sneezing PLEASE READ, now she's wheezing


10 Years
Oct 27, 2009
Carlsbad, CA
Hi, I am looking for some advice...

I have a Buff Orphington, 18 weeks old, not laying yet, fairly large already.
She is active, and eating, I haven't seen her poop (because it is mixed with the others in the flock) she is acting normal otherwise.

My daughter noticed her making a constant complaining kind of noise, it isn't loud but she is making it repeatedly and I noticied that she is sneezing quite a bit more than usual. She seems unsettled and unhappy. We have 3 chickens, I just recently stopped giving them warmth in the coop at night from a 60 watt bulb and increased their ventilation in the coop.

I thought, at first, that she may have had a problem with her crop since she flinched and pecked me when I checked it. So, I gave her a little bit of bread soaked in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. She gobbled that up, then I gave her crop a brief massage and everything felt loose and soft in there.

I'm not sure if there is something I should be doing?

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It has been 4 hours now since we first noticed her complaining. It has not gotten better, it sounds like she is honking every few seconds. Has anyone seen this kind of behavior in a chicken before? I have no idea what to do for her.
I have never heard of this but I wouldput the light back in.....what is the temp. inside the coop.......she might have depended on the light for warmth i have heard of this and it killed a flock of chickens over night!
Does anyone else think I should put the light back in?
The night is still young here, it is 7:45
Our night temps are in the mid 40s, I did close up some of the excess ventilation, there is still over 350 square inches of ventilation under the soffets.

Could a build up of droppings cause this?
If you are worried about droppings building up then it's time for a thorough cleaning. Ammonia buildup is a major problem, and you have to get down to chicken level to smell it.

Being a respiratory issue, I would separate her immediately, putting her in a warmer area. But mid 40s is not a bad temp. We go into the teens at night and I never heat. (almost 18 years, no one has died from the cold!) Since she is sick, she may need the heat just from being inside.
OK, I brought her inside, that separates and warms her at the same time.
Her breathing actually sounds TERRIBLE. She is wheezing horribly. Darn, she's my best girl, we love her! Ugh, this is awful. My daughter is already crying.
Can anyone tell my what the best treatment is? I know people with large flocks would cull a bird in this condition, and that if we treat her and she gets better then she could just be a carrier of whatever made her sick and infect others plus she could be a weak bird after having been sick. But, big sigh, she really has been the best bird we've hatched, she's big and up til now seemed to be the most robust.

So, can someone recommend treatment for her please?
She may be getting ready to lay, and this might explain some of her behavior. They do complain an awful lot before they figure out how to get that egg out and where to put it. How big is their coop? I can't imagine a 60 watt bulb being that much of a change unless it is really small. Check for ammonia buildup, which can really irritate their lungs, and also for mold, as it may be moister in there now. Keep her calm and quiet for tonight, and post again in the morning. Take a really good look at her face, eyes, nostrils for any exudates, and also her vent area to see if there might be any laying issue.
OK, I just took a long look and there is a little bit of clear runny exudate coming out her nostrils. Plus she's a bit irritable. The coop will be cleaned tomorrow first thing.
I have some tetracycline that I could start? Is that a good idea? Or would it be better to wait?
Well, she's awake and alert and not happy about being confined. But her breathing is still awful. There is loud wheezing with every breath. What should I do?
I just gave her some egg with garlic and rosemary topped with a couple drops of vitamins and 2 teaspoons of keifer. She is actively gobbling that up. I would still really appreciate some knowledgeable input though.

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