Respiratory problem!? "Picture of Beatrice added"


12 Years
Mar 14, 2007
Western New York
This morning I saw my Black Giant, Beatrice, sneeze!! This afternoon she is also coughing!! And her breathing sounds like a little lawn mower or something!! What could be wrong??? Could she just have a cold? All the other chickens seem fine. She also seems fine (other than the respiratory problem), as she's not lethargic and in fact has been out free-ranging most of the day. I am really worried that this is the beginning of something bad!!
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you need to give more info (see sticky at top of forum) with more info in order to help you best...for instance the age of the bird and what the weather is and has been like the past couple weeks and what you feed etc.
In any case separate this bird immediately to a temp stable environment so you can better monitor her progress. Give a good supplement if you have one... if you do not perhaps you have some POLYVISOL (enfamil preferably > this is liquid childrens A-B-D vitamins) you can give three drops in beak once a day for a week ... this is in this instance for the vitamin A > a deficiency of which often goes hand in hand with respiratory symptoms.
OK!! Thanks!!
Beatrice is one of 11 hens I have. She'll be 1 year old in May. We live in Upstate NY so it's cold one day, warm the next right now - typical spring weather. Their coop is 8'x8'x8' with a huge run that they have access to during the day, they're also allowed to free-range (weather permitting). I use the deep litter method and turn it atleast twice a day. I shovel some litter out each week or so and add more. It's not wet in there at all. I also use DE. They have access to layer pellets mixed with black oil sunflower seeds and little bit of cracked corn 24/7. They also get lettuce and/or a few apples in the morning and I've been giving them a little bit of canned cat food at night because they were molting a little bit and I read that more protein may help those feathers grow back quicker - it seems to be working. (Also cut down on the cracked corn). They've been subjected to freezing temps all winter. I did have heat lamps on in their coop all winter (mostly to prevent their water from freezing) but also for them to cuddle under if need be. The past week or two I have left the lamp off most of the time because the nights here haven't been horribly cold. Tonite is only forecast to be about 35F. They all snuggle together at night on one perch. None of the other hens are displaying any of these symptoms at the moment. She seems to be getting worse rapidly though. I noticed a little bit of watery discharge from her nostril. Some of her breaths sound wet and gurgling and rattling. She coughs too!! Poor girlie!! I love her so much. She is sooo sweet and even tempered!! She's also the dominant hen, and is a kind and loving leader. She couldn't have IB could she? I can't think of where on earth she could have gotten THAT from. We are not near any other people with chickens. I got them all from a hatchery so wouldn't they all be vacinated against IB? I can take her out of the coop and put her in her own pen inside if that's really necessary? But won't that stress her out to be separated from her flock? Maybe I should bring her AND her best pal in too so she won't be lonely? I don't have any sort of supplement for her - there is, however, nothing wrong with her appetite (so far), but I'll get something tomorrow morning for her. Everything is closed on Sunday around here!! OMG I just don't know what to do!! I've watched her all day. And I just went out to the coop to tuck them all in and she's on the perch all snuggled in with the rest. It's just that darn breathing that is scaring the b'jeepers outta me!! It's not like her (or any of them) to be sick! They're all so healthy and doted on. I spend sooo much time with all of them. I am going to let her stay out there tonite and I'll call our vet tomorrow, I hope he can help or recommend someone who can, but in the meantime if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please tell me. Thanks!!

Edited to add: She's a Jersey Black Giant and she lives up to the name!! I'll try to get a pic of her posted on here.
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I got them all from a hatchery so wouldn't they all be vacinated against IB? I can take her out of the coop and put her in her own pen and bring her inside if that's really necessary? But won't that stress her out? Maybe I should bring her AND her best pal in too so she won't be lonely? I don't have any sort of supplement for her. Everything is closed on Sunday around here!! OMG I just don't know what to do!!

ok...that is more helpful...
well, the weather swings (especially arfter the winter when their reserves are low and such) is going ot be hard on them...I really would look into getting them a good supplement like AviaCharge 2000 and concentrating their nutrition with that (you can purchase online from McMurray or Strombergs) ... you can also mix in some wheatgermoil into their feed and offer liveculture 9freechoice) yogurt ... do this for all your birds but yes separate this one with a buddy and give her the POLYVISOL and when you get the AviaCharge that too and the yogurt and see if that and the warm temp stable environment is enough support to get her back in condition.​
Oh Gee!! It's too late to separate her and bring her inside tonite. It's dark already, PLUS she's all settled in for the night and all the extra pens etc. are in the rafters in the garage etc., etc. I did turn on both heat lamps though. It's not supposed to be awful cold tonite, but I can definately see where you're coming from. I will bring her and her pal, Bella - also a Black Giant, inside in the morning. I'll also hit CT and get them all fixed up with vitamins/supplements etc. Is it odd that SHE is the ONLY one exhibiting problems? That's what I think is soo strange, sort of like she came down with pnumonia or conjestive heart failure or something along those lines? She is NOT lethargic at all. None of them are. They are soo rambunctious and full of energy.
They all free-ranged today - all day long!!
separate as soon as possible..
could be a reaction to weather change, dust etc..

others may disagree but if she were mine, especially if she doesn't show quick improvement after being removed from the coop environment,
I'd give Tylan 200, or Tylan 50 injectable.
available at farm/feed/livestock supply stores, in the LIVESTOCK section.
i agree with sammi, i'd definately do the same if she was mine also and isolate alone till ya know what u are dealing with.

IB can not be given as a live vaccine till 4 weeks of age or older as a drop in the eye. if u bought day olds from a hatchery NO they would not be vaccinated for it however if a layer had antibodies the antibodies (not the virus) would pass onto babies from mom through egg it would be a natural immunity. there is more symptoms than just coughing and sneezing for IB. many things can cause or bring on IB.

yes it does sound like a cold or respitory infection, my guess would be from the weird weather which can be 1 sign of it. i don't think it has anything to do with her diet she looks pretty healthy and big in that pic and she is eating fine. i see nothing in her diet that should affect her other than the lettuce if it is iceburg due to no nutrients and really only water in it but romain spinach type lettuce ect is fine.

gorgous girl ya got there!! keep us posted how she is doing and keep an eye on the others. watch for bubbles in their eyes kinda looks like soap suds, drop in eggs laid, gaging, stretching necks, gasping, rapid weight drop, loss of appitiete ect it's all signs of ib but there is other symptoms. usually it hits in 3-7 days if so and will start to get others sick ect. once it does it will hit hard and fast and u will know it if it is. takes about 3-4 weeks if i remember right for anibodies to fully kick in but they need antibiotics and electrolytes to help get through it. i went through IB in my flock last year and it is a nightmare if u have it. if u see these things immediately get entire flock on antibiotics to prevent secondary infections and issolate sick ones and use extreame biosecurity IB is a contagous virus that sheds and flock will need vaccinated if that is what they have except those who actually have it or any under 4 weeks of age to young to do it. sometimes it takes 2-3 rounds of antibiotics to get them through it also.
Beatrice was moved into a make shift hospital in the kitchen this morning. Then I went to Agway and got "Vitamins & Electrolytes PLUS" and "Sulmet". I've changed all of the hens water to include this supplement, but I haven't done anything with the Sulmet yet. I have a feeling it's not the right antibiotic, but it's the only thing Agway had. It reads "For the TREATMENT of cattle, beef cattle, swine for bacterial pneumonia and bovine respiratory disease, colibacillosis, necrotic pododermatitis, calf diphtheria, acute metritis, acute mastitis, porcine colibacillosis" AND "For the CONTROL of chickens & turkeys from infectious coryza, coccidiosis, acute fowl cholera and pullorum disease." So that looks to me to mean CONTROL not TREATMENT. I'll have to go to a larger store in the city to get Tylan 200 unless any of you think this "Sulmet" is ok. This bottle of "Sulmet" also reads that we cannot eat their eggs while they're being treated AND for 10 days after treatment.

She actually seems pretty good this morning. She has a good appetite and is taking being put in the hospital in good stride. She is still coughing however.

On the grit note: They have always had a container of grit attached to the inside of their coop along with a container of oyster shell. They also free-range and have access to our very long gravel driveway. I also did see HER pecking in the grit bowl yesterday - so I doubt she is lacking grit.

None of the other chickens are displaying any of her symptoms yet.

Thank you so much for your input. I'll keep you posted on her progress.

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