IC worried/scared bad smelling nasal discharge


8 Years
Apr 24, 2011
Nolanville TX
I am concerned about a few chickens I swapped. I normally keep new chooks in quarantine -mostly to allow them to acclimate to the new home and to avoid them getting picked on. I traded 3 , and noticed hard thick bulb like bases to their feathers around the neck-I found out they had both mites and lice -that alone i can deal with. But once i snuggled with one I noticed a really bad smell coming from her head. it was then I noticed the whitish thick crusty film on the nostrils. I was able to express more bad smelling fluid from it. I am worried about IC. the chooks were in their own wire/wood cage, but most of ours are free range so many came to check out the new guys. they stayed there for about 24 hours, I have since sent them back to the owner asking her to watch them, and I know I dont want my others back ....I am a biologist, but not a microbiologist-so I cant do a gram stain and raise it in the specific medium, so other than changing clothes and bleaching the cages/area/bowls they were in I am unsure as what else to do.
I am aware that I can be prone to obsessive worring but i would hate to loose 20-50% and then not be able to take on/breed more w/o continuing the cycle. having read of treatment methods involving controlled exposure, how really contagious is it - on a scale of 1 touch you're dead to needing the equivalent of a horse sneeze to take effect?

I know that the bad smell is a result of infection- what else out there could also be suspect for this condition? they had appetites, but i don't have any idea how long they were in this condition. They were sneezing, but did not have the puffy eyes. earlier in the year I got two from her and they had none the above problems.
Hi paris,

Hopefully you aren't facing IC.

I spoke with a vet who told me that the awful odor can come from other causes. But a few months earlier, I spoke with a vet who said that was the sign of IC. I went to Merck manual because I remembered that the incubation period was very short -- here is a quote:

Epidemiology and Transmission:
Chronically ill or healthy carrier birds are the reservoir of infection. Chickens of all ages are susceptible, but susceptibility increases with age. The incubation period is 1-3 days, and the disease duration is usually 2-3 wk. Under field conditions, the duration may be longer in the presence of concurrent diseases, eg, mycoplasmosis.

so you should know in a couple of days if there is going to be a problem.

The vet I spoke with who told me there are other poultry promblems that can cause the stinking breath also told me that there is no recent research on IC.

Just as an example--I had a chicken with eyeworm, the earliest research said that the only cure was eye surgery on the chicken. Subsequently, and now there is the ability to flush the worm out with saline solution, and the product VetRx contains a cure and a method to apply. And even after that I found specially made eye drops that are cure with 2-drops once a month and prevention with 1-drop once a month. My point is the drastic difference from the earliest-known cure.

Hopefully you don't have to deal with IC in any of your birds, and since you are a biologist you will certainly know the best procedures for their well being and sources for researching. Wishing you luck and healthy chickens.
Most likely it is coryza. I wouldve culled the birds before sending them back to the owner, she might infect the rest of her flock, who knows. As for your flock, if symptoms appear you can treat them with sulmet. Your other option is to cull.
ChicKat. There is an easier way to treat eyeworm. Mix equal parts of valbazen and water and flush the eyes. Then dose the infected chicken with 1/2cc valbazen orally. Repeat in 10 days.
Hello my son found a pullet in the street in downtown flushing put it the coop with the other girls without telling me guess what happen she was sick I told him about not putting anything he finds without showing me first well it had coryza everyone got it I used LS -50 on them and it work no more coryza the good thing about it LS-50 has no withdroawaltime bad thing they are all carriers of it
Hey Dawg, how're you doing?
The reason that I used the eye worm example was to show that years ago they only knew DRASTIC cures like surgery. Now there are much easier cures.
My little chicken is long since cured of eye-worm, and now that I put a drop in the eyes of each of my hens once-a-month, I know that no others will get it and she won't get it again. It is a substance that is not approved for meat birds in the USA, but since I am interested in layers, it works so well for my needs. There is no egg withdrawal at all.

So, I don't think that valbazen and water would be an easier treatment, especially since I don't have valbazine. :O) But thanks any way for the info. It may have been easier if I had found it before I found oxy-rid, but I am pretty sure that the VetRx physically washed away the worms that were left after saline...but this is about IC. ETA: sorry I didn't express the concept more clearly that chicken healing/medication times have changed.

paris, hope that you find a way to get a definite answer. I have heard about people who did depopulate birds and then later (much later) found out that the birds may not have had what they depopulated for.

roachman, hopefully it was a good lesson learned for your son. What is LS-50? I take it you didn't loose any birds to coryza from your post. Last how do you know for certain that they are all carriers? I have also heard that only some birds could be either cronic (constantly recurring) or carriers i.e. able to infect other birds. it is good that you have the awareness and that you take it as seriously as it is. If your chickens are for eggs, I hear that there is no vertical transmission, but I have also read in a post here somewhere that birds can be cured and not be carriers. And I am wondering if enough is really even known about the differences to be certain, and how a person could be sure.

For people who don't show, sell, breed or exchange birds with others, it is different that for showers, sellers, breeders.

All the information I have seen on IC leaves some gaps IMO, and since it is 'kill them all' in commercial operations, I don't think that after care research is by any means complete. I would be so interested if someone on this forum who had a confirmed case of IC, that had it treated with the new meds that are available now had ever had some later test (is there a blood test?, or could a mucus test be given to a cured chicken to check for that pathogen?) to see if a bird truly could be cured. So curious....and something that will never be funded I imagine.
Last edited:
Here's a link regarding coryza: Scroll down.
Since this disease is viral, antibiotics might temporarily treat symptoms, but wont cure it. It is highly contageous and birds can remain carriers. I wouldnt bother treating my birds if they had it, I would cull in a heartbeat.
Last edited:
Culling is not an option with these kids. When Hope's 3 year old rooster died about a month back she cried for hours holding his dead body and denying his death and claiming 'he's just asleep'. It was a good 4 hours before she would admit the blue, smelly rooster was dead. We are very attached to them, most have names, most are allowed in the house on occasion and some even have slept in our beds or gone with us for rides in the car.
I am keeping a close eye on the 3 that I think may have come into contact via cage wire. I am hoping 2 weeks close watching will be enough to be sure.
You need to realize that if it's Coryza, and it does sound like it is, the bird will remain a carrier if it survives and the rest will have Coryza as well if they come in contact with it. You'll always have to be vigilant that you don't take the germs with you to someone else's flock or feed store via your clothes, shoes or person. It's not a fun way to have to live, I'm sure.
yes, i realize that if it turns out to be IC then we can no longer have dreams of breeding show chickens, will have to stop 4H and do no breeding for the next 10 years. We will have to let all of them die of old age before we can start again.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom