Possible chronic respiratory infection

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by stephun, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. stephun

    stephun New Egg

    Nov 17, 2011
    Last week I introduced 4 new hens to my coop of 3 happy hens and my prized rooster. After a day or so, it seemed as if one of the new hens had a cough. Silly me, I figured she was just not used to her new habitat and I went out of town to work. I returned home 4 days later to find a dead chicken (one of the new girls) and the coughing hen on her last leg. She died later in the day. Now my 3 always-rambunctious hens look and act ill, too. Their eating has slowed drastically, they seem lethargic, they have a wet look on their necks--seems to me like respiratory disease. The other 2 new hens act normal. My rooster had lost his voice, I was told, while I was gone but it has since returned. He looks and acts normal but I wanted to be sure so I called the vet.

    The vet recommended LS-50, an antibiotic, for the rooster. I quarantined him in a large cage away from the others in the basement. Needless to say, he's not happy with me.

    The vet also recommended the same for the hens but said it would never be safe to eat their eggs after being on antibiotics. One could never differentiate between the eggs of a formerly sick hen and a new one, so...

    We were going to put the hens down tonight as I have read how terrible respiratory infections are for flocks, but they appeared to be a little better. They were out of their roosting spots and did not look so "wet," but one was still coughing and sputtering quite a bit.

    So what to do? I want to keep my rooster healthy. He's the most important one as he was a gift and he's very nice and beautiful (runner-up, best in show at county 4-H fair). Should I keep him isolated in his cage and just keep an eye on the hens in the coop and hope they get better? Could I be mistaken about the chronic respiratory disease? I would hate to put the rooster back with sick chickens and end up losing them all! I am at a loss. Any help?
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Did the vet get any samples to send for testing? You really need to know what you are dealing with before you make any decisions.

    CRD is just a catch-all term meaning that there are a number of illnesses that can cause CRD. The unfortunate aspect of CRD is that it is usually for life (The C stands for "chronic"). Even if all your birds recover they will likely be carriers of whatever they had... for life. You will need to close your flock and never bring any new birds in, or you can expect any new birds to become infected once they arrive and interact with your flock. The roo shouldn't be shown anymore unless you have him tested to ensure he is not carrying the causative agent of your CRD.

    I am sorry.
  3. stephun

    stephun New Egg

    Nov 17, 2011
    Thanks. I figured as much. I will keep them isolated and call the vet on Monday. Just need to keep the rooster out of harm's way. I'll check back with any updates. If it something bad that falls under the CRD umbrella, I'll obviously disinfect the coop, burn all hay and straw and keep it vacated until spring. Think that would be sufficient for eradicating the disease?
  4. Beth G.

    Beth G. Gaetano Family Farm

    I'm not an expert or a vet. But, I've raised chickens for a long time, I show, breed, and have seen pretty much it all. Usually like the person above mentioned CRD it's chronic and never goes away. Your Rooster has been exposed and will be a carrier for life if it is indeed what is causing ailment in your flock. The only way to know is to get a blood test done. Usually by calling your local USDA or Dept of Ag rep you can get a phone number to a state tester or lab. Once you target the problem then you can treat however, again if it is M.G. or M.S. or any kind of chronic issue you either have to put down all or close your flock. If you do as you said with stripping and vacating the coop yes with proper sanitation it could kill off the virus/disease however if that rooster remains he will keep it going. I'm sorry this is probably not what you want to hear but, I wouldn't jump to any conclusions until you get a blood test. Also, if you treat the hens with antibiotics just hold their eggs for 4-6 weeks that is what most of us do and then resume eating our own chicken eggs.

    Best wishes
  5. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2011
    Same thing happened to me, but no one died. I believe they two new ones had mycoplasma. We treated with Denagard with great results. My girls and guys couched and sneezed and one ended up with a rattle but it went away with treatment. My rooster has a permanent loss of voice to his crow is pretty girly sounding.

    I would ask for testing to be sure of exactly what it is, since what it killed some. I would not want that floating around my coop.

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