Possible Respiratory Illness, need help!


7 Years
Mar 2, 2012
I think I have a real flock problem and it makes me so sad to think what might have to happen eventually if I can't get rid of it. My girls had a "cold" (yes I know chickens don't get colds) a few months back but it was treated and taken care of by Denagard, or so I thought. I've been using a light bleach solution in their water to ensure their waterers are healthy. Haven't noticed any sneezing like they were doing but I started seeing my Orpingtons combs turning slightly bluish purple in the last couple weeks. This morning my Lucy looks kinda bad in her comb. It's about half purple. I have no idea how that happened or if they have another (or the same) respiratory thing going on. I just want healthy freaking birds! I've done everything right, I clean out the poop shelf regularly (3-4 times a week) and keep the run clean, and they range half an acre every day, all day. How does this continue to happen to my happy backyard flock? Are they picking up crap from wild birds? If I kill all 12 of them and start over, won't they just catch the same thing? What do I do to get my birds healthy? I don't want them in respiratory distress! They are still laying eggs well; I get 6-8 per day from 10-11 confirmed layers.
Are only the combs looking bad? How cold have the nights been at your location? Sometimes chickens can get frost bite on their combs and they can even turn black. Also combs will start to lose the bright red color when chickens are moulting or at the end of their laying cycle. Once they are done moulting or being laying again, you can usually tell a difference in their combs. Just trying to cover all bases and hoping your chickens are just going through the norm.
As far as I can tell it isn't frostbite; yes, it got cold last week for here, but they're in a coop with no drafts, fully protected; I think our low last week was 29. Her comb looked better in the afternoon yesterday, so I'm still clueless. I'm not seeing extra feathers either, we have supplemental lighting and they're all laying well. Could her body be signaling that IF we hadn't done supp. lighting, this is the time she would have molted? They're first year pullets, only 7.5 months old. Thanks for the reply!
Oh and yes only the combs are looking bad. Their coats are shiny and they're very active all day long; vents are normal and clean.
I am not sure how their bodies may respond to supplemental lighting. Maybe someone else on here could shed some light in that regard (no pun intended

I personally do not use supplemental light because I think their bodies need to go through a rest period and it should prolong their laying in the long run.

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