Eye problems, respiratory? Going through Silkie flock. Need advice.


Sep 14, 2008
Lincoln, CA
Symptoms: Note - not all birds have all symptoms. The eye symptoms are the most obvious.
Eye Symptoms - Around eyes: loss of feathers, skin thickening, crustiness, swollen, some of them have eyes crusted shut.
Respiratory - Some have raspy breathing, some with & some without eye symptoms.
Some have a bit of discharge from the nostrils but not much.
Digestive - I've noticed a loose stool in a couple of hens, but nothing drastic.

All are eating & drinking fine. Most show no symptoms except the loss of feathers around the eyes. No new birds have been introduced to the flock. No change in feed. Not all birds are affected. I have large pens, some connected & some not. There seems to be 1 or 2 symtomatic birds in most pens, but not all.
I have some Tylan injectible ordered but probably won't be here until the end of the week. I just finished dosing most of the flock with Eprinex (which was when I started noticing all the different symptoms) & noticed that some sick birds had lice & others did not. I have isolated the worst cases from the others & some of them actually seem to be looking better.
Not sure if this has anything to do with what is going on, but I have had 3 birds that were recently sick. (1) Rooster had crusty eyes but no feather loss around them. He also had a loss of balance. Isolated him & fed bunches of yogurt & he improved greatly. (2) A young hen had loss of balance & was very thin. Again, lots of yogurt several times a day. Within a week she was completely well & back in the flock. (3) A nice young rooster, loss of weight, runny stool. I used the yogurt which he took readily at first then quit eating & was dead within 24 hrs.
I have googled symptoms & been on tons of internet sites trying to find an answer to this. Any input that any of you might have will be totally welcome.
One last thing, if Tylan is the answer, what would be the correct dosage for Silkies & where do I inject? I ordered the Tylan off the internet & it says injectible but doesn't need refrigeration so I'm guessing that I have to mix it myself, but not sure.
Sorry for the long message but wanted to be sure & cover as many points as possible. Thanks for reading.
It could be CRD. If you have a Tractor Supply store or any kind of feed store in your area, they probably will have a water soluble Tylan. It's mixed into the flocks water supply, and would be a heckuva lot easier to administer.
Here is some more information...

Infectious Coryza
Synonyms: roup, cold, coryza

Species affected: chickens, pheasants, and guinea fowl. Common in game chicken flocks.

Clinical signs: Swelling around the face, foul smelling, thick, sticky discharge from the nostrils and eyes, labored breathing, and rales (rattles -- an abnormal breathing sound) are common clinical signs. The eyelids are irritated and may stick together. The birds may have diarrhea and growing birds may become stunted (see Table 1 ).

Mortality from coryza is usually low, but infections can decrease egg production and increase the incidence and/or severity of other diseases. Mortality can be as high as 50 percent, but is usually no more than 20 percent. The clinical disease can last from a few days to 2-3 months, depending on the virulence of the pathogen and the existence of other infections such as mycoplasmosis.

Transmission: Coryza is primarily transmitted by direct bird-to-bird contact. This can be from infected birds brought into the flock as well as from birds which recover from the disease which remain carriers of the organism and may shed intermittently throughout their lives.. Birds risk exposure at poultry shows, bird swaps, and live-bird sales. Inapparent infected adult birds added into a flock are a common source for outbreaks. Within a flock, inhalation of airborne respiratory droplets, and contamination of feed and/or water are common modes of spread.

Treatment: Water soluble antibiotics or antibacterials can be used. Sulfadimethoxine (Albon
, Di-MethoxTM) is the preferred treatment. If it is not available, or not effective, sulfamethazine (Sulfa-Max
, SulfaSureTM), erythromycin (gallimycin
), or tetracycline (Aureomycin
) can be used as alternative treatments. Sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for pullets older than 14 weeks of age or for commercial layer hens. While antibiotics can be effective in reducing clinical disease, they do not eliminate carrier birds.

