HELP!! Chickens sneezing and coughing for about a week

aewright

Chirping
Mar 21, 2016
7
11
52
New Jersey
Hello, just seeing if anyone has some guidance. This is the first time I've experienced any sickness in my chickens. Thanks in advance.

I have 12 Red Sex Links that are 21-22 weeks old. I've gotten 3-4 eggs from them total (all but one were soft shelled). I bought them from a farm in on May 12, and just about a week ago I noticed occasional sneezing. I didn't think anything of it because my other chickens will occasionally sneeze also. (The new chickens have been quarantined since they arrived at our farm.) In the last week or so, I've noticed most all of them sneezing, and some seem to have a smelly discharge coming from their nares. I'm not sure how much they weigh, but they don't seem to be losing any weight. They do eat and drink a little slower than my other group of chickens, but I'm still changing water and filling fees regularly.

They just seem to be sneezing a lot. Sometimes a couple sound raspy when they're breathing, but I haven't noticed any mouth breathing. Even though they have discharge coming from their nares, they are not caked or blocked and the mucous is clear even though, as I said above, it does smell bad.

I got them May 12, and was going to start introducing them to my other flock on the 26th, but that's when I noticed the increase in sneezing and the the discharge on the 25th, so they have not been moved. I guess that makes it about a week now.

All 12 are sneezing. Some more than others.


There are no signs of any injuries or any other types of trauma.

It was very stuffy where I have them housed currently. It's just an old barn on our property. Tuesday of last week (26th), I took out both windows and replaced them with chicken wire to allow some more air to circulate. I can't think of anything that has been changed or happened other than that since they have been here

They're being fed Purina Layena layer feed and water that I have started supplementing with vitamins and electrolytes. It's from Rooster Booster.

Poop looks pretty normal as far as I can tell. Cecal poop is still happening also.
I have been using VetRX since Wednesday (27th). At night, I rub it over their nares and head, down the feathers on their throats, and under their wings. I have also been spraying some directly over them in the coop and including a few drops in their water as suggested in their directions.

I'd prefer to treat by myself if that's possible. If not, I have no problem contacting a vet to either come out or for me to take the chicken there.

Dirt flooring covered with wood shavings...the same that my other chickens have been on for a year. Just in a different place.

I should also add that these birds have been vaccinated. I am not sure for what, but I'm assuming probably just for Marek's, but I'm not sure. They also seem to be acting normally. They scratch through the dirt and are still talkative. Their tails aren't drooping or anything. I'm not sure if their combs are pale or not. I feel like they didn't much color to begin with

Thanks again
 

Marc D

In the Brooder
May 21, 2020
13
20
23
I'd prefer to treat by myself if that's possible. If not, I have no problem contacting a vet to either come out or for me to take the chicken there.

I don't know the answer, but it isn't seeming urgent. I definitely wouldn't introduce them to the rest of the flock until the illness is solved. Personally, I would call the vet and just ask their opinion of what you describe... see what they have to say.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
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southern Ohio
There are a handful of common respiratory diseases. Sneezing often is sometimes infectious bronchitis. A foul smelling nasal drainage sounds a bit like coryza, but it usually causes swollen eyes with pus, thick nasal drainage, and coughing-wheezing. Bubbles in eyes with swelling is sometimes MG. ILT is the last one, and it may cause cough, gurgles, and blood-tinged mucus from the beak. Is there any way that you could contact a local or the state vet to get some testing of a sick bird? You could sacrifice one and get a necropsy which would get a diagnosis. It is always a risk getting started birds from another person where it can be possible to bring in a disease that may affect the others. Here is a national lab that can send you swabs to collect and send in for a respiratory disease panel:
https://www.zoologix.com/avian/Datasheets/PoultryRespiratoryPanel.htm
Your state vet may have something less expensive:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
Here is a list of common diseases with symptoms including the ones listed above:
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
 

aewright

Chirping
Mar 21, 2016
7
11
52
New Jersey
Thank you for the information. I've been looking up so much stuff over the past week, and it's really kind of overwhelming. I honestly didn't even know that chickens could get such problems or I never would have bought them from a local farm. I would have just made due with the layers I had and waited for my babies to grow. We've just been selling so many eggs because of this Coronavirus mess, and my 18 chickens couldn't keep up with my demand. I thought it was great to go pick up 12 pullets who were already 19 weeks old.

They totally act fine. They aren't lethargic or droopy. They're eating and drinking. They have stopped laying, although out of the 12 pullets, I had only gotten 3 eggs so far anyway. Their eyes and sinuses aren't bothered at all. There is no swelling or bubbles coming out. I think that's why I'm so overwhelmed because most everything I've read about the 3 diseases you mentioned above, doesn't seem to fit quite right.

I will definitely be looking into testing because it really was not my plan to have these chickens housed separately forever, but if that's what it comes down to so be it.

Again, thank you so much for your information and for the links!
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,249
50,863
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southern Ohio
I would try to find testing. Their symptoms sound so much like infectious bronchitis, except for the bad odor from the nasal drainage. Out of all the diseases, that is the most common and mildest, and usually only lasts about a month, although it can spread through the flock over months. The chickens only remain a carrier for 5 months to a year. I dealt with it in my flock years ago, and I had to wait a year from the time the last chicken had it, to hatch or get new chicks. The Zoologix panel for respiratory diseases is something you can do on one bird yourself, and mail the 3 swabs back in. The other diseases make them carriers for life, meaning it will be in the flock until the last bird is gone.
 

aewright

Chirping
Mar 21, 2016
7
11
52
New Jersey
I would try to find testing. Their symptoms sound so much like infectious bronchitis, except for the bad odor from the nasal drainage. Out of all the diseases, that is the most common and mildest, and usually only lasts about a month, although it can spread through the flock over months. The chickens only remain a carrier for 5 months to a year. I dealt with it in my flock years ago, and I had to wait a year from the time the last chicken had it, to hatch or get new chicks. The Zoologix panel for respiratory diseases is something you can do on one bird yourself, and mail the 3 swabs back in. The other diseases make them carriers for life, meaning it will be in the flock until the last bird is gone.

Got my Zoologix test results back today. Birds tested positive for Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Any advice on that? Is it treatable? Will I ever be able to integrate them into my other flock? Can I eat their eggs? Thanks in advance!
 

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