Hens coughing/sneezing


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
NW Missouri
I'm a newbie - to chicken keeping AND Backyard Chickens. I got my first hens and a rooster just 4 days ago. The two silkie hens (who are not laying yet) are making this coughing/sneezing sort of noise. Remember, I'm new! So how do I know if this is a normal sound or if it's a symptom of an illness? Sometimes they shake their heads, too. I was standing outside the coop last night after they had roosted. I could hear them making that noise. Any help or advice is appreciated. (I'm still trying to figure out chicken language: when to say hen or pullet, rooster or cockeral, chicken or "banty" as they're called where I live, coop or chicken house!)
I'm reading and trying to learn.
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4 days is a pretty fast incubation period for illness so they probably came with it. I would contact the person you got them from.
Also, chickens need excellent ventilation so even though you want them cooped up a couple days so they know where to sleep, the building has to have good ventilation.
It is not always an illness. Lack of proper ventilation, crumble feed, or a dusty coop could do it as well. New pine shavings or freshly added sand will have them sneezing for up to a week. If they have crumble feed with a new feeder they could have dipped their beak in to far and got a piece stuck in their nostril (I have 1 that does it all the time). Lack of proper ventilation can start something like what we deal with sinus infections and end in some really bad respiratory issues. You have to watch them and see if there are any other signs of illness. Puffing up, acting tired, drainage of nose, staying away from others, and weird spots are all signs of illness and need to be treated. Rule out what you can and let us know so we can guide you better.
I neglected to mention that I noticed the 2 Silkies making this noise the day I brought all of my flock of 5 banty pullets and 1 banty rooster home. So there's no doubt in my mind that if it's an illness, they already had it when I bought them. And these Silkies are 2 banties that I bought from a different seller than the others. I am feeding them crumble feed, in a brand new feeder, in a brand new chicken house! At first I just wondered if it was a noise specific to Silkies but I've read, and can't find anything yet to support my theory. None of the other chickens are making this noise. YET! Thanks for the advise. I will continue to watch them over the next few days and see if there are any changes in their behavior.
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Too late now, but don't bring birds from different sources and immediately put them together. Especially when they have respiratory symptoms when bringing them home.
Research quarantine.

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