silkie hens with feared respiratory disease. What's the prognosis?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by HelenaJean, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. HelenaJean

    HelenaJean In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    outback Australia
    symptoms include:
    swollen eyes and face
    eyes glued shut with white mucus.
    wheezy gasps
    rattling phlemmy sounds when breathing

    I really don't want to kill them, can chickens survive symptoms like these that seriously suggest a respiratory disease?

    also, one of the hens is sitting on eggs that aren't biologically hers, i really don't want her to infect the chicks when they're born. Will i have to remove them from her at birth to prevent this? The clucky hen only has noisey breathing and sneezes but i don't know her behaviour (as she's not mobile) so i don't know how healthy she looks. The poor little other chook really isn't looking well at all, she's pretty much blind, and just stands in one spot drooping her head occasionally and gasping.
    i really don't want to have to put them down or have them infect my other chickens. what can i do to help them?

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If you help them and they, or some, survive, they may always be carriers and present a danger to your other chickens. Often, old time chicken keepers won't treat resp. disease for this reason. The prognosis I think depends which disease it is. I have no experience with this but do have a good link.

    One thing you could do just to make them more comfortable is pick up some antibiotic eye ointment from the feed store and smear it on the outside of their eyes. In your position, I would also look into where and how I could get a necropsy done if I did lose one, for a definite diagnosis.

    Sorry you are going through this.
  3. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Songster

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    This is another really good resource and one I depend on quite a bit when trying to help others...

    for your hen, it definitely sounds like a respiratory disease but, it the symptoms can also be caused by environmental factors...

    Do they have access to fresh clean water/food at all times?

    Is their coop clean/dry? If ammonia from droppings builds up, it can burn their sinus cavity and cause respiratory problems...

    Is there enough air flow in the coop?

    Do they have access to any old stagnant water (anything that would collect rain water such as bowls, cups, buckets, etc)?

    How long have they been sick and was there anything withing a few weeks of that time that you remember anything they could have gotten into?

    If this is an environmental problem, you may be able to save them by antibiotics and keeping them warm and dry until they are healthy again.. Be sure to clean EVERYTHING they have access to and sanitize the coop..

    If this is a bacterial/viral problem, you *MAY* be able to treat it and save the hens but unfortunately in most cases, they will always be carriers.. If you can pinpoint exactly what it is, you can make sure that ANY and ALL chicks/chickens that you buy or hatch are immunized but you will not be able to sell or give away any hatching eggs or birds to another flock owner because there is a chance they will bring something into their flock...

    In this case, it is entirely up to you as to how you want to go about this but I would not look at selling the chicks you hatch, if that's what you intended on doing until you figure out what is causing the illness...

    Goddess [​IMG]
  4. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Crowing

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    Myself personally, would investigate treating with Tylan 50 for 3-5 days of injections and isolating the ill hen. And quickly. My silkie had some type of lung infection and this cleared it up.
    And sometimes the environment causes the illness, so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Good luck
  5. HelenaJean

    HelenaJean In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    outback Australia
    they're in a mansion of a chook house, it's difficult to keep clean, it's built around about 5 fully grown gum trees and a wilow that enjoy dropping branches and leaves all the time, so it's a mammoth task to rake the whole thing out so i just rake under the nesting places frequently and the water is changed daily, they alway have access to food. The little one's looking much better today, she even scratched a bit. I don't think i have the heart to cull any of them, and i won't sell the chicks so i might just let things go as they are unless they're obviously in pain.

    I got some new chooks (for free since 2 of the ones i brought died of a virus ((i'm suspecting respiratory related upon researching it!!) not long after buying them) and i've noticed that one of the birds has what appears to be ticks, lice, mites or some kind of parasite insect above her eyes. They're brown, tiny, and appear to be biting down permanently, i can't rub them off with my fingernails. How can i get rid of them? i put some olive oil on them (the rooster i got has scaley legs because of mites, so i'm suffercating them in that in the absence of vaceline) and they started squirming but didn't stop biting. There's at least 20 tiny little things above each eye!! How can i get rid of them? im in rural australia if that helps.

    edit: i think they've been sick since i got them... which must mean since before Christmas. (i came home from my Christmas break to find 2 birds had died and another was in a terrible way, she died that day). PintSize (my little mobile one) is doing pretty well, i've been giving her some sheep eye power, which is just a broad spectrum anitbiotic and she seemes to have improved with that.

    i don't need a perfect flock, i love them to bits. I just want them to feel healthy and happy
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011

  6. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    In the US, I would definitely approach any type of mite with a product called Ivomec Eprinex, which is a cattle wormer, given by pouring on the skin, 0.5 ml for large fowl, 0.25 cc for small birds such as bantams. You also need to change the bedding and spray down the coop. This needs to be repeated in 10 to 14 days as the treatment kills live critters but not eggs. It works on any type of mite/lice that bites. You will also want either Sevin powder (carbaryl) or a permethrin/pyrethrin dust (poultry dust in feed stores here) to dust the coop well. Most likely you won't kill every one in two treatments and, since they are dropped by wild birds, you will want to repeat treatment on a schedule. I've never seen mites/lice but give Eprinex once a year and dust the litter and birds every few months with poultry dust.

    Eprinex of course is also used to worm chickens so this is 2 programs in one. There is no meat or milk withdrawal in cattle and a similar drug (ivomectin) is used in Africa to treat people, so it is generally felt there is no egg withdrawal time; I never toss any eggs. The only disadvantage as a wormer is that it does not kill tapeworms. I have given Eprinex and plan on giving

    You will want to treat the whole flock for both leg and body parasites as they transfer readily, even if you can't see them on some birds. I'll give you some links to read in more detail about all this.

    For Eprinex, I paid close to $40 locally for 250 ml. It will expire in a year or two so you end up tossing a lot of it. Perhaps you have some chicken friends you can share with. It is sold in a smaller size, as you will see if you google, but not everyone carries it.

    You should also not sell hatching eggs as some diseases are passed through the egg. They're still safe to eat, though, as these are not people diseases.

    Some links: Birds.pdf

    I don't know that the critters there are the same as ours. People do find mites on the heads of chickens here, but more often they are found around the vent or under the wings.

    I wish you luck with your flock; I hope you do not lose any more birds.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2011

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