Concerned Silkie labored breathing

GLoucesterChick

Chirping
Aug 28, 2019
11
33
59
Gloucester MA
Hi Chicken Mamas and Dadddys,
A newer chickn mama here...I'm hoping for some guidance... Have a a group of 7 week old chickens all different breeds. The Silkie (Lucile) has labored breathing at night. Sneezes a lot too. She has always been more sneezy and I wasn't initially concerned, until I noticed how hard she breaths at night compared to the others. Its better since I changed from construction sand to pine shavings. I think the dust played a part in this. During the day she seem fine, drinking eating, stealing treats from all the others...scooting up under the bigger chicks and popping up and ejecting them out of her way (this crack me up) No labored breathing while active.
but when shes resting her whole body is into her breathing. you can sometimes see a drawing in right in between her nostrils and eye, (infraorbital sinus?) or sometimes under her beak. When she sneezes there is a little spray, its not smelly, or a lot. Sometimes you can hear a crackling. With the exception of an occasional sneeze, the other chicks exhibit none of this. I was recommended a tetracycline antibiotic in their water which I started a day ago and ordered some Oxine, reading good things... I clean their housing almost every day, depending on how poopy, which is on my office desk, dry, warm and bright... They are on medicated starter feed. Going outside for a portion of the day most days when warm, its mostly been low 70s. I suspect she may have a fungal sensitivity that the others do not? Looking for some thoughts, and thank you in advance for any advice.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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7 week old chickens all different breeds. The Silkie (Lucile) has labored breathing at night. Sneezes a lot too. She has always been more sneezy and I wasn't initially concerned, until I noticed how hard she breaths at night compared to the others. Its better since I changed from construction sand to pine shavings. I think the dust played a part in this.

During the day she seem fine, drinking eating, stealing treats from all the others

No labored breathing while active.
but when shes resting her whole body is into her breathing. you can sometimes see a drawing in right in between her nostrils and eye, (infraorbital sinus?) or sometimes under her beak. When she sneezes there is a little spray, its not smelly, or a lot. Sometimes you can hear a crackling. With the exception of an occasional sneeze, the other chicks exhibit none of this.

I was recommended a tetracycline antibiotic in their water which I started a day ago and ordered some Oxine, reading good things... I clean their housing almost every day, depending on how poopy, which is on my office desk, dry, warm and bright... They are on medicated starter feed. Going outside for a portion of the day most days when warm, its mostly been low 70s. I suspect she may have a fungal sensitivity that the others do not?
Can you get a video of her breathing? Upload to youtube and provide a link.
If she is having more difficulty at night, you may be dealing with Infectious Bronchitis, but without testing it would be hard to know.
If you are in the US, your state lab or vet can perform testing or you can use an independent lab like Zoologix.

Infectious Bronchitis is a virus and antibiotics will not treat that. If there is a secondary infection, the antibiotics can help.
Oxine can be helpful if you feel it's fungal - have you had any mold/mildew in the brooder?
At 7 weeks old, they should be feathered out enough to go in the coop - do you have that ready?
 

GLoucesterChick

Chirping
Aug 28, 2019
11
33
59
Gloucester MA
Thank you for your replies and advice!

While Lucile seems better, still breathes heavy but not nearly as bad and the sneezing has just about gone. Some of other birds started open mouth breathing just last night and tonight. Below a pic of my BO (Duck) taken tonight. :( They were all fine today usual perky and playful selves. And right now as I type Duck and Lucile are scratching and pecking away symptom free.
I am more convinced that it is mold, mildew, something fungal in the pen...maybe there is some in the pine shavings too, not just the sand? There was a ruckus tonight that kicked up all the pine shavings and dust and then when they settled down for a nap that's when the open mouth breathing started.

The Oxine came in and have been reading up on that, suggestions are to use non activated 2.5 teaspoons per cup of water in a humidifier in the absence of a fogger. Since this is an off label use I've been nervous about this.... Currently I do not have one handy...Spritz bottle? Any first hand experience with this product and how to vaporize it?

