Broiler Chicks Coughing?


8 Years
Jun 7, 2011
Amaranth Ontario
Hi Everyone,

We picked up 70 white rock broiler day-olds from a reputable hatchery on March 8th. We have them in a partially insulated shed, insulated floor, sectioned off for their size, with three heat lamps. Bedding is pine shavings. We are in Ontario, Canada, so it's not exactly warm outside, but their space seems fine and they're moving about, eating and drinking.

When they were about a week to 10 days old, I thought I heard a few of them coughing. It sounded like a little cough or sneeze. I thought it was odd. We've raised broilers before, without any health issues, and these ones seemed fine otherwise, so I just left it to be monitored.

Now there are more making that noise, some even seem to "gurgle." Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to be stopping them from eating and drinking (and pooping). I haven't noticed any nasal or eye discharge, though one looked like it was puffing its cheeks while it was breathing.

Any ideas? The only thing we've done differently this time than in the past was put them outside as soon as they arrived, instead of having them in the house. There were so many of them, we didn't want to deal with the smell, and felt more organized with our current set up.
You might be dealing with a respiratory disease such as infectious bronchitis or mycoplasma (MG.) Difficult to tell what without testing. Are you monitoring temperatures in your coop? Some things that can promote respiratory diseases are too much heat if they are panting to cool off, dusty conditions, or mold from spilled water mixing with droppings and feed. An occasional sneeze from dust in feed may be normal, but sneezing every few minutes and other symptoms point to infection. If you can get Tylan or tylosin from a vet to put in their water, it can treat symptoms of MG. Sick birds do need to be kept warm, so just watch for any panting or overheated. Good overhead air circulation from one end of the coop to the other with no direct drafts is the best for them. Having a necropsy done on a bird or two that dies can be a good way to get a diagnosis. You may need to contact your vet or ministry of animal health.
Thank you @Eggcessive

If I am able to get Tylan\Tylosin (not sure as there aren't any small flock poultry vets here) would our broilers still be safe to consume? We are growing to 12 weeks, so they have until the first week in June.

Assuming I cannot get any medication, in your experience/with your knowledge, are these birds destined to succumb to the illness, if it is indeed bronchitis or MG?
They may get better on their own, but oral Tylan will only require a one day withdrawal before butchering or eggs. I would give them probiotics if your feed doesn’t have them. I give each bird a 1/2 tsp of plain yogurt with cultures 2-3 days a week for probiotics. Prevent any wet spots from water spills to keep mold from being a problem, and keep good air circulation.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom