MG or something else?


Nov 20, 2018
I have an Americana that is roughly 6 months old. The other evening I noticed her eyes were runny and bubbling and that she was kind of "gurgling." I immediately separated her from the rest of the flock while trying to identify what it was. Her symptoms seemed to match that of MG. It was late already so nowhere was open for me to go get the recommended meds. I went to check on her the next morning and she seemed to have cleared up for the most part. I'm confused because, although from my research it seems chickens can bounce back from MG, it didn't sound like something that would clear that fast. I'm still keeping her in QT and have been putting Poultry RX in her water and on her beak area every night. I'm a marine biologist and normally with fish we tend to shy away from treating things when a diagnosis is not certain as the wrong med can cause more stress. I know this is a chicken, but it still seems logical to me not to pump a med into something on a hunch. Especially if the animal is doing better. She is eating and drinking just fine. She doesn't seem lethargic. It's been 3 days and now her sister (literally the other Americana chick I bought with her) now is showing the same symptoms but less severe. So I'm thinking maybe they were carriers from the get go. Thus far other than the other Americana no one else in my flock seems to be having any issues.

As a note it was literally raining for weeks on end where I am at in Texas. Then the mosquito's were just all out terrible until a cold snap came. I know all these combined have just been the perfect storm of stressors. The mosquito's have also caused a minor outbreak of fowl pox but from understanding this should just clear up on it's own. So I'm sure all this stress could have just caused a few to have weakened immune systems.

I'm kind of bummed that it could be MG as I wanted to kind of play around with breeding but that means I can no longer sell any chicks. I just don't have it in me to cull a flock. I'm far too attached unfortunately. I also realize the only for sure way of knowing is to take her to a vet which I plan on doing after the holiday. But I just wanted to get some others opinions. It was my understanding that Deneguard was needed to usually help the chicken get over it. So my question is: Is this normal for MG to clear up overnight or is it maybe something less severe?
You are fortunate that your background is helpful in making you much more informed than average. MG is very common so if the symptoms you observed in your hen were from a respiratory disease, MG would be a pretty safe guess. If your hen has a strong immune system, I would think that could shorten the length of her symptoms, just as some people can kick a cold faster than others.

If you want to know for sure if this hen is harboring the disease, you can contact this outfit and have them run a test for MG.
You know, the reason I found this is because I want to understand something. What I am wondering about is how many people buy and sell chicks/chickens with MG or MS since it is so common because I was just on Facebook scrolling through one of those chicken groups and it's amazing how many people are buying/selling and swapping birds. I actually finally bought 5 chicks from there several months back that ended up having MG. Who knows now if my flock are carriers. I just hate to not be able to help out someone else and provide that RIR rooster that someone is looking for when I have too many or buy other chickens when needed without worry that they will have this. It's very frustrating.
I completely agree. It's all too common that folks swap chickens among friends and buy them off Craig's List or pick them up at chicken swap meets. That's how a lot of these avian viruses are spread. Observing quarantine when bringing home new chickens is not an effective way to protect flocks from these viruses because chickens can be carriers and never display symptoms.

I have one of these viruses in my flock. It could have come in with the first three chicks I bought off Craig's List. Or it could have come in when some friends went together with me to get some chicks and we ended up with each other's chicks before we figured out what happened. Or it could have come in when I adopted the first two adult hens that I began my flock with.

Or I could have brought it home myself on the soles of my shoes after visiting a feed store and neglected to change my shoes before going out to see to my chickens after I returned home. This all happened early in my chicken keeping before I joined BYC.

The trouble is, unless a chicken keeper keeps strict biosecurity practices, these viruses are so common that they are everywhere, including many flocks where the people have no idea the virus is present. Ignorance of another kind also prevails. MG is so common and the symptoms are treatable in most cases so folks have the mistaken notion it's no more serious than the common cold, so they don't get it that their chickens will carry it for life to pass on to other chickens.

We try to do the best we can here on BYC to educate and warn people about these viruses and how to manage them safely if they happen to infect their flock. Every voice helps, including yours. Thank you.
Thank you. I just wish I knew if my flock has it or not for sure. Those chicks were in a pen inside my big pen for about a week before they started showing symptoms at which time I immediately removed them but I didn't realize how easy it is to spread at that time. My adult birds seem fine but who knows.

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