Help I think I have a respiratory infection running through my flock!!!!


6 Years
Jun 16, 2013
Ok so here's what is going on and I really hope and pray someone can help me. This all started with my rooster 2 days ago now I am finding something similar with one of my hens. The other day I found my RIR rooster is losing feather, acting lethargic, had watery eyes and had gurgling noises when was breathing so I removed him from the flock and inspected him for mites and the like and did not see anything and started him on some Tetracycline twice a day. Surprisingly, he is still with us but still seperated. This morning I went out to the coop to feed my six hens and clean the coop, One of my buff orpingtons did not come off the roost and when I pet on her I discovered that she is kind of sneezing but the end of the sneeze is a gurgling kind of noise. Her eyes seem fine but I am really worried that she has what my rooster has and if she has it then the rest of my flock may get it too. I have a total of 6 hens and a rooster. I have read other things about Tylan 50 but what I found at Tractor Supply is for cattle, is that the same thing? Like the others I am not entirely comfortable giving injections and I am not confident I can catch each one of my chickens to give injections. Is there something I can put in their water that is just as effective? I do treat my coop with DE food grade when I change the bedding and scrub the coop about once a month to prevent mites and other crawleys and the last time I did that was 3 weeks ago. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Get some tetracycline and put it in their water. I just had a sick rooster that I nursed back to health. He was lethargic, wouldn't eat, could barely walk. I had to feed and water him with a feeding syringe. I didn't notice him sneezing or runny nose but his breathing was raspy. When he started to feel better and started crowing again was when I determined it had to be respiratory issues. His crow sounded funny. It took a good 6 days before he was up and going again. Any sick chicks you need to segregate and keep them warm, hydrated and fed. Good luck!
The Tylan50 sold at stores is generally sold for cattle. It is the antibiotic that I would recommend, as it is very effective at treating respiratory diseases.

I know that injecting can be a bit frightening at first (I know exactly how you feel in that aspect--I just started injecting this year, and it was an interesting experience), but it is much simpler than it sounds. There are many good instructions about injecting on the Internet and on BYC, and would recommend searching for those. But these are the basics of injecting:

  1. Suck up some of the antibiotic with a syringe and needle.
  2. Have a helper (if possible--otherwise you'll have to hold the bird yourself) hold the bird so that you can easily get to the breast.
  3. Find a spot on one side of the breast that looks meaty. Clear away the feathers, and swab the site with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.
  4. Slowly insert the needle of the syringe into the meaty spot. Don't go too far; about 1/8-1/4 of an inch.
  5. Draw back the plunger of the syringe. If you see blood, relocate.
  6. If there is not blood, slowly but surely press down on the plunger to release the antibiotic.
  7. Massage the injected area for a minute or two, and then let the bird rest.

The Tylan50 injectable dosage is 1cc for large-fowl, .5ccs for bantams, injected into one side of the breast once daily for 5 days. Alternate the side of the breast that you inject, and use a small gauge needle, as Tylan can make the injection area sore. Don't give probiotics or dairy products during Tylan treatment; I believe that vitamins/electrolytes are fine. Improvement should be seen after 2-3 days of treatment. Keep in mind, though, that antibiotics only work on bacterial diseases, so if the respiratory disease that your rooster has is viral, Tylan will be useless.

If you don't want to have to inject all of your birds, Tylan also comes in a powdered oral form that you mix with water. I'm not sure of its dosage, though, but I think you can find the information by searching the Internet or BYC.

Good luck!
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Good information! Here's a link to giving chickens injections, in case you want more information: It will be a nervous experience the first time you give an injection. Don't be surprised if the bird flaps and squawks and acts like you are killing it. With practice, the bird (and you) will become used to giving injections.

Hope I've helped!
This is a repeat post I gave in another forum on same topic on Tylan
U-tube how to give intramuscular shot to a chicken.
Funny part where hen runs away from him....but he does get the job done. We need a little laugh for stressful things like this, so glad he didn't edit it.

Written instructions

Controversy on if Tylan should be given intramuscular (breast) or subcutaneously (just under the skin on the back of the neck), or should be given orally.

*****Here is an excellent forum on the various routes people took and dosages . I highly recommend that you read this forum below and decide for yourself what way you are most comfortable with and be aware of pros and cons.
Thanks...what if it is viral? And would this illness cause them to lose feathers?

It is viral, there isn't much you can do. Sometimes, giving supportive care (vitamins/electrolytes in water, warmth, cleanliness, nutritious food, etc.) can allow the birds to fight off the disease on their own. But if they can't fight the disease off, culling of the affected birds is best. Feather loss can be caused by stress (so the stress of an illness could be a factor), external parasites, picking by other chickens, and some conditions like Botulism.
Thanks...what if it is viral? And would this illness cause them to lose feathers?

You can't do much if its a viral disease. Give supportive care, such as nutritious food, electrolytes, and probiotics. Keep the bird warm and out of drafts. Most viral diseases go away on there own in a few weeks, but they can be severe enough that you have to cull the bird.

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