Hens sneezing, wheezing and now one of the brahmas eye is shut

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rhondashannonatl, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. rhondashannonatl

    rhondashannonatl New Egg

    Jun 14, 2008
    I brought in six young Brahmas 5 weeks ago to increase my egg production for my customers. Shortly thereafter, I lost about 4 hens in succession over the course of two more weeks. . These were older hens. Since it is been so extremely cold down here in GA, I thought the cold was affecting the older girls. Now, I have realized that half my hens are coughing wheezing and now one of my Brahmas eyes are closed shut. I have put the entire flock on 1/4 cc of Ivermectin combined with 1/4 tea Oxytetracycline soluble powder and 1/2 cc of Vet RX- PER GALLON of Water effective this evening. I have only one bowl of water source for them. I am hoping this will get my girls well. I have never used antibiotics before. I am trying to cover flus, colds and infections plus worms with the 3 meds above.

    Can anyone offer advice as to how long to keep them on the antibiotics or confirm this med combo will help? We have below freezing temps here in N GA and I lock them in the hen house at night with heat lamps and a rotating space heater. I am keeping them warm and clean.

    Oh yes, I put some antibiotic ointment over the Brahmas eye and she seemed to like it. Maybe this will help with the infection.

    I have been raising chickens for over 8 years and have never had anything like this happen to me. I sell my eggs so Ill be shut down for a month or so. I raise my hens on organic feed and vegetables from my gardens and they are in a large chicken pasture all to them selves. If my hens get well, which, I am hoping they will.... how long after then antibiotics are completed will I be able to sell the eggs?

    Thank you so much for any advice or experience you may have on the subject...
  2. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    rhondashannonatl - Please tell us how your chickens are doing today. It sounds like the chickens you introduced into your flock were carriers of some type of respiratory illness, and the rest of your flock has become infected. I don't have enough experience to be able to answer your questions. You can try searching this site for the symptoms and medications you are dealing with. Hopefully someone with more experience will come along soon.
  3. rhondashannonatl

    rhondashannonatl New Egg

    Jun 14, 2008
    Thank you for responding! My hens of 30 seem to be improving over the last 24 hours- I have not lost another as of yet. I searched the website for medication ideas and solutions. I also visited my local farm supply which, is a small town "advisor" group for farm animals.

    As of yesterday morning here is what I am giving them:
    , I have them on oxytetracycline HCI Soluble power at 1/4 tea per gallon of water as their sole source of water.
    Additionally, the more sickly ones ( 6 in total) receive 3 drops of polyvisol baby vitamins ( without iron) and vet rx diluted in warm water over their beaks, tops of their heads and eyes twice a day.
    I also give the sicker ones their water with a dropper twice daily since they are not going to the waterer too often .

    Today, Ill start electrolytes in a bowl of oatmeal in the mornings only.

    The Brahma that has the infected and closed up eye, I started teramyacin rubbed into the eye twice daily. So far, it is not open. She may lose her sight in that eye but, her wheezing and congestion has improved.

    I was unable to find any injectable Tylan 50 at two stores yesterday. My local tractor supply said the chicken supplies are gone! I have one more place to try today. I want to give the 3 hens that are the worst 1/4 cc tylan 50 once a day x 3 days to compliment the antibiotics. I have never given an injection to a chicken in the breast meat area but, I know I can do it. I give my pot bellies injections when needed. Any hints or advice on the best way to do this?

    Lots of sick chickens in my area of North GA. Too much snow and ice for GA- temps are extreme. I hope the respiratory infections are its not an epidemic.

    Yes, I do believe I brought something in with the new hens. A terrible thing and the first time it has happened to me. I am careful who I buy from. Will plan on getting a new hatch from McMurray this spring and raise them myself.

    I am careful with bio control as well since I have other farm animals and raise organically grown produce for profit.

    I am hoping the above combination of meds will work. Will keep you all posted. Thank you for caring and I am grateful for this site! [​IMG]
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

  5. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    Quote:Hi Rhonda-sure hope your birds all recover from this crud.
    It seems to be running rampant all over the country this winter-I don't think it's anything isolated to your area.
    I suspect your Brahma with the bad eye will be OK once the infection clears up(hope so anyway).
    Good luck to you and your flock.
  6. honeygram

    honeygram New Egg

    Jan 18, 2011
    I am in Los Angeles (85° yesterday). We had two chickens almost two years old—a barred rock and rhode island red—raised from chicks. We don't use antibiotics in their water, and let them range freely during the day. They haven't had any colds before. A possum got the barred rock on Christmas. So Dec. 31, we bought three juvenile hens—two araucana/americana and a rhode island red.

    It turns out the place we bought them from always puts antibiotics in their water (1 teaspoon per gallon). Something we don't want to do. We won't buy from them again. In the future I think we will watch the new hens for a week or two before introducing them to the flock. Unless, we raise them from chicks and/or know their history.

    The new rhode island red came down with a head cold on Jan. 8: runny eyes and nose, lethargic, not eating much; she was also covered in lice. We separated her immediately, but the damage was done. We put Prozap powder on her and the bugs dropped by the score. We returned her from where we bought her Jan. 17.

    The other hens started sneezing Jan. 15. This morning Jan, 18, one of the araucana/american was having trouble breathing. When I next checked on her she was dead. The others are still sneezing. They are not as obviously sick as the new rhode island red was, but I don't want them to die. I made a hibiscus tea to help with the congestion; it helps me, but can't tell if it helps them.

