Coughing chicken


7 Years
Feb 26, 2012
I have a small flock (6) of laying hens. They have a 300 sq ft run and also free range a few days a week. A few weeks ago I noticed a chicken making a coughing sound when I opened the coop in the morning. I didn't think too much of it until last weekend when we were working on the run to prepare it for winter. At times she would cough very badly. then she would go a long time without coughing. Other than coughing, she appears to be acting pretty normally. This weekend I noticed another hen making a little coughing noise.

I called my dog's vet who also owns chickens. She didn't have any ideas for me. I looked online and saw that perhaps they have worms. I have never de-wormed them. (I got some of the flock in Feb and some in July.) So I went to TSC to get de-wormer. Then discovered there was nothing recommended for use in laying hens. Went home with nothing. Researched some more and went back to TSC to get cattle wormer paste to try. The man working that day suggested DE to de-worm and Vet Rx (seemed to treat a variety of conditions). I had also read to use cayenne pepper in their feed to drive the worms out.

So I used the DE and cayenne pepper in their food and the Vet Rx in the water last night. I don't know exactly what is wrong with them. Some people have recommended antibiotics for a possible infection.

Here are my questions:

1. Should I stop eating their eggs since some of them are coughing?
2. If I give an antibiotic how long do I have to stop eating eggs?
3. Should I give an antibiotic at all? Is that safe in layers?
4. Is what I am doing going to help at all?
5. Has anyone used Vet Rx with success? For what symptoms?
6. Do people use wormers on their laying hens? It seemed like a bad idea.
I should have added that last night's dinner for me contained quite a few eggs. This morning I have a "sour stomach feeling." Coincidence? Or possibly due to the infection that is causing the coughing chickens?

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