Entire flock of sick chickens. :(


6 Years
Mar 26, 2013
Sophia, NC
I bought my first chicks in May of this year, me and my boyfriend slaved away to build a large nice coop for them I don't want to think about how much money I put into it all. Once my hatchery chicks were old enough they went out into the yard and for 4 months they've lived happy healthy lives. I bought 2 silkies from a breeder and was planning to get a third but lost one to sour crop the other was killed by a hawk. I took it as a sign that I shouldn't raise silkies but it left me with an odd number of chickens and odd numbers tend to really bother me so when browsing through the flea market and seeing all those chickens in such terrible conditions I just had to save one (was my thinking) I purchased a skinny little dominique and kept her separated for 2 weeks (I didn't know they needed to be separated longer) I gave her worm meds and dusted her for mites and fed her bunches, when I thought she was healthy I introduced her to my flock of lively birds. 2 days later she was very sick, swollen eyes, snotty nose, lethargic. I quickly caged her but then that night I found another one just like her and for 4 days now I have found one or 2 sick chickens that i have placed in my sick bay in the garage. I cleaned out the coop sprayed stuff with bleach, I have been treating all sick chickens with Tylan 50 injectables since day one, I cloroxed the water sources, I replaced the pine bedding with sand, put antibiotic in all the water. But I am still finding sick chickens I now have 7 of 18 in the sick bay and they aren't showing much improvement. I am afraid it's Coryza but I called a poultry vet and he said it could be a multitude of things and that it's very possible it isn't something that will stick with them for life. So I am going to get a few tested for about 200 dollars which is pricey for me but I'm desperate to find out what this is, and if there is a chance I can save them then it's worth it right? I've been so depressed for the past few days, it hurts me to listen to them struggle to breath and cough and sneeze and try to look at me with their swollen eyes. I am worrying myself sick, trying to decide what to do. I feel like I'm going to lose them all, my boyfriend's father has butchered chickens all his life, he can cut their heads off very fast and in one swing, so I have asked him to kill them for me if I must put them down. I burst into tears now every time I think about it, I don't know what I'll do and I don't even know if I can stand getting more chickens after this. I love them very much but every time one gets sick it's another knot in my gut and I don't know how much more I can take. I don't want to lose my flock, so much love and hard work has went into them, but in the end my inexperience may have doomed them to a short life. Please someone I could use advice or some kind words, my heart can't keep breaking like this. I might be too sensitive for chickens.
OMG this sounds horrible for you!! I am so sorry! Sounds like you are doing everything possible! I really hope someone on here with experience replys with some help for you! Dont give up!
I'll try not to give up, I am very torn right now I enjoy my chickens but how do you cope when you start losing them to sickness or predators? Or even worse are faced with eliminating them all at once.
Have any actually died? Maybe they will rebound with all the medicine and care you are providing! I've no idea what it could be, but it sounds like you are doing everything you possibly can.
You have a kind heart in wanting to help those birds in the flea market. But with chickens, we have to be constantly on guard and keep remembering biosecurity in these tempting situations. Unfortunately, I believe you're dealing with some type of respiratory disease. It could possibly be Infectious Coryza or Mycoplasma Gallisepticum (MG.) If your birds exude a foul odor around the head area, it's probably coryza. You can contact your local extension office and find out how to get a bird tested, either by bloodwork or necropsy to find out exactly what you're dealing with...then the choice will be yours...treat or cull.
Here's a link to respiratory diseases in poultry. You can scroll down and read about the two diseases I mentioned if you wish:
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Every time I let my girls out to free range I know I am taking a chance. I remind myself that if I have them for 4 months or 4 years, I have given them a better life than they would have ever had normally. I have lost a few to hawks and one to a neighbors dog over the years. Dont get me wrong, I have bawled my eyes out over them! We are a hobby farm, they are pets.

You are being a great mom for them! Going above and beyond what many people would have done!!

Do you have them all on an antibiotic? Even the ones showing no signs?
I would like to have a necropsy done and I believe the vet I'm going to does it, I don't know if I can afford it though and my grandmother will not let me keep it in the fridge. I currently have it in a trash bag in the garage will it keep long enough for my vet visit tomorrow?
Well that does it every last chicken has a runny nose, most are acting ok but 6 are lethargic Tylan 50 does not seem to be effective. I had another chicken die, and one with both cheeks so swollen she can't open her eyes, it's only her cheeks not her eye itself. I am taking them to the vet today to have them tested, I have to pick up to 5 to take with me and I will see if he will do a necropsy on the chicken that can no longer open her eyes. I will call him this morning to find out which ones he suggest I bring and I will update when I have results.

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