Lingering Illness and sick bay


May 6, 2020
From what I gather everyone appreciates a detailed thorough post here, so sit back.

Backyard Flock: 6 hens (2 Barnyard red coming up on a year came to me in spring from less than ideal conditions), one Black Australorp and one Golden Laced Wyandotte- both born first of July acquired as chicks from feed supply, 2 Barnevelders about 5-6months old acquired from reputable breeder last month

Feed: all flock pellets, oystershell and egg shells available, scratch and meal worm treats

Housing: raised coop 24 sq ft loads of ventilation, sand floor, (2) four ft roosts

They have a third of back yard as free range run, large wild grape vine grows up and around towering trees covering half the area (It is very cool feature named the ”fairy tree” by my daughter. The coop and feeders plus multiple stump tables and stump chairs fit underneath probably about 200 sq ft. The ground cover outside the fairy tree is wood chips, there are bushes along side house and then the canoe under tarp. The picture shows time during installation of fence to separate Henlandia from rest of backyard.

Health history: my first chickens came to me with issues and one tested positive for IB, they all recovered. I vaccinated chicks. I did not vaccinate barnevelders, at the time I didn’t have set up for full isolation and no one was exhibiting symptoms. A month ago one of my original hens passed, sent body for necropsy came back general respiratory failure (which I already knew, she was gasping and had death rattle during last moments but had been fine an hour before it was very sudden onset)

2 weeks ago one of the barnies also started showing some respiratory disease I did not immediately isolate because it is small flock and exposure is a given. I treated for 4 days with vetrx every night and added electrolytes to water. The barnies are still a little skittish so as long as she kept scooting away eating and drinking I figured I would try wait and see, but then one week ago she became more lethargic and breathing was clearly labored.

I moved her to sick bay set up in garage to be able to control temperature better and more monitoring. Well now we are stuck in holding pattern. She eats and drinks well enough (gobbles the daily cooked egg), she moves about fine, though most of the time just stays in one spot for long time, her poop is pretty watery. But she can’t shake the sneezing and other respiratory symptoms fully. Sometimes the symptoms seem to be lessening but the day I hear more congestion again. I do Vetrx in evening. When I did my initial vet consult for reds and IB was identified antibiotics were not appropriate because it is a virus.

Question: What are my next steps? How long would an illness like this be expected to last? Should I be concerned about her being socially isolated for extended period?

Complication: My husband works in health care and has COVID symptoms so our household is under quarantine until 12/13 so while I would generally just pop over to avian vet I love that isn’t an option right now.

I hope I included all the info needed.


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