One week old chick sneezing

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ErinG, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. ErinG

    ErinG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2010
    I got four chicks from the feed store the day they came in. Two EEs one australorp and a welsummer. One of the EEs has been sneezing for a few days sometimes there is a small amount of clear discharge otherwise no other symptoms. The others have started to sneeze a small amount also but not as much as the first chick. They are on medicated feed and water with vitamins and electrolytes. Right now their bedding is paper towels so there isn't dust being kicked up from pine shavings. Should I be medicating them for a respiratory infection and if so what should I use?
  2. ErinG

    ErinG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2010
  3. Familyochickens

    Familyochickens Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 30, 2012
    I know the answer if they were older, I would say tetracycline in their feed and water, but being young chicks I am not sure....sooo bumping this to hopefully get an answer.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Elke Beck

    Elke Beck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2011
    Sunny So Cal
    Often chicks sneeze because the starter food has a lot of dust. If gets into their nasal areas and needs to be sneezed out. If sneezing is the only symptom, I would wait and see.
    1 person likes this.
  5. ErinG

    ErinG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2010
    Thanks! I didn't think about their food but it is dusty. I've been watching them closely.
  6. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    My chicks are also sneezy, but everyone hopping flapping eating and drinking... So I try not to rush and check every time one sneezes
  7. Jobele

    Jobele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2011
    This is some very useful info from another thread from a long time ago...but will help if your chicks actually are sick from any type of respiratory disease, which could have happened at the feed store where you bought them from. You could definitely start them on some Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and yogurt. It's just good to give chicks that no matter what. It helps their immune system. Hope this info helps!


    To start with, I'm going to post an article on treating any respiratory symptoms no matter the origin (fungal, bacterial, viral, environmental). These same supportive treatments and methods are beneficial to any bird that has any respiratory symptom at all. I highly recommend that all of the steps possible be taken. Particularly early in symptoms being shown.

    Because you don't know yet if this is bacterial, I would not yet medicate. If for some reason you feel compelled to, please use a correct antibiotic at a correct dosage. This baby I feel is a bit young for Tylan, certainly too young for shots, and in this case I would probably think Duramycin 10 might be worth a shot. It's commonly available, easy to use, etc. You will want to use the 2 teaspoons per gallon dosage for a baby that is drinking normally. Please see the directions on Duramycin use below and I've included a worksheet as I dislike hearsay-dosages and will explain why the dosage above is the correct one and how I came about it.

    Also, if you use Duramycin, you can NOT use yogurt or any milk product whatsoever for this bird. YOu will want to use either a probiotic like the ones you get at the drug store (acidophilis capsules/tablets are ideal for this and easy to find in the vitamins section of Walmart, cvs, walgreens, etc). Any more milk product other than the slight amount of whey used to keep the live bacteria in probiotics alive is too much and will actually make the meds not work. Probios powder for livestock is good, acidophilis is good, dairy-aisle products are not good unfortunately in this case.

    I would keep the baby separated and at no less than 80 degrees 24/7. She absolutely must receive probiotics during the entire time of her isolation because her sinus drainage will cause her diarrhea and possibly a secondary infection otherwise (and since there's already a history in this little batch of babies of this, I wouldn't risk it).

    Also, I would check your feed. Baby feed should be strongly fresh smelling and not overly dusty. Make sure the bag of feed you use is fresh, within date (see the end tag), used within 4 weeks of purchase, and kept in an air-tight, moisture-proof, dark and cool container.

    For the rest of the flock, I would give all your babies plain yogurt daily for a week, and one day of 1 teaspoon of *organic* apple cider vinegar in a gallon of water as their sole source of water. The live bacteria in the yogurt will help correct some of the issues that caused the pasty vent and sour crop. Also please at this age make sure not to feed anything but easily dissolved feeds. In other words - the test is you should be able to put the feed in a glass of water and come back in 10 minutes to find it more or less collapsed on the bottom of the glass. That means cooked oatmeal is good if you grind the dry uncooked oats to chick-crumble size before cooking; regular sized oatmeal cooked is not so good. Scrambled eggs are not so good; boiled egg yolk or boiled whole eggs processed very fine in the food processor are good. Whole grains and vegetables are not good at this age (before chick grit is available), but baby food vegetables can make a wet-mash interesting for them.

    Do the yogurt for a week, and then do weekly until they're 8 weeks old. Then you can use less often for a healthy treat. Use the organic ACV one day only. I feel in a flock, particularly one that had a wee bit of a rough start, it's very very useful to use yogurt or probiotics weekly through the "starter" weeks. I hope you find so too.

    Here's the information on treating the entire respiratory illness - please let me know if you have any questions whatsoever or need ANY help. I love baby chicks, and would like to see you have a better time of this.


    When treating a respiratory illness in my chickens, no matter what the cause (fungal, environmental, bacteria, viral) I like to attack the problem from multiple angles at once: Medicinal, nutritional, environmental, and through supportive products.

    Medicinal: This should be handled on an individual basis for each situation. The one bit of advice I would give is that if you DO treat for bacterial illness with antibiotics, be sure to use the correct antibiotic, the strongest you can get for that problem, for the full dosage and full duration. Never let them "sip", give for a short period, or give partial dosages. And leave Baytril as a last resort.

    To help tackle a respiratory illness, I keep in mind that the body needs fuel to do its job. Not only is the bird still having to nourish itself to survive, but there's the extra stress of providing materials to fight the intruder - the pathogen causing the illness. There are certain nutrients that boost the immune system and increase healing for respiratory illnesses and I like to take full advantage of them. Anything that I can do to boost the chicken's immune system, I will do.

    Vitamin A (and its precursor beta-carotene) is one of the weapons in my arsenal against respiratory illness. Vitamin A is a most important vitamin for ocular, mucus membrane, and respiratory health. It is so important to the chicken that a lack of sufficient vitamin A in the diet can actually CAUSE respiratory illness. So it's one of the first nutrients I make sure to supplement to an ill bird.

    If the bird doesn't have caseous nodules (yellow-whitish pimples) in the inside of its eyelids, mouth, throat, etc, you can simply treat with a more broad spectrum oil type vitamin liquid. Because vitamin A is an oil vitamin, I feel that using oil or liquid/oil sources is more effective than dried sources. So I prefer a vitamin like PolyViSol baby vitamins (Enfamil brand) used in the individual bird's beak daily. Don't buy the iron-fortified, but the non-iron-fortified. You can find it in the vitamin section of many stores, including Walmart. For a chick, it's 1 drop in the beak for 7 days and then taper off. For a young or medium bird, 2 drops. For a larger bird, 3 drops.

    If I'm treating a flock, I prefer to use fortified wheat germ oil, or cod liver oil, in a quickly eaten damp mash that I prepare for the birds daily. For the cod liver oil, depending on which kind you use you can use a very small amount in some crumbles that you will put on top of their feed or use it in a quickly eaten damp mash. For wheat germ oil, I mix a capful into a cup of feed and stir well. I think stir this into a half gallon of feed and give that three times a week on top of their other feed.

    This takes care of A vitamins quite nicely.

    The benefit of the polyvisol is that it also contains other vitamins helpful to the bird.


    In all cases of illness or stress, I provide probiotics to my birds but particularly for respiratory illnesses. Probiotics are non-medicinal sources of living bacteria used to replenish the beneficial bacteria present in the avian digestive system. Good bacteria live in and 'colonize' the digestive tract, helping the bird to digest their foods, and additionally competing with bad bacteria/fungi for the digestive tract. Having a strong supply of beneficial bacteria not only keeps a flock more thrifty and vigorous, but will increase their resistance to digestive disease.

    If you're not using a medicine whose active ingredients end in -cycline or -mycin (read the label), then you can use plain unflavored yogurt. Most yogurts in the US contain a source of living bacteria, Lactobacilli. (Make sure and read the label for "contains live cultures".) Lactobacillus acidophilus will colonize the gut of the chicken. Use 1 teaspoon per 6 chicks to 1 tablespoon per large adult fowl as a guiding dosage. It doesn't have to be exact, but you don't want to give something as great as a cup to birds. Although birds are normally less able to digest as many milk products as humans and mammals, yogurt contains less lactose and so is less upsetting to their system within reasonable use. The live bacteria as well as its D vitamin fortification and protein make it an inexpensive and worthy probiotic.

    If you ARE using a -mycin of -cycline drug, then substitute with acidophilis capsules/tablets (the contents thereof), or with a prepared live probiotic for livestock such as Probios brand dispersible powder. The powders are often easier to sneak into treats to give to birds.

    No probiotics should be given in the water, despite labeling. They're best given in a small amount of quickly eaten damp feed. Yogurt can be mixed with water, and then that mixture mixed with a few crumbled pellets of the bird's normal diet and that fed first thing in the morning. removing the feed 20 minutes before giving the healthful damp mash ensures that they're more interested in it. You can also hide other healthful ingredients in the same mash.

    The reason this is so important for respiratory birds, even if not medicated, is that the ocular and nasal sinuses drain into the digestive tract through the opening in the roof of the bird's beak. The drainage can upset the bacterial flora of the gut and cause it to be reduced which leaves the bird more vulnerable to diarrhea and digestive secondary illnesses like yeast/fungus, and pathogenic bacteria.

    As ill birds are often reluctant to eat, sometimes I like to use boiled/mashed eggs as part of a daily damp mash to tempt them to at least eat the nutritional supplements I'm trying to give them daily. The extra protein helps birds who are healing to have a little more fuel.

    VetRx is an herbal based oil that is non-medicinal but very helpful to birds being treated for respiratory illness. The purpose of VetRx is to facilitate air flow through the sinuses of the bird, reduce mucus, and possibly reduce inflammation. If VetRx for poultry cannot be found, any other of the "species" of vetrx (rabbit, cagedbird, etc) can be used the same. If that cannot be found, Marshal Pet Peter Rabbit Rx is the same and can be found at many big-chain pet stores.

    VetRx is best used to swab the upper respiratory area. Mix a few drops of very hot water and a few drops of VetRx in a cup. Stir well to cool the water while emulsifying the oil into the water. Use q-tips to apply to the bird: a new q-tip end for each individual spot, an absolutely new q-tip per each bird. The q-tip can be quite damp for all applications. Swab the nostrils (nares) well, press a q-tip into the cleft opening in the roof of the beak of the bird. Pressing gently there can sometimes cause the VetRx to bubble into the eye, which is acceptable. It's not necessary but a benefit. Use either some very dilute VetRx one drop in each eye or (my preference) simply swab near each tear duct. The box recommends using in the water so that when the birds drink, they treat their own beaks as the oil floats on top. This is an option; I rarely follow it as sometimes I use the water to give other things. You can, however, use it wherever the bird wipes their eyes on their feathers, or where they lay their head when they sleep.

    A bird that can't breathe will not eat; A bird that will not eat will not heal. Bacteria generally hate oxygen, so we want air flowing all through the sinuses.

    SUPPORTIVE PRODUCTS/OACV: If you're not medicating in the water, and if your birds have a lot of mucus in their throats (gurgling, coughing, etc) the you can use organic apple cider vinegar in their water during illness to help reduce mucus and help support digestive health. The dosage is always 1 teaspoon of OACV to one gallon of water. The reason for using the organic is that it's unfiltered and still contains some of the prebiotics and lactobacilli that will act in concert with your yogurt to promote digestive tract health. The pH of this solution will also correct the pH of the digestive tract (which, remember, is being bombarded by nasal secretions) so that it's more friendly for good bacteria, and UNfriendly for opportunistic fungus and bacteria. A correct pH facilitates good nutrient absorbtion and we do want our ill birds to get everything they can from their food. The reason for using organic is not philosophical, but because of its mode of manufacture; there's still some good left in it.

    All birds, because of their specialized respiratory system, are highly dependent on superior air quality and ventilation. Birds who have reduced breathing ability in respiratory illness are particularly dependent on good air. They should be kept as all birds are: in well ventilated but not drafty conditions with few fumes or odors in the air, in a non-dusty bedding. This is particularly true if you cannot rule out an environmental cause for illness (ammonia, mildew spores in the air, etc).