Prevention: Good management and sanitation are the best ways to avoid infectious coryza. Most outbreaks occur as a result of mixing flocks. All replacement birds on "coryza-endemic" farms should be vaccinated. The vaccine (Coryza-Vac) is administered subcutaneously (under the skin) on the back of the neck. Each chicken should be vaccinated four times, starting at 5 weeks of age with at least 4 weeks between injections. Vaccinate again at 10 months of age and twice yearly thereafter.
Mycoplasma gallisepticum - CRD
Synonyms: MG, chronic respiratory disease (CRD), infectious sinusitis, mycoplasmosis

Species affected: chickens, turkeys, pigeons, ducks, peafowl and passerine birds.

Clinical signs: Clinical symptoms vary slightly between species. Infected adult chickens may show no outward signs if infection is uncomplicated. However, sticky, serous exudate from nostrils, foamy exudate in eyes, and swollen sinuses can occur, especially in broilers. The air sacs may become infected. Infected birds can develop respiratory rales and sneeze. Affected birds are often stunted and unthrifty (see Table 1 ).

There are two forms of this disease in the turkey. With the "upper form" the birds have watery eyes and nostrils, the infraorbitals (just below the eye) become swollen, and the exudate becomes caseous and firm. The birds have respiratory rales and show unthriftiness.

With the "lower form", infected turkeys develop airsacculitis. As with chickens, birds can show no outward signs if the infection is uncomplicated. Thus, the condition may go unnoticed until the birds are slaughtered and the typical legions are seen. Birds with airsacculitis are condemned.

MG in chicken embryos can cause dwarfing, airsacculitis, and death.

Transmission: MG can be spread to offspring through the egg. Most commercial breeding flocks, however, are MG-free. Introduction of infected replacement birds can introduce the disease to MG-negative flocks. MG can also be spread by using MG-contaminated equipment.

Treatment : Outbreaks of MG can be controlled with the use of antibiotics. Erythromycin, tylosin, spectinomycin, and lincomycin all exhibit anti-mycoplasma activity and have given good results. Administration of most of these antibiotics can be by feed, water or injection. These are effective in reducing clinical disease. However, birds remain carriers for life.

Prevention: Eradication is the best control of mycoplasma disease. The National Poultry Improvement Plan monitors all participating chicken and turkey breeder flocks.
Wow! You guys are really good!!! Thank you all so much for all the info. I have some Terramycin powder on hand so I'll go ahead & mix some in their water until the Tylan gets here.

I went with the Tylan injectible so I would know for certain that each sick bird got the proper dosage. When mixing meds with water, I'd be afraid that some wouldn't get dosed. Is this a bad way to look at it? Should I stick with the Terrmycin powder? Also, I have automatic waterers so should I dump those & buy some 1 gal waterers to administer the mixed powder?

I didn't really notice a bad smell but I have a bad cold so I could have missed it. Is the smell coming from the eye/nose discharge or from the vent?

Okay, I am going out & do some sniffing around. ;-) If I can't smell anything, I'll have to wait until our grandson gets home & put his nose to work.

Will it help to take some pics? I was thinking it might be a good idea in case anyone else has this go through their flock, so they'll know what it looks like.

A quick run through of your posts sounds like the symptoms fit several different things. Is there any way I can pin it down or should I just treat it & not worry about it?

One more question please. This may be a little premature, since I don't know what the disease is for sure. But I may never know so might as well ask the question now. I can't bear to start culling birds, so if I have carriers, it sounds like I might be dealing with this forever. If so, how do I deal with it? Isolate all symtomatic birds immediately & start treatment, or start the whole flock on antibiotics.

Thank you all so much for the advice. I'll be checking back today to re-read posts & try to digest the great info.

I have noticed in a couple of mine , 1 hen and 1 rooster that their eyes are puffy and 1 eye was plum shut . I isolated them both in different areas . NOT MIXED AT ALL , not even with each other . I did buy a powder ( antibotic ) to put in water . Other than the swollen eyes , NO other symtoms .

I am doing anything wrong ? I did read on the med that any egg's from treated flock should be discarted . I am NOT giving this antibotic to others . Like the old saying , NOT broken do not fix it ?

I have an area separated from the rest of the flock so they are totally quarenteened .

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