Re the coop: One of the folks at Agway told me I shouldn't be putting them outside cause it was too cold. The temp was around 60-65. This was surprising...so different from everything I've read. they have still gone out on most days since...They seem very comfortable and happy so I'm going to take cues from my girls. However didn't want to risk too cold at night...I could have the coop ready any day...I have to divide it, to separate them from the 3 big girls.

I'll try and get some video...
Thank you in advance again...thank goodness for this site and community! Seriously!!
IMG_7519.jpg
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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While Lucile seems better, still breathes heavy but not nearly as bad and the sneezing has just about gone. Some of other birds started open mouth breathing just last night and tonight.

I am more convinced that it is mold, mildew, something fungal in the pen...maybe there is some in the pine shavings too, not just the sand? There was a ruckus tonight that kicked up all the pine shavings and dust and then when they settled down for a nap that's when the open mouth breathing started.

The Oxine came in and have been reading up on that, suggestions are to use non activated 2.5 teaspoons per cup of water in a humidifier in the absence of a fogger. Since this is an off label use I've been nervous about this.... Currently I do not have one handy...Spritz bottle? Any first hand experience with this product and how to vaporize it?

One of the folks at Agway told me I shouldn't be putting them outside cause it was too cold. The temp was around 60-65. This was surprising...so different from everything I've read. they have still gone out on most days since...They seem very comfortable and happy so I'm going to take cues from my girls. However didn't want to risk too cold at night...I could have the coop ready any day...I have to divide it, to separate them from the 3 big girls.
Can you post some photos of your coop/run too?
At 7 weeks, they should be able to handle 60-65F as long as they have shelter and can get out of the wind. Coops needs to have plenty of ventilation, even in winter, it's direct drafts/wind that they need protection from.
I have had week old chicks brooding outside with a heating pad when temps were in the 20s and they were fine - wind protection and one spot of heat.

Bedding could have mold/mildew - did you use wood chips like you have delivered or purchased bedding that came in a package? Poor ventilation is also another factor - it seems like they have the most problems at night, when you close them up? That to me would indicate you need more ventilation. It's still possible it could be respiratory disease like IB - it does seem that with this illness sometimes bird are more symptomatic at night (nighttime rales) or when resting.


Good instructions for using Oxine by @azygous found here.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...-sounds-terrible.1285173/page-4#post-20810790
 

GLoucesterChick

Chirping
Aug 28, 2019
11
33
59
Gloucester MA
I found the source! I did some super cleaning of the office/Pen. There was a box under the desk that had a bag full of more of that sand and it was wet and moldy. Duh!! I'm a badmommy! :rolleyes: Got the girls out of the room, Brought in an air cleaner, Cleaned everything, Sprayed everything with oxine 2.5 tsp to 1 cup water. Last night and this morning... they are much much better!! The air circulation in the room should be fine, we keep the windows open and we are by the ocean so get good air. pine shavings are fthe bagged kind purchased at Agway. I haven't gotten a good video of Lucile breathing and haven't had time to upload, but since shes breathing easier, it wouldn't show you anything anyways. Should I be concerned about what has already gotten into their respiratory system? Wyorp, thank you for all the advice and I'm going to check out that link now! And will test for IB if this persists.
Here's the coop set up. I'm in the process of repairing and upgrading from chicken wire to hardware cloth. The little girls run is made from pieces of a lacrosse net and just....pieces:).
IMG_7531.jpg
IMG_7532.jpg
IMG_7535.jpg

There is a fenced in area beyond the run where the big girls spend most of their days, and then the fenced in back yard beyond that which we let them go a day or 2 a week.
I'm going to chicken wire the inside of the coop down the middle with 2 roosts, during acclimation when we bring the little girls in, I'll do this today so they can go in tonight.
Again, thank you for your help! :bow
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
38,538
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Wonderful!
I'm glad you found the source. She will probably really improve since you found that and got it cleaned up. It may be worth spritzing the oxine over her head or following the instructions about using the vaporizor for a few days just in case she developed infection.
 

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