    I mostly feel stupid, frustrated, and sad for not being more careful picking new hens, introducing them to my flock, and checking out the source better.
  7. rhondashannonatl

    rhondashannonatl New Egg

    Jun 14, 2008
    Update on my hens of 30! After I lost the first 5, I have not lost any more this week and they are all improving once I started them on antibiotics. I know that I will only have to keep them on the meds for a short while and realize it will be worth it to save my little ones. It was hard to decide to put them on the antibiotics being an organic farmer but, then I realized it was the only way to save them.

    I still have 2 weak ones but, they are much better than before. I will NEVER bring in any more hens into my coop from a source I have not first visited or one that I trust. McMurray hatch has the best chicks and I will raise my own in the future from babies and not purchase them anywhere else. I grow organic eggs, feeding my hens only organic feed and greens from my gardens and this virus has also set me back also financially not to mention the stress of having my babies sick.

    Here is what I have done for those of you that are interested. Ive also confirmed this with my local vet as being a good regime for the best cure. She also suggested the more sickly ones may not be getting enough of the antibiotics via the water so to make an oatmeal mix every day and divide it among two large pie plates-One for the weaker ones ( you may have to stand guard) and one for the stronger ones. The oatmeal mixture is below. The whole routine takes about 2 hours total each day but, it is most definitely worth it.

    Day 1-14- Do each of these routines

    AM and PM: 1/2 teaspoon of Oxytetracycline per gallon of warm water.
    I use a 3 gallon bucket and fill it half full ( 1.5 gallons) with warm water, add 3/4 tea antibiotic powder, stir it up well and put it in a 3 gallon waterer or one of those large black rubber waterer. That lasts all day and I am not wasting the antibiotic or the water by using too much for 30 hens. .

    My vet said Duramyacin 10 would also work as effectively as the Oxytetraycline-same dosage.

    Ive found the hens really like the warmer water in the winter and drink more of it. This water is the only water source. I change the water twice a day, morning and evening mixing fresh antibiotic in the water each time.

    AM: mix several drops of VET RX in 1/4 cup warm water. Rub the beaks around the eyes and under the chin of the sicker birds to help them breathe with the mixture. I also give the sicker birds separately 3 drops of Poly Vi Sol baby vitamins without Iron before I rub them downtwith the Vet RX. This really does help them breathe of they are having trouble breathing. I found that if I lift their little chins up their beaks will open automaticically and they really like a little of the antibiotic water down their throats after I give them the vitamins to wash it down. ( I use the same dropper from the vitamins, fill it with water and squirt it down their throat).

    Lunch: I mix up 3 cups quick cooking oats with 6 cups of water.( No salt) I cook it for 2-3 minutes on the stove until it gets a little thick. I divide the warm oatmeal among two large pie pans.

    Add to each pie pan of oatmeal:

    One full dropper of Poly Vi Sol ,1/4 tea of the same antibiotic dissolved first in a little warm water, and 2 teaspoons of any electrolyte powder suited for hens- also dissolved first in a little warm water. I am using a product called Bounce Back by Manna Pro from tractor supply. My vet said this mix makes sure the weaker ones get plenty of the antibiotic and keeps the stronger ones strong.

    All the hens absolutely love the oatmeal mix and it is putting weight back on the weaker ones and I know they are all getting their electrolytes and their vitamins! This is a double guarantee that the hens are getting plenty of the antibiotic, especially the ones that dont drink much.

    In between I will nurse the sicker ones through the day with the VET RX so they breathe more freely when I have a few extra minutes during the day. They also are offered their regular organic layer feed and cracked corn as their normal feed also, during the day.

    REMEMBER ABSOLUTELY NO MILK, Yogurt or MILK RELATED PRODUCTS with any of the cycline/myacin drugs..it will make them even sicker!


    I Practice very good biosecurity during this tough time and keep the hen house very clean. I rake mine out every day and do not keep straw on the flloor even though it is cold. I do keep heat lamps on the hens at night to keep them warm since we are very cold here in NW GA now. I wear rubber medical gloves and change them each time I go in and out. I wash my outer jacket every other day. I have one pr of boots only for the chickens since I also have other farm animals. I also wear a Japanese allergy mask each time I am handling a sick chicken. You can find these on ebay and they are wonderful since they are soft and hook behind your ears. I use them regularly for allergies as well.

    For now, I am hoping Mama Brahma's closed eye will open as she heals. She has totally stopped coughing and wheezing, only has her eye still swollen shut. She may loose her eye but, I cannot figure out why. Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. I am continuing to rub her eye with terramyacin every day with hopes that as she heals, her eye will also improve. No other eye problems with the other hens.

    I am planning on worming them all with wazine at the end of the 14 day period since I am unable to sell their eggs anyway. After two days of wazine in the water, I will put them on a yogurt and oatmeal diet with electrolytes to get them strong again along with their regular feed and will wait 14 more days after their diet resumes normally before i start to sell and eat their eggs. I am hoping the probiotics from the Yogurt will help their digestive system get back to normal.

    I do have a few more question if someone would be kind enough to help me with these.

    I was wondering if I should I wait longer than the 14 days after treatment to begin to eat their eggs again?

    Should I also d-lice the hens for safety and security since I brought in new hens that obviously brought in the virus? I'm concerned what else they have brought in. I am not sure I have lice but, I also am not sure I would know what to look for. Most of the hens have lost feathers on the neck but, I think that is due to the virus they have. How would I know if they have lice? They have been scratching around their beaks but I think that is due to the runny noses. I haven't seen anything crawling around on them but, can you see lice?

    I have also been told that adding a teaspoon of natural apple cider vinegar in the water each day works as well as any regularly administered antibiotic in keeping your chickens healthy. Does anyone out there do this on a regular basis? Does it work well?

    I guess I have been lucky that over the past 6 years, this is the first time Ive had issues with my hens. I sure do miss their eggs and cant wait for them to be healthy again.

    Thank you all for your advice and support! [​IMG]

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