Need help ASAP! Extreme cold, sick chickens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cjones132, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. cjones132

    cjones132 New Egg

    Feb 9, 2017
    Ontario, Canada
    Hey guys,

    I live in southern Ontario and have a flock of 5 layers. Recently we have had a few cold days (-15C to -20C with windchill). A few days ago I noticed one of the girls starting to sneeze and wheeze a little bit. The next day was worse so I gave her some bread soaked in olive oil as I read that has fixed a lot of birds with this issue. The next day was a warmer and sunny and she was back to her regular self again even trying to talk to me. The temperature has dropped again and the sneezing and wheezing has returned. Noticed one of the other hens sneeze a few times as well when I was out spending some time with them yesterday. All birds continue to eat and drink with no issues. I do not have a heat lamp in the coop as I've heard a lot of recommendations not to. I can tell they are not particularly happy on these cold days though. So I guess my question is what is my next step? Do I wait a few days for warmer weather again to see if any improvement or should I be giving them any medication?
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You are likely dealing with a respiratory virus. These infect a flock, often resulting in no symptoms until chickens face stress of some sort, such as the sudden drop in temperature in your region. Then they can become symptomatic.

    The best thing you can do is to increase nutrition and supply extra vitamins. They should recover and return to normal, but they will continue to carry the virus which can resurface any time.

    If you should see the affected chickens worsen, you might suspect a secondary bacterial infection, and an antibiotic would help in that case. If you have an individual die, you might consider getting a necropsy so you will know exactly what you're dealing with.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. Birds will sneeze occasionally from dust in the coop or while eating dusty feed, but if there is a viral disease there would be much more often accompanied by a clear nasal drainage, and sometimes watery or foamy eyes. It's important to make sure that they have good overhead air circulation without direct drafts of air, and the coop should be dry and as free of dust or mold as possible. Avoid overheating them as well, but you are not doing that. If they appear to have a respiratory infection, though, giving them some extra heat may be important or bringing them inside in a dog crate. Here is a handy list of common diseases including the most common respiratory diseases, infectious bronchitis and MG:
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by