Sneezing chickens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tezolt, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. tezolt

    tezolt In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2014
    My flock of 16 is all sneezing, with a hand few that seem droopy and not as energetic as normal, while one almost died on me about two weeks back with projectile diarrhea that seemed to have a lot of urates in it and still seems lethargic, atleast a lot more noticeable than the others, but is beginning to show improvements. I believe they may have Infectious Bronchitis but I would like to hear opinions from others.

    Possible symptoms and occurrences:
    1. Finding one broken egg or very brittle egg a day from one of new introduced hens 2-3 years of age.
    2. Introduced two roosters that shed intestinal lining daily and sneeze occasionally possibly due to sand bedding?
    3. Egg production dropped basically to nothing around mid to late September with average temperature being around 60 to 70 in day and 40 to 50 at night. Any eggs that are laid are losing dark brown pigment, closer to white eggs now. No other symptoms at this time besides one hen isolating herself.
    4. Hen isolating herself falls very ill about 1 week after isolating herself with projectile diarrhea that went from tan, to bright green, to white urates. I gave Valbazen to deworm whole flock and she came around somewhat but her stool is still watery with undigested grass. Seems to be condensing but she still acts lethargic at times.
    5. A few sneezes from other flock members start about a week after reintroducing sick hen. Been roughly 3 weeks since roosters been in flock.
    6. Within a week whole flock is sneezing besides sick hen. Clear liquid on beaks and chicken wire above roosts. Roosters' liquid seems thicker and more mucous like. Head shaking also seen in all that are sneezing.
    7. Going on 1.5 weeks of sneezing flock starts some rattling/gurgling when breathing on roost at night.
    8. A few hens seem to have good days and bad days where I catch them with eyes closed in the yard, but then later they're running around. Droopy, discolored combs on lethargic hens. Sometimes tucking head behind left wing or mouths open and distressed after sneezing.
    9. Feed intake and scratching activity has deminished greatly and I've noticed a lot more resting.
    10. Nostrils have dirt in them.
    11. Out of roughly 20 eggs layed in the last month from 14 hens, I got an egg with a wrinkly top today. A lot of eggs seem porous although it could just be one of the older hens laying consistently.
    12. Some white stained vent feathers but I haven't noticed much diarrhea under roosts.

    Things I've tried:
    1. Vitamins and electrolytes in water
    2. Apple Cider Vinegar
    3. Buttermilk mash with game bird feed and frozen fruit.
    4. VetRX on roosts, cold in water, warm in water, rubbed on beaks and into nostrils of all 16 chickens.
    5. Just today completely cleaned out and sanitized coop with bleach solution.
    6. Replaced sand bedding that I was cleaning daily with pine wood chips. Replaced roost 2x4s.
    7. Began sanitizing waterers daily.
    8. No antibiotics yet.
    9. I am going to lightly spray coop surfaces with lysol or bleach solution daily and let air out.

    1. What antibiotic should I start them on to prevent secondary infections? Any effects on eggs or withdrawal periods?
    2. If it is Infectious Bronchitis, how long will they be carriers for? I have seen several weeks, been told 1 year, and have also been told any respiratory disease means lifetime carrier and to cull the bird. Please provide where you are getting your information or knowledge from, I am becoming very confused with this!!
    3. What else could I try? I have seen oil of oregano has helped someone before... anyone else?
    4. Will this just keep getting worse or does it get worse before it gets better?
    5. How long till my flock recovers?

    I am asking help from anyone that has ever experienced something similar to this before in their flock. Does anyone feel safe saying it's not MG or Coryza? I am in south central Pennsylvania and currently trying to find someone to test for me. There is no smell coming from nostrils or watery eyes. No pus or colored discharge. No swelling or pimples/bumps around eyes. Please help me get these sick birds back to their spunky selves, I'm tired of them being sick!!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    It does sound like it could be infectious bronchitis since it has spread through the flock with the symptoms you have described. Chickens are carriers from 5 month to 1 years after recovery. For that reason, I would wait a year or longer before adding any new birds, including hatching chicks. With any respiratory disease, a secondary bacterial disease such as MG, coryza, or E.coli can show up. Tylan Soluble Powder, which is around $55 would be the best thing to use as an antibiotic, unless you want to give
    Tylan 50 ($14) shots once a day to everyone for 3-5 days. Oxytetracycline is also commonly used in the water, and is less expensive. Since IB is a virus, the only reason for antibiotics is to prevent the other secondary infections. If I were you I would look into testing 1 or 2 sick birds through your state vet or department of agriculture. These 2 links may help there:

    Dosage for Tylan Soluble Powde ris 1 tsp per gallon of water for 5 days.
    Dosage of Tylan 50 injectable is 1 ml given as a shot into the breast muscle daily for 3 days, no more than 5
    Oytetracycline dosage is 2 1/2 tablespoonsful of powder to 1 gallon of water if you use this brand only:

    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    You might also have a problem with coccidiosis, you mentioned birds with diarrhea and the new roosters that shed intestinal lining daily? If you are seeing red or blood in the poop that often that is not shed lining. Especially with new birds being introduced coccidiosis is always a threat, might be a good idea to treat for that as well so you can rule out that problem.

