RIR hen with feather loss and sneeze/cough


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 1, 2013
Nova Scotia, Canada
One of my RIR hens has lost feathers on her back, some are broken. She also has a wheeze when she breathes and a sneeze/cough.

One of the other RIR hens also is starting to have the same thing with the feathers.
My rooster has started loosing feathers on the back and front fo his neck to the point of being bald in spots. He also has a sneeze/cough.

I'm not sure what this is, I started putting ACV in their water but I'm not sure how to help them.

Any thoughts on what this is, or how to treat it?

I think that the feather loss is partially due to your rooster. The areas where the feathers on missing on the hen are consistent with a rooster overmating hens. However, I think that some of the feather loss is because of molting. Fall is the time when many chickens molt. I don't think that the feather loss is being caused by picking.

Cold weather often brings on respiratory diseases. The sneezing, coughing, and wheezing are symptoms of respiratory diseases. Many respiratory diseases affect chickens, and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact disease. However, your birds seem to have a pretty mild disease, so it is probably a milder disease like Infectious Bronchitis.

The respiratory disease may be viral, in which case antibiotics would not work. I'd continue giving your birds apple cider vingegar, but probiotics and electroytes would also be good ideas. Make sure that the sick birds are kept away from significant drafts. If only a few birds are infected so far, isolate the sick ones. Respiratory diseases spread easily, and can infect a whole flock.

If the disease gets worse, or doesn't go away in a week or so, I'd try some antibiotics. You could start with a broad-spectrum, water soluable antibiotic like oxytetracycline. Terramycin, Duramycin, and Tetroxy HCA-280 powder are versions of oxytetracycline. However, one of the best antibiotics for respiratory diseases is Tylan50. Tylan50 is most commonly given by injections into the breast muscle using a small (20-22gauge) needle. The dosage for large fowl is 1cc, and for bantams, it is .5ccs. Give Tylan50 for five days, once a day, switching sides of the breast muscle each day to prevent too much irritation and discomfort.

Hope this helps!
I agree with Wyandottes7--Tylan50 or Tylan200 are great antibiotics to use when treating respiratory diseases. But if you can find them, you can try Oxytetracycline.

The feather loss is probably a combination of mating by roosters and molting; I don't think picking is as likely. I would check for mites/lice, though, as they, too, can cause feather loss. Look on the skin near the vent, under the wings, and under the hackle (neck) feathers for black moving specks (mites) or larger yellow blobs (lice). If necessary, treat by dusting with 5% Sevin, poultry dust, or by spraying with a mite/lice spray. Make sure to clean out the coop, spray it down with vinegar or liquid Sevin, and then put in all fresh bedding, as mites/lice tend to hide in crevices and re-infest birds at night.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom