I bought 4 two month old hens at the local chicken swap/sell yesterday and need your input...are the


8 Years
Let me preface this by saying that we are new to having chickens and are basically learning as we go (thanks, esp to all of you great folks here). About 6 months ago, a friend gave us 8 five days old chicks so we put together a brooder and started to work building a coop for them. Several weeks later we discovered that 3 of them were roosters. We gave one roo away to a friend, then sold another at the local chicken swap yesterday. Our 5 hens have all recently started laying and are sooo lovely and sweet...and CLEAN and we just love them to pieces! :) My husband had always shot down the idea of us keeping chickens because he said they'd smell, but when this opportunity came along, he surprised us all when he decided to give them the benefit of doubt...so YAY... we got our chickens. I clean their coop every morning, removing the previous night's poop, and raking our their dirt bath area every week as well as their run because I never want to hear him say, "I told you so!". So anyway, that's the backstory :) :)

So, as I mentioned, we sold our lovely Roo yesterday at the swap (which is held monthly at a local feed store), and it was heartbreaking to let him go but our hens were terribly outnumbered and we really only needed one. So Charlie Harper had to go, and Romeo got to stay with his girls. When we arrived at the sale, someone snatched him up before we could even get set up, so we didn't really have a chance to get use to the idea of him leaving us...daughter (13) and I both started crying. To cheer us up, we decided that since we were there and seeing all sorts of lovely hens, we'd go ahead and add to our small flock. We looked around and ended up buying a 2 month old Delaware, a 2 month old Andalusian Splash from one guy, and then 2 two month old Marans (one a Blue Copper, the other a Black Copper) from another guy and headed back to our car.

When we got in the car and the windows were up, we quickly noticed that they STUNK to high heaven! The minute we got home, we got on the forums and read how to wash a chicken and promptly cleaned them up. My daughter noticed when she was washing the little Blue Copper Maran, that her nose was a little 'boogery' (her words :) and she rinse/scratched it off. Might have been dirt or poop, I was thinking. Anyway, we washed them (bobbing up and down gently with their heads out of the water) in a tub of warm water with Adams flea and tick (just in case they were buggy), and then rinsed them in another tub of warm water with a bit of vinegar, then patted dry with a towel. We even scrubbed their feet with a soft toothbrush. So I was VERY surprised when I went out to check on their food and water a few hours later, and noticed that they were STILL smelly!

I posted on the local chicken swap forum, asking for advice about perhaps what to wash them with to get rid of the smell...thinking that it was because maybe they'd been kept closely confined and in a dirty coop, but a couple of women said they think one or more of them are probably sick and that I should quarantee them. Well, we had already kept them separate because they are younger than our established flock and I wanted everyone to have a chance to get use to each other first. We had purchased a large wire kennel on the way home, put food/water and a roost in it, and they've been in that since then, but INSIDE the other chickens' run. I also let them 'free range' inside the run for a couple of hours today while the other chickens were free ranging out in our yard.

Sooo....do you think one or more are sick?? Someone mentioned coryza? What should I DO? Is it already too late to protect the ones that might NOT be sick (if any are), and how about the rest of my birds? I couldnt' wait until tomorrow so I just went out there and got the little Marans out of the crate and put them in a separate kennel. I smelled them and it does seem like the smell is coming from their head area and not their body and I do notice a very slight, clear discharge from their nostrils. The other two hens (which were from a different person) seems fine. But are they?If the Marans DO have coryza or something else, have the Delaware and Andalusian hens already been contaminated by being in the same crate since the sale yesterday? Oy, what should I do folks? OH, and do I need to muck out the run tomorrow where they had run around in a bit ....and oh my, I hope the rest of the flock hasn't been contaminated, too. I don't think I'm going to sleep tonight :(

h e l p !


