labored breathing 20 week pullet


7 Years
Nov 10, 2012
Hello -
we are new chicken owners and have a lot to learn :) we started with 6 barred rocks and one bantum and raised from eight weeks old. they are now about twenty weeks old. about two weeks ago we added three bantums (cockerl and two pullets) to the flock (retrospect a mistake due to social issues). last weekend one of the new bantums died sometime durning the night in the coop - wondering if she was diseased?
anyway, questions: one of our original pullets breathing sounds like she's gurgling or congested and one eye is closed. our original bantum is acting lethargic.

we have never given them any types of medicine or shots. not even sure who administers shots(a vet?)

any info is much appreciated!!
Beth in KY
It could be pneamonia.... I would get them in the house or under a heat lamp fast to keep them warm. You can also give warm water with mint in it (mint helps with breathing) could also be a fungus in the respiratory system... Try crushing a clove of garlic in their water. I would also suggest going to the pet store and seeing if they have electrolyte packets. They could just have a viral cold... It is that season.

Best of luck

Unfortunately one of your new birds just might have brought along some nasty respiratory bug to your coop. The problem with that is that chickens don't get just colds like humans do, the respiratory diseases they get are nasty and highly contagious. They can be transmitted from nearby flocks or carried in by wild birds as well. And once they've contracted a respiratory disease they usually remain carriers, infecting new birds they come in contact with.

That said, you can treat the symptoms, they often recover depending on what they have, but again, they will likely remain carriers. They often need antibiotic's to prevent secondary infection while they are sick, they also often develop pneumonia. They need to be kept warm, especially at night until they are improved.

They can be vaccinated for several things including Newcastle Disease, Infectious Bronchitis, Merek's, etc. etc. the list goes on. Some of these are injected and some are a drop that you put in the nose or eye, sometimes in the drinking water for very large flocks.

You can do a Google search of poultry respiratory diseases to get an idea of what's out there. A vet can do tests to determine what they have, that gets pricey quick, state labs can test as well or do necropsy if one dies. It does help if you know what you are dealing with.

Good luck. We've been down that road here too.

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