Chicken sneezing - how worried should I be?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Litz, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Litz

    Litz In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    Hello all - new to chickens here. This is my first flock - 2 Australorps and 2 Buff Orpingtons - 5 weeks old. One of the Orps started sneezing 2 days ago. Immediately after her sneeze her peeps sounded slightly ... congested? Like she had a slight case of the sniffles. However - she has no visible discharge from her nostrils, her eyes are bright, and she's acting like normal. Eating, drinking, hogging all the food like usual, bossy as ever. Just the occasional sneeze. Since I'm new to chickens - I'm not sure how worried I should be. Should I wait a few days and see? Should I separate her from the rest of the birds? Is it too late and now they'll all die of some horrible respiratory disease?

    Other info that may be important. They are currently in a very clean brooder - aspen/pine shavings, chicken nipple waterers, organic feed, thermal panel (not lightbulb). They take day drips outside in a chicken tractor to forage and get some fresh air. I was going to move them to the chicken coop, but now I am not sure - because our nights are now getting to 60 degrees (I live in MN), and if she has a cold - would that be wise? They are mostly feathered out except for their fuzzy downy heads which have feathers starting to come out everywhere - they're definitely in their "ugly duckling" phase.

    Any advice would be welcome.
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Hi :welcome. As you have said your chick seems ok as in bright eating and drinking and acting normally I would think it is ok unless some one else could post on chicken sneezing? Could it be the shaving making them sneeze? I know when I have been brooding chicks in the house you realise just how much dust they make. I have some polish that I hear sneeze now and then they are 11 weeks old but they are all fit and healthy. Hopefully some else can add to this thread on chicken sneezing. If they were mine I don't think I would be worried if they seem fine in themselves .
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. Did you get these chicks from a breeder or a hatchery? How long have you had them? Chicks can sneeze from many things--dust in the air, feed getting into the nose, ammonia odors, or mold. If it is just occasional, it is probably normal. If it gets frequent, and accompanied by a runny nose or a sick-looking chick, then it may be a respiratory disease.
  4. rbaker0345

    rbaker0345 Big Mamma Brahma

    I would agree with the others except that you heard some congestion. Hold the chick up to your ear and (once she's stopped chirping loudly in protest) listen for a catch in her breathing. If you hear a catch in her breathing or other congestion sounds, I would try some tetracycline in the water. Don't forget to give probiotics with that (but not yogurt with congestion, milk products can exacerbate congestion), I like to use a probiotic powder or crushed up human pill sprinkled over the food when congestion is an issue.
  5. Litz

    Litz In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    Thank you everyone for your advice. I did carefully watch my chickens, and listened closely to them. No catches in their breaths, no actual sniffles. I paid more careful attention and what I thought was "congestion" was one in particular who is messy eater (ie - nearly frantic about all food and drink) who just goes a little overboard and gets food/water in/on her beak and then gets sneezy afterwards. I have no idea why she's always frantic about food - she's the bossiest so she gets more than her fair share. Just her personality, I guess.

    To answer questions - I got them from a hatchery (Meyers, via My Pet Chicken) in July. They were super healthy when I got them - no chick near-death scares, thankfully. They are growing nicely, the Australorps maybe a bit faster than the Orps. I have my suspicions about one of the Orps whether she is actually a "she," but at 8 weeks, kind of hard to know for sure. Plus I have heard Orps can be very difficult to tell until they are older. Also - they are doing very well outside now. Today's high is 55, this morning it was 43 - and it doesn't even seem to be fazing them. They are happy as can be out there.

    Again - thank you for all the advice!
  6. rbaker0345

    rbaker0345 Big Mamma Brahma

    Congratulations. I thought about your chick as I was watching a brooder of my chicks eat one day. One of them was taking enormous mouthfuls and then promptly sneezing. I meant to get back to you about that. Glad you figured it out.

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