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?