respiratory problems, can't identify problem

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Stef in Davis CA, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. Stef in Davis CA

    Stef in Davis CA Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Riverside, CA
    Hello, I'm raising my first chickens: five 2-month old pullets in my back yard, all of different breeds.

    My Welsummer is one of the fastest growing birds, but for the last 10 days has been wheezing and sneezing. Not constantly, but maybe half the times I go out to check on her, I can hear her wheezy breathing and a few sneezes. No smell or discharge that I can detect and she seems just a little less active and social than usual and it seems to be slowly getting worse. Also, she has been losing a moderate amount of wing feathers (I think) for the last few weeks, which I figured was due to fall molting or a growth spurt.

    None of the other chickens have these symptoms. It does get cold at night here mid-thirties at night and fifties in the day and foggy and damp, but I leave a 250 watt red light in their coop to warm them at night. Is this a cold that will pass on its own, or should I try to treat this with antibiotics? Should I bring her inside the house (she probably wouldn't like to go back to living in a box in my living room since she's pretty big now...)? Does this sound serious to people? I'm getting more and more worried....I've looked these symptoms up in some books and forums, but I'm still not sure what to do...

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions,

    Stef [​IMG]
  2. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Hi Stef, Welcome to BYC.

    Here is a link that might help you figure out what is wrong with your Welsummer.

    It probably isnt good to give the bird anti biotics until you narrow down the possible cause of the symptoms. That sight might help and it also indicates which antibiotics are effective. Take a look at bronchitis, coryza, and mycoplasmas.

    If your bird dies, you can take it to the CAHFS lab at UCDavis for a free necropsy to find out what was wrong with it. This is especially helpful in treatment considerations for the rest of the flock. They have a drop off room that is open 24/7.

    CAHFS = California Animal Health & Food Safety Lab.
    They are located on
    West Health Science Drive
    Davis, California 95616
    (530) 752-8700
    Main page:

  3. Thanks eggchel, I have put this URL in my favorites. I am trying to compose a varitey of URL's that people can go to. Most of course say basically the same thing, but there are some that have more detial.

    Sneezing and weezing seemingly can be a whole host of diseases with just these symptoms. Chickens do not get a "cold", they get speciific diseases that are usually viral, but sometimes bacterial.

    Antibiotics only treat the bacterail organisms. the viral species have to just run the course and it is impossible to vaccinate for all the viral species. There usually is no vaccine for them or it would be cost prohibitive to vaccinate good sized flock.
  4. Stef in Davis CA

    Stef in Davis CA Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks Eggchel and Rimshoes, I really appreciate the pointers and websites you sent along. Seems like this could be a serious problem.

    Since the only symptoms I've noticed are wheezing, sneezing and less energy:

    -I think I'll cross Infectious Coryza off since I see no swelling on the head or eye discharge.

    -It could be infectious bronchitis...Perhaps I have only one susceptible bird and the others have resisted the infection....the wheezing is louder at night, though I have not seen watery discharge from the eyes and nose. If symptoms are not gone within a week, this would rule this out though. Here there is no treatment.

    -It could be mycoplasmosis since CRD is consistent with the symptoms. Here broad spectrum antibiotics would be useful. I could try to get a blood test to test for this, but this might take me awhile to set up.

    So, I guess I'll keep these two most likely culprits in mind and watch my chicken closely to see if she's getting better or worse. I'm also searching for an avian vet near here in case she gets worse, and I can phone around on Monday. I'll be praying she gets better soon!

    Is there anything else I could do to help her recover?

    Thanks again for the advice,
  5. Sissy

    Sissy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    Welcome to BYC
    sorry to hear about your little lady, I do hope you have her
    away from the others, untill you find out whats the problem and do keep her warm.
  6. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    If you do treat her with antibiotics and it doesn't help another cause could be respiratory parasites. I have two peafowl who were constantly sneezing and gurgling. They looked healthy eating fine and their poop looked fine. I treated them with antibiotics and tylan 50 for 3 weeks and no improvement so i finally took them to a vet and he diagnosed them with respiratory parasites. So just keep that in mind.
    Here is a website on it.
  7. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    If she's losing feathers, she's likely molting. Molts are very hard on a bird and an opportunistic infection wouldn't be surprising. If it's IB, her eggs will be misshapen or ridged. The best thing you can do is keep her in a warm, quiet place. Try giving her some poly-vi-sol, three drops twice a day. I'm told that Aviacharge is very good, but I haven't used it. Make sure she's getting plenty of fluids.
  8. Stef in Davis CA

    Stef in Davis CA Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks for the she seems a little less wheezy...pretty similar though to the wheezy, sneezy symptoms she's had for over a week and a half, though in general she seems ok, just a little low energy. I got in touch with the local avian vet and hopefully I can talk to someone tomorrow about likely local problems and where I could get medications if they would help. Do chickens molt even at only 2 months? Is it a little late in the season for a molt?
    Thanks again for the tips!

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