Does my hen have a cold?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rivers, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Rivers

    Rivers Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 3, 2010
    I got (my first) hens about a week ago. It has been a very cold winter so far and had gotten down to -10ºc the days before they arrived. Luckily when they did arrive a warm spell happened so it was +4ºc for a couple days.

    The breeds I got are: 1 black rock, 1 brown hyline, 1 bluebelle, 1 buff sussex

    The buff is the youngest, the rest are about 5 months, the black rock and the hyline the biggest. When they arrived the hyline being one of the largest was bold and confident, jumping out of the coop and getting to food first, often pecking away the smaller ones. I even saw it perch on top of my 8ft fence. But I also noticed that it kept doing what I would describe as a cough/sneeze. A sort of spluttery noise where it would shake its head.

    All was well till the cold came back, with a load of snow! Its been -5ºc or so with deep snow for 3 days, and ive noticed the hyline lose all confidence. For two days it came out of the coop with the others, but last night it didnt come back in the coop by itself. Instead she was hiding in the gap under the coop where she had been for most of those two days. Only venturing out briefly to eat once, then coming to shelter/hide under the coop on a cold concrete surface for the rest of the day.

    This morning she never came out of the coop! I gave her a good long time while the others where eating all the food, but she stayed perched so I placed her with the others manually. There she began eating with the rest looking normal.

    The snow all fell on the first day, so it is not snow falling that she is sheltering from. Plus it makes little sense to hide under the coop when it is warmer inside the coop.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The first thing you need to know is that chickens do not get colds, as such. They contract diseases, some of which are like herpes viruses, that stay with them and make them Typhoid Mary's for the rest of their lives sometimes, and sometimes for protracted periods.

    Sneezing can be environmental, trying to get something out of the nose or in response to ammonia buildup at their level, or dusty feed, etc. Make sure they are inside the coop in bad weather because they many times won't do what you think they should in cold weather. Just make sure they have fresh feed and water and you can supplement their protein with canned salmon or scrambled eggs as well. Observe and if you see actual snotty discharges or swollen eyes, that's when you have a problem. Your hen may be ill or she may be responding to damp/cold weather if it's just sneezing only. Cold weather doesn't cause them to become ill, though, just to clarify. They can get pneumonia, though. Protocol is to separate the one with symptoms to observe and try to prevent the spread of anything. She may need some supportive therapy like adding a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a gallon waterer (not metal) because of it's therapeutic properties or adding some vitamins for all of them to make the transition to the new environment. I have one hen who sneezes all the time--she has done this for a couple years now and it's just her. I keep wanting to shine a flashlight up her nose and see if she has a piece of corn up there. If your hen is ill, she probably came with whatever it is as a carrier.
  3. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    Cold does not cause colds in chickens.

    Cold weather can be a strees though that will cause flair-ups of cronic repritory diseases.

    Look up CRD including IB, Coryza, MG

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