Rescue Chickens w/ Respiratory Crud- To Treat or Not To Treat?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by farmermama2384, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. farmermama2384

    farmermama2384 New Egg

    Oct 30, 2016
    I was recently contacted by an old timer getting out of running poultry strings at the state fairs. He had 20+ breeds of chickens, and I got a trio of Blue Orpingtons. When I went to pick them up, the conditions were deplorable. All of the birds were kept in 4x4 stacked cages 4 courses high inside a building, with recycled billboard plastic draped over the outside to keep the light out (apparently, to keep their feathers from bleaching). Anyway, all three Orps were showing signs of ammonia irritation: swollen faces, raspy breathing etc. None of them had snot or pus. All of the birds were also NPIP certified and had been vetted to show at recent fairs.

    I decided to take the birds as more of a rescue mission once I saw their living conditions, and after only 4 days in quarantine on pasture the swelling has gone down and their eyes are looking better.

    My question is, should I give them some Tylan just in case? I don't like to use antibiotics without just cause. There is still no sign of infection, no pus or anything. However, their breathing sounds raspy and the rooster's crow sounds off. They are all eating, drinking, and acting normal. They even responded to treats, which I am guessing they never had before.

    What do you guys think? Antibiotics? Or no?
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Welcome To BYC!

    It's nice to hear about the rescues. I am glad you have taken steps to quarantine them, very smart move.

    It's always hard to know when/how to treat. Since damage may have been caused by Ammonia Toxicity then they could be susceptible to other respiratory ailments in the future. Not seeing pus or infection is IMHO a good sign.

    To be honest, I would take more of a "wait and see" approach for a few more days to see if they improve. You may want to try something like VetRx which would be a non-antibiotic approach. Also flushing the eyes with saline if you haven't done so and applying some Vetericyn eye gel or Terramycin eye ointment to any swollen eyes.

    I do agree in not treating with antibiotics unless it is necessary. Adding some poultry vitamins to their water or using the vitamin water to make a "wet mash" out of their feed would be a good idea. Depending on what you normally feed, upping their protein intake either by a commercial all flock/flock raiser feed (18-20% protein) or giving egg, tuna, mackerel or meat would be helpful as well. A small amount of fresh greens (kale, mustard, etc.) and fruit would be good treats. Anything that has some vitamin/mineral values.

    If you don't see improvement in a few more days, then of course a round of antibiotics may be in order. I think it would be best to see if they can recover on their own.

    Also keep watch, since they have been housed in cages and are now introduced to soil that they are not accustomed to, an overload of Cocci is a possibility (even though they are older). Watch for signs of lethargy, off balance, diarrhea with mucous or blood and a fluffed/puffed up appearance.

    Just my thoughts, keep us posted on their progress.
    2 people like this.
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    In my opinion, NO. Antibiotics should only be used to treat sick birds with an infection. They should not be considered a "just in case" medication, as this leads to antibiotic resistance.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by