Chickens gurgling when breathing plus sneezing/coughing & making strange head movement

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MeTxLady, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. MeTxLady

    MeTxLady Out Of The Brooder

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    We have a couple of hens that started having these symptoms about 3 weeks ago. First it started with just the sneezing/coughing then I noticed them gurlgling when breathing but seems to be mostly when they go to roost. They also move their heads funny sometimes like they are trying to swallow. I think some of them have runny poop and one has laid eggs at night without the shell - just the membrane around it. We got 4 hens the weekend of July 4th from a chicken farm. They weren't quite old enough to lay yet. Two of those are the hens that first showed symptoms. Last week my rooster Red started coughing and now my rooster Speckle sounds like he is losing his voice when he crows. They are all eating and drinking and acting fine otherwise. I have a total of 10 bantams, the 4 hens mentioned already, 2 young barred rocks about a month and a half old and 5 other chicks about 3 weeks old. The barred rock chickens came from our neighbors chickens - we put the eggs under our broody bantams. The 5 youngest chicks also came from someone else's hens. They free range all day then go to roost in hen house at night. I also have 5 mallard ducks out there with them that free range and have their own house at night. I had a kid pool that I let the ducks swim in and it got so dirty I cleaned it twice a day and put fresh water in it. Now wondering if the water made the chickens sick because they did drink it. The ducks and chickens share their water bowls too. I started putting duramycin in the water a week ago, but don't think I see any improvement. I got a few things from TSC - MetRX and Terramycin (cream). Not sure if they have a respiratory illness or possibly gape worm or what? WE are fairly new to chicken raising. They have pine shaving in the coop and get fresh water twice daily. We feed layer pellets and flock raiser. Any help diagnosing or suggesting what to give would be much appreciated.
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Almost definitely a contagious respiratory disease. Classic symptoms combined with recent introduction is a dead giveaway. You need to put the flock on lockdown immediately - nobody goes out, and anybody coming in needs a 2 week minimum quarantine. You/your family need to bleach any shoes worn into the coop or near the birds before going into a public area, especially somewhere other chicken keepers might visit frequently. Any time you do a lot of extensive handling with the birds, you need to change your clothes before going into a public area. Even if the birds you were handling didn't look infected, they almost certainly carry it by now. These diseases can be treated but not cured - they spread, sometimes making birds sick, sometimes just resulting in silent carriers, but no matter what it will run in your entire flock for the rest of their lives.

    The best option is to get a blood test. It's difficult to treat respiratory diseases without definite diagnosis, since most of them look practically the same but not all can be treated with the same meds. I was fumbling and had a lot of bird deaths up until I got my vet to diagnose my birds, Mycoplasma S. and G. Haven't had a respiratory loss since then, given good breeding and routine medication.

    You need to make a decision. Either cull the flock or live with 24/7 quarantine for as long as this flock exists. Quarantine is a hassle, but if your birds are your babies like mine are to me, it's not impossible to keep a flock in good condition and the infection contained. If you have any breeding/selling aspirations you can forget about them, although the birds are still good for eggs and meat. But if your birds are replaceable, I will always suggest cull. Unless they're basically your kids, it's not worth it. You end up with production loss, and the birds can never be rehomed or removed from the flock. The constant clothes swaps and bleaching is a major hassle, and meds can be very expensive.
     
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  3. MeTxLady

    MeTxLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow - seriously? Cull the entire flock? The 4 new hens brought in were from a state licensed and inspected farm who also practice bio-security. :eek: I was reading up on symptoms and thought it could be gapeworm - especially with the movement some of them make with their necks. I have not noticed any mucus either. [​IMG]
     
  4. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It really is a difficult thing. It does sound like a respiratory problem. If you think its gape worms, then treat for gape worms. But if it doesn't go away, Your birds will always be prone to getting the respiratory problem if they recover again. And their egg laying will forever be shot. Sorry, it happened to a couple of my birds and I went out there and culled any bird that was sick to stop the spreading sickness.
     
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  5. MeTxLady

    MeTxLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok so I called the farm where I got the four hens from since they are the ones who showed the first signs of sickness. He hasn't had any problems with his flock and had no customer complaints - they sell 400 chickens a month. He did advice me to keep giving the Duramycin but to up the dosage to 1 tbsp. per gallon instead of must 1/2 tsp per gallon. Not sure if that made the difference already just today or if the weak dosage I've been giving for approximately a week now is starting to work but tonight when they went to roost I noticed definite lessoning of the gurgling noise. I did rub the VetRx all over the heads of the ones showing illness signs. We gave the chicken coop a good cleaning and changed out all the shavings, etc. I'm cautiously optimistic that they will continue to improve. ;) The owner at the chicken farm also said he didn't think it was anything too terribly serious because with them showing first signs of sickness about 3 weeks or so ago and only a few of the flock sick it seems if something bad, one would have passed or at least been very very sick by now. IDK - I just know I'm gonna try to get them well and take it from there. I have no plans to sell chickens or hatching eggs so not worried about that. Thanks fór yálls advice - I really appreciate it. I hope all the info I learn here will help me to help someone else one day. :)
     
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  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Since the person at the farm knew so much about Duramycin dosage and illness, I would say the he knew about respiratory diseases from personal experience. Unfortunately when you get chickens from multiple sources and at different times and ages, there can be a big chance of introducing a chronic respiratory disease, such as MG, coryza, or ILT into your flock. The best thing to do is to contact your state vet or local extension agent for testing to see what you are dealing with. Then you can decide if it is worth spending $$$ on treatment, or culling, cleaning, and waiting a few months to start over with healthy chicks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
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  7. NevaehFeathers

    NevaehFeathers Out Of The Brooder

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    This sounds EXaCtly what we are going through. I chose to sacrifice my three worst off hen/pullets and had them necropsied and tested, results still pending. I'm in SC and new to chickens as well. It's just the gurgling and coughing, still active and eating and drinking and laying. I did notice since I started using VetRx the two left sneezing have not gotten worse or as bad as the other three I sac'd and had quarantined. Hopeful, but we shall see.
     
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  8. NevaehFeathers

    NevaehFeathers Out Of The Brooder

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    I wonder if worms could cause this, specifically lung worms.... Hmmm
     
  9. MeTxLady

    MeTxLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Not sure but I noticed a significant difference last night in the gurgling sound. It was almost nil. Not sure if the Duramycin is starting to work especially since upping the dose yesterday or what. I put MetRx on their heads and under wings. Hoping for even better results this evening when they go to roost. :)
     
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  10. MeTxLady

    MeTxLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, so it seemed our girls were getting better but now I'm not sure. I found a local vet [​IMG]who treats chickens so I'm taking one of the hens (one of the worst ones) in today. I'd rather pay the vet fee than continue trying to figure out on my own what's going on and what to treat for. Again, been giving Duramycin for about a week and a half now and using the VetRx for maybe 4-5 days. No other chickens seem to be affected by the illness than what was a week ago. I'll update once I know something. Yáll pray it's something that CAN be cured. Thanks!
     
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