sick chickens-coughing, loss of appitite, laying less eggs etc details inside please help!


6 Years
Mar 23, 2013
ok so a few things have happened about a month ago one of my girls started acting weird, she seemed dazed, wouldn't eat, had a puffy face watery eyes and nose so I separated her I put apple cider vinegar in her water and watched her for a few days by day 2 she was back to her normal self and on day 4 I decided that it was probably safe to put her back in with the others thinking it was just a cold from the bad winds we had earlier that week and her seemingly getting over it all so quick everything was great for about 2 weeks(last week) and then I got home late and ended up having to go out and collect eggs, fill feeders and drinkers when I went into the coop everyone was of course on their roosts but there was a low hum sound kinda like cat purring coming from my girls! so I told my mom what was going on and she comes out the next day (during the daylight) and tells me everything looks fine! none of them were making the noise! I didn't think much of it I mean what could I think of it they were all eating drinking pooping and breathing fine no feathers out of place none of them were fluffed none had watery eyes or noses.... then this past Sunday again I get home after dark and go in the coop and they are again purring.... next day nothing so I decided to go back in again Monday night and there they were purring! they also hadn't cleaned out their feeder like they normally do Tuesday I did pretty much the same thing I did Monday but started adding ACV to the water for the entire coop it didn't do a thing and they had by now cleaned out their feeder from Sunday but I only got 11 eggs from 26 hens understandable when they arnt eating... Wednesday same thing no changes still had feed from Tuesday, Thursday again same thing and after describing to my mother what was going on she said to give them sulmet (shes a tester for the state of Oklahoma) that she was pretty sure they had infectious coryza though they still drink and don't have the SMELL and the feeder was empty I filled it now the girls have the poopy runs today comes around and when I went out to check them their feeder is empty like it was before all this started only got 7 eggs but they are still purring. I worm them regularly with pumpkin seeds, someone suggested gapeworms I checked for that and got nothing but found out several of my hens weigh next to nothing!

a few things I should add
-that may help first the last additions I made to the coop was back in January it was a rooster that seems fine he was quarantined before being added and was got from a good trusted source
-I hatch eggs from my hens and none of the babies have any ill effect and im running about a 50-60% hatch rate (didn't think it was so bad for 1 rooster who is almost 3 years old to 26 hens)
-appearance wise my hens look healthy it isn't until you hear them at night or pick them up that you notice that there is anything wrong
-inside my coop I have a mini coop that I use for younger chickens currently 4 are living there and are unaffected by whats going on to the older ones in the main coop making me believe that what ever this is isn't spread through the air but maybe physical contact or through the poop
-haven't lost any chickens to death (thank goodness now to keep it that way!)

only the first one separated had runny eyes and seemed lost
the rest have:
loss of appetite
thinner shelled eggs
lower laying rate (went from about 18 a day to 7)
coughing (at night very occasional during the day not enough to make someone really notice)
runny nose
trouble breathing? at night only
runny poop (its mostly clear with just a spot of color in it)

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I wish I could tell you, this is XXX and you should give them YYY -- I wish it were that simple. There are a number of diseases they can get besides infectious coryza. You would probably have to have them tested to find out which. With that kind of weight loss, you might consider using a chemical wormer; I'd suggest either Valbazen or Safeguard. Chickens don't get colds, but they can sneeze, get watery eyes etc. just from dust and other irritants -- or this can mean one of the other viral respiratory diseases they are subject to. If possible, I would check with whoever you got your additions to your flock from. Another approach would be to use Oxine. I'll give you some links that hopefully will be some help in sorting this out.

Sulmet is pretty rough on their digestive tract and removes beneficial bacteria, so for sure some probiotics afterward is a good idea. The organic ACV is good. You can also use live culture yogurt, probiotic preparations from the feed store or for people, live culture kefir, etc.
sounds like its respiratory in nature. my bird is also showing signs of respiratory illness. here is how I'm treating mine. I'm using Tylosin aka Tylan 50. dose is for a small bird 1/4cc large bird 1/2 cc given once daily in the breast muscle. I'm on my third day of treatment and mine have shown a improvement already. you can find tylan at the feed store. it works great for respiratory illness. to pin point the exact illness you would need to have a blood test. but Tylan50 is very good for respiratory issues and I think it will help. good luck

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