Sneezing chicken(s)?


7 Years
May 26, 2012

I've noticed one of my chickens (a 6-week old Ameraucana) has been sneezing lately. The only other possible symptom I see would be her nostrils, which are red.

I'm fairly new to chicken keeping, I had chickens awhile ago when I lived in California, but have since then given them away due to a move. I decided about 7 weeks ago that I wanted to start again and purchased four chicks from a cool "Urban Farm Shop" here in Portland. One died a few days later, but we didn't think much of it because it had showed no symptoms before she died. Wanting to have a bigger flock, we returned to the store and bought three more chicks. A few days after, we noticed the before mentioned chick was sneezing. We were slightly alarmed, but again didn't really do anything about it. The sneezing continued, sometimes never and sometimes once every twenty seconds or so. Now ocassionally other members of the flock will sneeze but never repeatedly like the one chick.
Today we took the chickens outside (their coop is not quite ready yet) and I noticed Florentine (the before-mentioned chick) sneezing again. I inspected her and noticed that her nostrils were red but no discharge really. When she sneezes its often fast and hard to catch. I'm slightly worried and I don't really know how to diagnose her, seeing that she's one of the most active chickens by far. I researched a little bit before I came across this site and I read that it could be her food or her bedding. We started the Chicks out on Union Mills Medicated Chick starter (recommended) and it is dusty. Their bedding is pine shavings, I believe. Thanks, MHAH
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Hi there,

I am brand new to the forum, AND brand new to baby chicks. Though I have had older chickens for quite some time and have 4 varieties of parrot species, I am a true novice with young chicks so please take that into consideration regarding my answer.

I had to call my vet today regarding a sneezing 2 week old chick with nasal discharge and some mildly labored breathing. She went from dry sneezing to BAD in about 24 hours. I also had two more begin sneezing after I had quarantined the first. It has been my experience with my exotics that when a bird acts sick, it is already extremely ill. I am not sure if that holds true for chickens as I have never had an ill one before today.

My vet's advice was to go straight to tetracycline, forget quarantine because everyone is already exposed, bump brooder temp back to about 95 degrees, and monitor fluids to ensure hydration,

Here's where I'm going to raise some eyebrows...the tetracycline dose is just under 1/4 teaspoon per liter of water. I know what the package directions say as does my vet but she took quite a bit of time and made a call to UGA and the medication manufacturer. There were two recommendations, 1 tsp/gallon or the short 1/4 teaspoon per liter. We went with the lighter concentration based on a clinical research study that showed that dosage improved chick mortality rates by 63%. The package directions are for CRD (CHRONIC respiratory disease). According to my vet et all acute illness requires a higher dose.

I personally do not advocate medicating birds without consulting a vet. It's a habit I have picked up with my parrots. I certainly would not use the high doses of antibiotic that my chicks are on without vet authorization.

Best of luck with your baby!

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