Sick Chickens w/head colds... one died this morning.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by honeygram, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. honeygram

    honeygram New Egg

    Jan 18, 2011
    I am in sunny Los Angeles (85° yesterday). We had two chickens almost two years old—a barred rock and rhode island red—raised from chicks. We don't use antibiotics in their water, and let them range freely during the day. They haven't had any colds or lice before. A possum got the barred rock on Christmas. So Dec. 31, we bought three juvenile hens—two araucana/americana and a rhode island red. We introduced the new hens to our rhode island red the same day. They all seemed healthy. Our old hen established she was the alpha hen.

    It turns out the place we bought them from always puts antibiotics in their water (1 teaspoon per gallon). Something we don't want to do. We won't buy from them again. In the future I think we will watch the new hens for a week or two before introducing them to the flock. Unless, we raise them from chicks and/or know their history.

    The new rhode island red came down with a head cold on Jan. 8 (nine days after we brought her home). We separated her immediately, but the damage was done. She had runny eyes and nose, was lethargic, and not eating much. Her eyes got to the point they were caked closed and we washed them with cotton and water. We noticed at that time that she was covered in lice. We put Prozap powder on her when we saw the lice, and the bugs dropped by the score. When we checked the other hens they didn't have any lice, but they take regular dirt baths. We sprinkled diatomaceous earth where they take their dirt baths, and around their coop. We returned the sick rhode island red on Jan. 17.

    The other hens started sneezing about Jan. 15. Their eyes and nose aren't running. This morning Jan, 18, one of the araucana/american was having trouble breathing. She was breathing through her mouth and lifting her head for each breath. She was laying down, and didn't get up when I opened the coop—very unusual. When I next checked on her she had moved out of the coop, but she was dead. The others are still sneezing. They are not as obviously sick as the new rhode island red was, but I don't want them to die. I made a hibiscus tea adding it to their water to help with the congestion; it helps me, but I can't tell if it helps them.

    I mostly feel stupid, frustrated, and sad for not being more careful picking new hens, waiting to introduce them to my flock, and checking out the source better. At this point we don't want to use antibiotics, but maybe we'll change our minds. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks for your help,
  2. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    From what I have read on the various posts here, chickens don't get "colds" like people and other animals. Most respiratory illnesses are quite serious. You may want to check this website to see if you read anything that matches the description of your chickens' symptoms. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will have some more suggestions and help for you. Good luck
  3. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    you can at least separate any that show signs of illness, give them some electrolyte solution in the water, will help give them some strenght , maybe even chicken vitamins. look up respiratory illness in the search engine, lots of info on this topic, I have no experience with this. Sorry you learned the hard way to ALWAYS isolate any new hens before introducing them to your flock.

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