First their voice changes, sneezing, and they go downhill from there


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 9, 2009
South Georgia
I did a stupid thing. I bought a Silkie Rooster and Hen at a livestock sale. Folks sell chickens outside the building in the morning before the livestock auctions start. Well I didn't notice they were sick and took them home and put them in a small cage inside my chicken pen to get them acclimated to the other chickens. That was the second dumb move. Then for number 3, I put them in with some Silkies biddies I have.

Well after a couple of days I realized they were pretty sick so I put them in a pen by themselves. A week later the hen got so week, wasn't eating, that I finally had to put her out of misery. The 3rd week and the rooster is still alive but still very sick. His voice has not been right since I got him. He was sneezing a lot but seems to sneeze less now. Drinks almost nothing.

Now I have one of my big chickens they were first in with sneezing and another has her voice changed to a high pitch. They have all quit laying except one. I separated them from the rest of the flock tonight but it's probably too late. I hope I don't loose them all.

Anybody know what they might have?

Last edited:


8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
Southern California
I'm sorry... I don't know. Have you given them any antibiotics yet? Some people will advise against giving antibiotics without knowing for sure what is going on with them, without a diagnosis. So, if you can afford a veterinarian who will see and treat a chicken, that is advisable. If not, you might want to buy and give a round of antibiotics to the whole flock? (Water soluable Tetracycline, available at the feed store... 1 teaspoon per gallon of water.)
My chickens seemed to get sick a lot, repeatedly with what I thought were 'respiratory' type infections, UNTIL I wormed them all. Now, they are much healthier and happier.
The heat can make hens stop laying as well, but usually not all of them at once.
Do hope someone else has more insight.
I am no expert, there are others here who know much more... and can give better advice. You might search the symptoms in this topic and see what you can find in the most recent posts on the subject.
Good luck...


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Nov 27, 2008
Glen St Mary, Florida
I'm sorry to say that you are dealing with a respiratory problem and it is spreading through your chickens. You've learned the hard way about biosecurity and not quarantining, you've realized your mistakes...lesson learned. There is no telling which disease you are dealing with. You could have a chicken tested to find out; contact your county extension agent to find out how to go about doing that. You could also call the University of Georgia Vet School in Tifton and find out what their procedures are for sending a bird for necropsy or testing.
If you smell a foul odor around their head or nostril area, it is coryza.
Your options regarding a respiratory problem are to treat or cull. If you treat, antibiotics will treat the symptoms but wont cure the disease and birds will remain carriers for life. That means you wont be able to bring new birds in, sell nor give any away, and with some diseases they can be passed through eggs. You will have to close your flock.
Here's a link to respiratory diseases in poultry:

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