Nasal discharge, wheezing and sneezing/coughing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ZooMummzy, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I have been reading for days now all the posts I can find on here and other sites regarding these symptoms. The cures and causes are so varied that I'm not sure what to do or if there is anything I should do, but as a worried chicken Mommy, I had to ask again.

    On and off for about 6 weeks now, a case of the "sniffles" has been running through my flock. It came on about the same time as everyone started molting. This was also about the same time the heavy rain and humidity started here in the Pacific NW. The run was a mud bog, they were always wet and they spent more time in the coop. Now we have really artic air and it's very dry - the opposite extreme. Despite the bad weather, I do leave the coop open to cut down the chicken dust, I keep it very clean and I feed high quality pellets, crumbles and chick feed (have some younger pullets in the group), along with oyster shells, scratch and treats such as yogurt, greens, etc. I also keep Avia Charge in their water along with ACV. The chickens range in age from 18 months down to 4 months. A couple of the chickens have had bubbly eyes, which terramyicin ointment cured quickly. Most have had a sneeze or cough (can't tell exactly what it is) for a couple weeks before it goes away; a couple have had the wheezing breathing for a few days and a few have had clear nasal discharge. It does not crust over their beaks at all so that hasn't been a problem. The latest is a 6 month old black silkie with slight discharge and wheezing tonight. I was out in the coop checking on them since it's in the teens here right now, and she was "rattling". She was eating though and running around so I left her out with the others. I have heat lamps on for them tonight. It seems to run its course in the matter of a week or two and then another one will come down with it. It does not affect their appetite or drinking at all, their droppings look normal and they are all active and normal.

    I don't have an aversion to giving them antibiotics but it sounds like they are not the cure all for these situations? The only "exotic vet" (their term, not mine) in our area, knows less than I do about chickens so taking one to the vet is not an option. She actually calls me when she has a chicken come in, lol. So, is there anything I'm overlooking here in treating or caring for my girls? I don't know how to cut down on the dust anymore than I have that they create in the coop, which I thought might be causing them problems. I use white shavings and really cannot switch to anything else. I don't like straw - had too many problems with that and sand is too heavy for my coop floor. Wood pellets are just as dusty after a few days. We have ventilation near the roof and are putting a few more in once the weather warms up next week. I haven't lost a chicken and none of them even seem close to that, but they are still sick with something.

    Should I just treat with antibiotics and see what happens...if so, which one.....or is there some other natural treatment I can be trying to help them through this winter sniffle fest? Any ideas or suggestions would be welcome at this point since I'm not really sure what to do to help my girls.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009

  2. triplejfarm

    triplejfarm In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009
    I am just wondering if you figured anything out...I have the exact same issue...and need to know what type of antibiotic to get for the girls...
  3. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Quote:No, actually I didn't. My decided course of action was to do nothing at all and see how it turns out. Since none of them were acting like they were on death's door, I am just letting it run its course. I still treat one for bubbly eyes but she has always had this problem. Still lots of sneezing/coughing/wheezing but still acting very ok.

    Good luck and I hope yours turns out ok too!
  4. dlolato

    dlolato In the Brooder

    Oct 6, 2009
    We have just gone through a wide variety of illness in our flock which we never had experienced in the last several years. One of our hens showed no signs of illness and then the same evening she was huddled in the corner. When I went to pick her up she had heavy, labored breathing and began sneezing and wheezing. I brought her in the house and the next day took her to an Avian vet. He gave her an immediate dose of Baytril orally and then prescribed a bottle for us to administer to the rest of the flock. He said with this type of respiratory disease, the whole flock will eventually have it. You add it to the water and the suggested treatment period is for five days.

    Before she got the treatment, I thought for sure she would die. Within two hours, there was a dramatic improvement. I have had her in the house for two days and will not put her back with the rest of the flock until Friday. She is now drinking and eating lightly. The Vet said it would take approximately three to four days for a complete recovery.

    BEST OF LUCK........I know how hard this is to go through!!!!
  5. Orpstralope

    Orpstralope XL College Raised Eggs

    Oct 11, 2009
    I just recently had a very similar epidemic come through my flock. Some were sneezing constantly, rattling, wheezing, coughing, and one had a single bloody poo. I got in touch with Dr. Peter Brown through some GFM members on this website. Here is his website:

    He's very good at what he does. I never figured out what my flock had, but a 5 day SulfaMet treatment, some Oxytet343, and some Gallemycin powder cleared it up and they are much happier. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to name drop, but he does have his own website and is willing to help about anyone. I haven't even met him and he cured my flock from either Coryza, Cocci, or MG.

  6. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Thank you everyone for all this information! I will definitely start inquiring and see if there is something I can do for my sneezy flock. As I said, mine haven't been really, really ill so I haven't pursued strongly any medication. You get such mixed information depending on the person you ask about these types of symptoms, so I really did not know which way to turn.

    Things are getting better here but I will still hear the occasional sniffle or cough. No bloody poo and no real discharge other than my hen with the bubbly eye.

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