Chicken sniffles, runny noses/beaks

Oldstock gardens

In the Brooder
Dec 27, 2020
Hey there, I am not sure if my chickens are sick, here is my concern- I counted today about 4 of the larger hens, clearing their nostrils of a clear liquid. Just as if they had a runny nose. No drop in egg production or energy, no odd behaviour, just a runny nose/beak. What is this and what should I do?. Had chickens growing up, took a crack at it now that I am an adult. Built a lovely coop this fall 8'x8'x8' with a slant roof, insulated with plenty of roosting space, I have 4 red sex links, 5 azure blues, 2 Ameruacanas and 5 bantam rhode island reds They free range the entire fenced acre we have, although not as much with the recent snow. They all get along with each other, feed them organic, fresh water, which is cleaned every time I refill it. I have a 175w infrared lamp inside and with the recent cold weather it stays nice and warm inside even with their pop door open during the day. On warmer days we leave the main door open and light off. I have a temp gauge inside that I always keep an eye on and don't let it get too chilly. The floor is open ground concept which I have been adding wood chips and pine shavings whenever I start to smell a hint of ammonia, which has been working to keep the smell away. I keep their nesting boxes clean with hay and pine shavings on the regular, which is changed out every ten days or so. I have windows that I keep shut in the winter to keep out the cold, they are screened with wire mesh so I can have them open in the summer. I have not added any vents to keep air flowing as we were coming up to winter and I wasn't sure how cold it would get. We live in Haliburton County of Ontario Canada, winter usually stays for what seems like 6 months up here. It doesn't smell or seem stuffy when I go in for the morning hello, the main door we have is a rustic door that has about a 1/2" air gap on 3 sides, I figured this would keep the chill out and at the same time adding a bit of fresh air in the evenings. Should there be more air flow during the night when the pop door or main door isn't open? What about heat loss? Thanks for your time!!! Matt


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It looks like you have some high up ventilation in the roof eaves that would allow fair ventilation in very cold weather. That might be adequate. Even in cold climate, their needs to be some ventilation high up and overhead, to remove excess humidity and remove ammonia fumes.

I would watch them for any frequent sneezing not related to eating, watery, bubbly eyes, or crackly breathing, which are other signs of a respiratory disease. Have you had all of your birds since they were day old chicks?
We got them when they just were at the age of laying, no signs of diseases when we got them. The ammonia has not been bad, but I think in my design , the more I have been reading, I think I have a major lack of ventilation.
What you mentioned there in the pictures of overhead ventilation isnt actually ventilation, just the roof that happens to be open on the ends, the ceiling is all closed in on the inside. Will be adding some vents today! In the mean time, I added some ACV to their water and oregano and thyme to their feed, added more bedding to the ground and will be watching with a close eye!

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