In the Brooder
9 Years
Nov 1, 2010
I am sure this is not the only suggestion that you will get but here goes. I have learned the hard way not to buy chickens at any thing like a swap meet, don't buy chickens from anyone unless you really know them, their place, their birds. Just don't. I bought some very nice barred rocks that were beautiful, expernsive, from an established breeder. Wrong, they were sick, started dying, had several of the respiratory diseases. Had to cull what did not die, I just can't have sick birds, Even if they live they are carriers, I don't believe in eating sick animals, or medicated animals, It is not good practice. It is hard and expensive. I bought chicks from an established feed store that I have bought chicks from for maybe 30 years, from a reputable hatchery, Sick, they started dylng and over the weekend half of them died and I could hear the others sniffing. The feed store reimbursed me without any questions because they lost 500 over the weekend. But they would not take back the sick ones, I had to do it, Ugh! Not good.
Buy your chicks from a reputable store and hatchery. Raise them and don't bring in any more birds! When you replace them if you must get the same.
A veterinarian told me many years ago when I took in a milk goat from the sale with pink eye. Ooh She reamed me out! You never buy a food animal from an auction or sale. Never! You buy healthy animals, nothing in and nothing out, If they go out to a show they do not come back. Not ever.
You can do it, but your must be careful and don't deviate. Cull, do it quickly, take your losses and learn from your mistakes.


7 Years
May 14, 2012
Hertfordshire England
Hi, I'm new to chickens my self but have searched this site for various things and found good info and advice, I have seen somewhere on here advice about coryza and my suggestion would be to put it in the search bar for this site. Good luck


Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
Remove all the birds from the swap and quarantine them. I would cull the whole lot of new birds because chances are good that they are all infected, but if you don't have the heart to do that I would at least cull the affected birds and wait on the "healthy" birds until they start showing signs of illness. You are going to need to thoroughly clean the area where they were while also keeping your older flock out of there. Once it is clean then I would spray it down with Oxine or bleach. Once dry the area should be safe.

Then comes the waiting game. Monitor your birds closely for signs of illness. If the flock continues to be healthy after 2 weeks then you probably managed to dodge a bullet. If not, you will need to make some hard decisions.

NEVER buy birds from a swap. Period. I won't even go to a swap for fear of carrying something home on my shoes.

Good luck.


Veggie Chick
12 Years
Mar 22, 2010
Saratoga County, NY
Is there no way to nurse them back to health?
Sure there is.. but the problem is that these diseases stick around and the birds become permanent carriers. Then any new chickens you get will get sick.. And any chickens you sell with get others sick. Not only that, the disease will pop up again in the chickens you 'cured' whenever they get stressed.


8 Years
Thought I'd update y'all on what has happened since I posted this. I have a neighbor down the road who has been raising chickens for more than 50 years, so I stopped by to ask his advice and he jumped in his truck and came on over to examine the chickens for me. He showed me how to hold their heads back with your thumb right under their beaks and with that slight pressure, if it's coryza, you'll usually see clear liquid bubbling up through their nostrils and also sometimes even in their eyes. Also, even if you don't see it bubbling, you'll see clear liquid and for sure, you can just hold their heads near and SMELL them. He said once you smell the smell from coryza (which he says he calls the roup or something like that?), you will NEVER forget it and ALWAYS be able to immediately identify it if you ever come across it again.

He quickly confirmed that not only the 2 marans had it, but also the little andulusian, who he said was also boney and wormy and it was probably because of her weakened immune system that she contracted it so quickly. He said the only thing to do was the kill them. I sure couldn't do that, and I was crying just thinking about their impending deaths...but I knew it had to be done. Thankfully Rooster (my neighbor's name) took care of that for me, and then put them on the burn pile and cremated them.

I spent the rest of the day completely cleaning *everything and then spraying everything down with bleach. I put some sulmet in their water as a preventative. I set up the little Delaware separately on the other side of our property so she could be in quarantine from the other chickens. The big knews about her is that "she" is actually a HE. He was cockle-doodling-doing bright and early this morning!! And this is the one that when the guy sold 'her' to me, he said SHE was already laying eggs! Remember, the only reason we went to the swap in the first place was to get RID of an one-to-many ROO!!!

But, I am happy to report that with regard to the coryza, so far, so good. All my original flock is stil healthy as is the new little roo, Delilah.
Guess we're gonna have to come up with a new name for him now

I find these emoticons so danged entertaining


Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
Wow. You sure are lucky you have such a good neighbor. You owe him dinner.

This is why I never go to swaps. Too many unethical people are trying to dump problem birds onto an unsuspecting new owner. You have heard the saying "You get what you pay for"...the same holds true for these swaps.

Sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way, but it could have been even worse. Good luck.

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