sick chickens - HELP


8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
I have sick chooks & am unsure what to do next. I have had 3 Isa Browns for approximately 3 years & they have always been healthy. recently I purchased 4 light sussex around 4 months old. I have had the new ones for a month or so & have had non stop problems.
First I noticed an awful smell coming form the sussex & they also had clear discharge from their nostrils. They also had foamy poo but seems to look better now... They are alert, eating & drinking etc.
2 of my Isa browns became very ill, not eating or drinking & making a gurgling like sound. They also coughed quite often & just sat huddled in the corner. I went to the vet & he diagnosed them sight unseen with pneumonia. He then gave me rediculously expensive antibiotic which I gave to all of them for around 5 days until it was all gone. One of the Isa browns came good but the other got worse. We eventually had to put her to sleep as she had blood coming from her nostrils & was so weak. The light sussex also semmed to clear up a little. Now a few weeks later they all have runny noses, smell awful & have matted like feathers under their wings. They just don't look healthy. They are still eating, scratching, drinking etc & one of the Isa browns is laying.
After searching & searching for an answer I just can't figure out what it could be. The only thing that I could find with similar symptoms is coryza but they don't have swollen faces. I love my chooks but they are seriously costing a fortune. I have always owned chooks & never had a problem.
Anyone with some ideas would be greatly appreciated. I have also tried apple cider vinegar...


Faith & Feathers
9 Years
May 1, 2011
Olathe, Kansas
Have you heard of Cocci? Im no expert but thats what it could be. Have you noticed any bloody poop?
Last edited:


9 Years
Apr 26, 2010
Largo, FL
It's definetely something respiratory.....if it was cocci there would be alot of bloody diarrhea. How about Vet Rx! It's great for all kinds of mix it in water and you cn spray it on the birds, too. Good luck....hope your babies get well soon.


8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
Southern California
May I suggest a different veterinarian if you have to go back to one.

There is always a risk of bringing in disease when you bring in new / additional chickens.

I don't know enough to be very helpful... but, you can buy antibiotics at the local feed store. A full service feed store will have wormers, antibiotics, etc., and they are more reasonable than you can get them at the veterinarian.

Had the chickens you added been wormed, ever? Probably not if they are fairly young (four months old). Have you wormed yours recently?

Buttermilk is cultured, has probiotics like yogurt. -- Massage crops if a chicken seems to have stinky breath, etc... and feed yogurt or buttermilk.. I mix buttermilk into some of their food and water it down a little.
Duramycin-10 (which is Tetracycline) can treat a respiratory infection. 1 tsp per gallon of drinking water (the amount of water they will drink in 24 hours, for seven days, withhold eggs with that, some say, some don't) --
Using Valbazen (off label use, it's not made for chickens) to worm everyone, each one at a time, orally... 1/4cc/ml per bantam (small chicken)... and 1/2cc/ml per standard size, full gown chicken. Holding one at a time, lifting the head up, opening the beak, putting the Valbazen to the side and back (to avoid the windpipe which is directly behind the tongue). Valbazen will kill every worm there is but not mites or lice. Repeating after 10 days and withholding eggs for 24 days total.. ten days after the first worming and 14 days after the second worming... o.k. to eat eggs again on 25th day.
My understanding is that wormy chickens can choke and sound like they have a respiratory infection. Cats sneeze when they have worms, so...

My chickens were sick a lot, repeatedly, and I kept giving them antibiotics... then, they'd get sick again a week later.. it was getting old and frustrating and I had varied symptoms in them and lost two young ones. Once I found the right information about the right way and type of wormer to use, how to use it, how long to withhold eggs, etc.. once I got them wormed correctly.. everyone got happy and well and active and no more repeated illnesses, droopiness, colds, etc.

Just a suggestion. The best info on worming will be here on BYC... use the SEARCH to search for Valbazen, worming, dosages, etc.. look for the most recent posts by dawg53, who has helped me a lot and gives a lot of good, experienced information on illness and worming.

Laying feed has vitamins in it.. vitamins and electrolytes can be added to water in the very hot weather or when the chickens are "stressed" or molting, etc. 1/8th tsp per gallon.. available at the feed store as well.. cheap. Scrambled eggs for extra protein if they are weak. You also get syringes (with or without needles) at the feed store, good (without needles) for giving oral medications.

Good luck... I am still learning... look for posts by dawg53 for best info.. watch dates on posts, more recent is better as we all have a learning curve. Hope something helps.
Last edited by a moderator:

Uniontown Poultry

9 Years
Sep 7, 2010
Southwestern Pennsylvania
The two things that I have noticed in chickens that make for a smelly face are coryza and sour crop. Sour crop smells, well, sour, and coryza is a stinky sick odor that smells like nothing else. Maybe super-concentrated boogers? If I smell it, I treat for coryza, with or without the severe facial swelling seen in the poultry books (fortunately there are cheap medicines out there for it). Getting a good worming program is essential, too because you want your chooks to have strong immunity & dealing with a parasite infection weakens them. Good luck!


8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
Thanks for all the replies. I am trying a course of antibiotic to see if that helps... Wish me luck

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom