Infectious bronchitis?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 7, 2014
Several days ago one of my hens started laying funky shaped eggs -- flat on one side, rippled on the surface, etc. She just started laying a few weeks ago so I figured it was part of the process. Yesterday I noticed a little discharge coming out of her eye, like a tear. I looked both symptoms up and several sites suggest infectious bronchitis as a probable cause. I have not heard any sneezing or coughing from the chickens.

My question: the illness is viral and therefore not treated with antibiotics, but some sites say to administer antibiotics anyway to deal with any secondary infections. Others suggest vaccinating the chickens once any sign of illness is cleared up.

I have a bottle of Tylan Soluble, and today a bottle of infectious bronchitis vaccine is set to arrive. Any thoughts on next steps? Would it hurt to do five days of preventative antibiotics? If it is IB, let it run it's course and then administer the vaccine?

FYI, her egg yesterday was perfect.

Thanks all.
What vaccine did you get, and is it one that is known to be effective against the strain of IB in your area? I am not an expert in IB but from what I understand, strains can be localized. Be aware that if you are using a live vaccine that your chickens will be carriers of IB and can spread it to non-infected/non-vaccinated birds. Also, if they do not have IB, the vaccine may induce some symptoms of the virus in them. I am not clear if the vaccine is useful or if it is harmful in birds that have already been exposed. You should investigate this-- if one or more birds are experiencing symptoms of an illness, it is not advised to use live vaccines, since a live vaccine contains live virus and they need a healthy immune system to develop immunity.

Many states do offer testing illness, if you want to try and pinpoint what you have going on. It might be worth contacting your state's poultry extension to ask if they do (if you live in the states).

There are several reasons for funky shaped eggs. IB is indeed one of them, but not the only one.

The risk in running a course of antibiotic treatment in your birds when you are unsure if there is a good reason is that it runs the risk of making such treatments less effective in the future if you do have to treat with antibiotics again. It's up to you, really. You will need to discard the eggs during the withdrawl period.

IB vaccination should not be taken lightly, make sure you research the pros and cons before administering the vaccine.
You should definitely hear sneezing with infectious bronchitis. Wrinkled eggs are more commonly seen with IB, but flat sided eggs also can be seen. I would also use caution with vaccination, especially since several weeks need to go by between vaccination and immunity, plus it has to be done periodically depending on the vaccine. During your time with chickens, you will see all sorts of funny looking eggs--at least I have--and many are due to defective shell glands or other problems. Here is a good link to read about the common egg quality problems, and also one about vaccines:

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