Looking for non-antibiotic ways to treat respiratory infections

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chookalina, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. chookalina

    chookalina Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2012
    Hello all!

    I found one of our hens mouth breathing and really rasping when she took a breath. We isolated her, took her to the vet (OUCH! $$$) and he put her on Baytril, and very expensive and hopefully useful antibiotic. I thought she had pneumonia, but he feels it is much higher up, in her throat. We have until this point remained antibiotic free for obvious reasons (we don't want eggs or meat full of antibiotic resistant bacteria). However in this case I did feel it was in the hen's best interest. If she makes it through tonight, and there is some improvement tomorrow I will be much relieved. I am keeping her segregated until she is better. She is eating and drinking.
    I did get a large enough amount of Baytril to treat one more chook, just in case.
    And in the meantime, we cleaned and sterilized all the waters and feeders, and added 4 tsp per gallon cider vinegar to the water for the chooks back in the coop. During the say they are completely free range (live on a 1000 acre ranch), but at night we lock them in the enclosure that leads into the coop for security.
    I am going to put raw garlic in the coop tomorrow for them to free choice. The garlic and cider vinegar I got from a site called Garden Tenders, under the section about raising chickens naturally.
    I would really appreciate any advice about daily preventative things we can do for our chooks (we have 16 hens, 2 roos), we prefer to remain as antibiotic free as we can, but will take it case by case. This is the first really sick girl we have had.
    Tomorrow I will treat the enclosure area with lime, after raking up while they are out ranging about.
    I read in one thread about cinnamon oil. I will go looking for some tomorrow as well. But how do I administer it? In the water? And at what ratio?

    Thanks to all in advance for your thoughts and advice... we are still warm and mushy in our part of the Rockies!

    Stephanie
     
  2. chookalina

    chookalina Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2012
    Has anyone had a similar experience?
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Yes I have been down the respiratory disease road. It isn't pretty. The problem with many of the respiratory diseases chickens get is that they easily morph into secondary bacterial infections and pneumonia. That's why antibiotic's are in order. Baytril is what my vet prescribed when we had an outbreak of Infectious Bronchitis and my rooster got pnuemonia. It works very well. I know of nothing non-antibiotic that will have the same effect. Once they get a bacterial infection and/or pneumonia you really do need something to knock it down quick or your going to loose the bird and fast.

    Just be aware that most if not all of the birds in your flock are highly likely to come down with whatever this is. Avian respiratory diseases are highly contagious and they are so before you see signs. So, unfortunately, isolating the birds once they are showing signs is a little like closing the barn door after the horse is already out. When we had our outbreak my vet sent me home with enough meds to treat everybody in the flock and sure enough, even though I had pulled my rooster out and isolated him at the first sign, one by one they all came down with it.

    And a happy little side note is that with most respiratory diseases they will remain carriers even after they are well, with the potential to always infect new birds. With that in mind it's helpful if you can get a diagnosis so that you can vaccinate any new birds or chicks you get in the future.

    You might look into Oxine AH for sterilizing feeders/water's and it can also be used to fog the coop, with the birds in there. It is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Just make sure to use it as it is, do NOT use the citrus activator. It is then not safe for the birds to breath. I swear by the stuff and I really think it helps slow the spread of the nasties.

    Best of luck with your birds.
     
  4. Subscribing to this thread! :D
     
  5. chookalina

    chookalina Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2012
    Well, despite the Baytril and my best efforts, Mary the hen did not make it. I was quite sad, even held her in my arms at the end and told her if it hurt too much it was ok to go, and she took two more shuddering breaths and was gone.
    Of course, she also pooped on my when she died.
    I was sad, but I had been dosing the rest of my flock with cider vinegar in their water (hey, why are you not supposed to use a metal waterer for that? I understand the vinegar would react with the metal, but what are the effects on the chooks?) and lots of raw garlic all minced up every few days, which they gobble quickly. So far no more sick chooks.
    While I realize cinnamon oil is more pure and potent, I have been cooking up their morning feed a couple times a week with organic cinnamon powder as well.
    I think giving them those extra few bits to help boost their immune system has helped... or I am just lucky! ;)
    Either way, they love it.
    I am going to keep looking and researching, but not sure I will go the antibiotic route again. In all honesty, it was the hen's suffering that bothered me more than the cost. I would never want to just end a life willy nilly, but had I known she was not going to make it and be that ill for a week, I think I would have preferred to end her suffering quickly.
    At least when she died, she was being held and stroked. It might not have registered to her, but it made me feel a little better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  6. chookalina

    chookalina Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2012
    Thanks very much!
     

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