    When you have multiple birds, the sick bird/flock should always be cared for after all the other chores are done. You want to reduce all changes of infecting other birds, or even challenging possibly exposed birds who aren't showing symptoms (yet). Isolate sick birds unless you intend to treat the flock. Then it really does help to isolate the sick birds so that they don't have to compete for feed. Keep something like overalls or a big man's shirt in the 'sick area' and put it on before handling the birds, taking it off before leaving the coop. Keep anti-bacterial gel in that area to wipe your hands as you leave so that you don't contaminate the doorknobs of your house. Of course, wash thoroughly when all chores are done. Be sure to disinfect all the feeders and waterers more often as the droplets of their respiratory exudates will be on feeders and waterers. If you have family or friends over, try to keep only one person handlng the sick flock and ask everyone never to go from the sick flock to the well.

    I hope that these suggestions will help you when it comes time to treat your flock for respiratory illness. All suggestions have been used by me personally on everything from slight cases to extreme cases. They work well for me, and I hope that they will help you to bring your flock back to full health.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my article and consider my suggestions.

    Nathalie Ross
    (Please do not reproduce without permission of the author. The author is not a veterinarian and always recommends a good qualified avian vet attend your ill birds first. No information is intended to supercede that of a qualified veterinarian.)
    August 1, 2009

    Here's the actual dosage math for Duramycin 10 at 10g per 6.4 ounce package.

    OK according to this package, they want you to dose at about 500mg - 800mg per gallon of water for chickens. ( )
    The package states that the dosage will depend on the age of the bird (chicks get weaker strength), and how much they'll drink (birds that drink a lot get a little weaker strength).

    10g = 10,000 mg. There are 10 grams in the package at 6.4 ounces.

    Adults: 10,000 mg divided by 800mg = 12 doses per package.
    12 doses = 6.4 ounces.
    6.4 ounces/12 servings = 0.54 ounce per serving.
    We'll say 1/2 ounce per serving.

    1/2 ounce = 3 teaspoons (kitchen measure spoon)

    Babies: 10,000mg/800mg = 20 doses per package.
    6.4 ounces/20 servings = 0.32 ounce per serving.
    0.32 ounces = 2 teaspoons (kitchen measuring spoon).

    Use either the two or the three teaspoons per gallon as the sole drinking ration for 7-14 days depending on whether your bird is a young bird (under two months) or older. Make fresh solution daily. Because this is a 'cycline' you can't use yogurt with it, but because of his illness and length of treatment periodyou really need to use a probiotic to prevent secondary yeast/fungal infections and/or diarrhea.

    With a cycline/mycin drug, that means you'll want to either use acidophilis capsules or tablets from the grocer or druggist vitamin section, or a health food store or use Probios brand probiotic powder (found in the livestock section of feed stores/TSC).

    The bird absolutely must receive the full dosage of this - either the 2 or 3 teaspoons in the gallon (and of course, you can break than down into 1/2 teaspoon per 32 ounce watering device. He must also receive the entire treatment period not a day less or you risk creating future treatment issues and drug resistance. Unfortunately, giving a little bit by mouth doesnt work with antibiotics especially if they are allowed normal drinking water. And you cannot mix anything at all with the medicated water; use supplements in the feed. That's the only way that the dosage will work.
    Last edited by threehorses (August 24, 2009)
    1 person likes this.
  8. rossfam06

    rossfam06 Beak Brokers

    Sep 20, 2013
    Savannah, GA
    My Coop
    Excellent info.
  9. Hensry

    Hensry New Egg

    Mar 9, 2017
  10. Hensry

    Hensry New Egg

    Mar 9, 2017
    Did you ever figure out what was wrong with your chicks? I've got 2 week old Cornish-cross chicks sneezing, normal discharge, on cedar chips. Also eating medicated feed. I'm concerned but not sure what to give them if anything. They are really big I think that's the breed. Henry

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