    As for the respiratory issues, yes, it *could* be IB, it does sound like it, but it could be something else as well. I agree with Eggcessive and would have a bird tested if at all possible. Either have a dead bird necropsied or, if you have access to an avian vet they can do blood work and maybe some other lab work to test for various things. That's how we got our diagnosis when we had an outbreak of IB several years ago. It always helps a lot to know exactly what you are dealing with so you can know how to treat/manage it and what to expect in the future.
  4. tezolt

    tezolt In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2014
    With two of the older hens I was given I had to treat for coccidiosis as they were passing straight blood, very upsetting but thankfully they made it. With these roosters, it is pink intestinal lining that changes to shades of mild red sometimes. I have Corid on hand and it saved the other two hens. I ordered Tylan soluble powder and will wait to see what happens. Since I used the Valbazen I haven't seen as much intestinal lining from them, however there still seems to be some, slightly more than normal anyway. I suspected capillary worms since it wasn't straight blood like before, that's why I chose Valbazen. The roosters are very active so if it is coccidiosis, it must be very mild. I will go ahead and run the Corid until the antibiotic gets here, shipping USPS priority so I am expecting it in 2 to 3 days. Will this be long enough? Will it be okay to start antibiotics right after stopping Corid? Can the two medications be given at once? I guess it would not be any different than feeding medicated feed and starting antibiotics, but I'd rather focus on the respiratory illness for now as this is what is causing the most damage atm. I have no local avian specialists and I do not want to cull to send to state vet as no one is acting deathly sick atm and there is only sneezing and some slightly lethargic hens at times. I will be acquiring NPIP testing soon so I will know if the flock is carrying something serious, then in that case I will cull. Will the flock still pass if they are positive for IB or don't they test for this?

    How does the IB virus work... do I have to go for an entire year without a flare up? Or will there certainly be more flare ups and I will just have to wait 5 to 12 months till they stop completely? Do I wait 12 months from their last flare up to introduce new pullets or will I be good October 2015 no matter what?

    It appears I should probably run a treatment of Corid once new chicks or pullets step onto my soil...

    Thank you guys for helping!
  5. tezolt

    tezolt In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2014
    I wanted to post an update and get some advice from anyone offering!

    It has been a couple weeks now since I finished up a 5-day treatment of Tylan Soluble Powder (TSP). Immediately after providing the antibiotic, egg production immediately jumped back up. I am now getting anywhere from 5-7 eggs a day with some 20 degree Fahrenheit nights and no artificial light, I guess that isn't too shabby for 14 hens (2 going through molt) that were producing 12 a day in the summer. However, I am still concerned that some of the flock is still sneezing roughly 2 months later after initial signs of IB and roughly 2 weeks since finishing up the TSP. Everyone seems much better off now though... no clear discharge from nostrils, no rattled breathing, full crops at night, plowing through their layer pellets and their daily ration of cracked corn. The extremely sick, older hen is much better now... no more diarrhea and back to normal habits. I am assuming she caught a strain of the virus that affected her kidneys, hence all the urates and diarrhea, but I find it weird that none of the other hens showed these symptoms nor did any of them get as lethargic... is it possible for multiple strains of IB to run through your flock at the same time and can one strain of the virus compete with other strains? I am debating on whether or not to run another treatment of TSP, or is some sneezing still normal? I am still getting a few eggs that are slightly wrinkled or have small calcium deposits on the top of the egg, are these permanent effects of the infection or only temporary? I also found 1 excessively large egg that was very brittle this week, I am assuming from the same older barred rock described as above... will this be normal every once and a while for her, I don't think she would be starting up her symptoms again would she (I noticed a random egg like this every now and again in the summer)...?

    The majority of symptoms showed up somewhere around early October, but with egg production dropping to near zero in September, I am debating on when the virus was introduced. I have read that different strains of IB can remain in the flock anywhere from 5 to 12 months. I really wanted to raise some layers in another coop just for fun and to sell to good families. This coop would be roughly 50 yards from my main coop that houses my infected flock. Since some of my hens are still sneezing (November 22), when will I be able to safely raise new chicks without having to worry about them being infected? I would hate to sell infected chickens and put someone else through what my flock and I have gone through... Would I be safe next September, maybe earlier? Or do I have to wait until the symptoms stop?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    It is very hard to answer those questions since we are only assuming this was a case of IB. I'd really be afraid to make any suggestions or recommendations only to find out later it was something else altogether.

    After my birds recovered from IB there was never another flare up, no more sneezing, coughing, wheezing...nothing. They got over it and were done with it. Some of the hens continued to lay eggs with rumpled shells for the rest of their productive lives. The others laid normal eggs.

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