed. No coughing or breathing problems. Really worried. We've had a rough couple of weeks. Started with a neighborhood dog killing 4 of our chicks. I was devastated. Then the crew started to get sick and we've lost 2 more to sickness. Very worried. I am very tender-hearted and can't stand for them to be sick let alone die. Please give us some advice. Is everyone having troubles this time of year???
There are a tremendous number of problems this time of year: predators, tons of sniffles, lots of chicks dying, etc. It's not just you.

I'm tender hearted, like you. It was for that reason that my mom warned me about getting back into chickens as an adult. (I was raised with them.) She said "They'll break your heart, Nathalie. They can die so easily. You should get rid of that rooster - give him to someone else."

Of course, she was right - they do break your heart.

However, when I refused, she was the first one to insist that my new rooster needed "girls" and smiled way more big than I even did as we went and picked out a trio of hens. And then she bought some cochins. And then I apparently "had to have" some polish.

So there's room for tender hearts in poultry. You have to remember that the cup is indeed half full.
And enjoy the ones that make it.

Just remember - the more you have, the mathematical odds are that the more you'll lose. Don't take it personally.

Yes, I am having a terrible time with my Dora. She is 6 now goes to the vet for regular worming, check up, etc, and a month ago she came down with a cough. Vet gave her a shot of antibiotics . She got better, then 2 days ago she started not wanting to eat, seems uncomfortable, and is again coughing. Another shot and now oral suspension of Orbox. 3 hours later and she has raspy breathing and still the cough. I have never had this kind of serious problem in 7 years that I have had chickens. I hope the antibiotics work fast enough to turn things around soon, I am worried sick over this.

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