Strange cough and breathing. No other symptoms at all.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ParanoidChicken, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. ParanoidChicken

    ParanoidChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2015
    Ocean Park WA.
    I just got 2 hens from a local flock a few days ago.
    a Red star/Production Red and a Amber Link

    They seemed very healthy and still do for the most part.
    But the red is sneezing once in a while and when she is worked up over something I can hear congestion.
    If she is calm for a long period of time. She doesn't sneeze often, but still does once in a great while, and I don't hear any weird breathing noise.
    I asked the person I got them from about it, and she said it could be due to her changing environment. They were in a fairly large outdoor space.
    I read somewhere that they could react to laundry detergent? This is kinda important to know as They do tend to rest on things washed in the laundry.
    But again, only the red is showing any respiratory weirdness.

    She is still shy and skittish a bit. So trying to get close does work her up if she isn't the initiator.
    Once in a while she will climb up on my lap and is calm as ever and that is when I don't really hear any noise.
    When I do hear it, it seems pretty growly for lack of a better way to put it.

    I lightly put my head on her back to listen to her lungs and I was unsure if the noise was just so low of a frequency that it was able to travel really easy through her body, or if some of it comes from within. But when I listen at her beak it definitely sounds to be right there, not muffled as tho it was traveling to get to my ear. If this makes any sense.

    At the end of the day when she is winding down for sleep, her tail and butt seem to move with her breathing, but it doesn't seem labored.
    The Amber shares no signs that I previously mentioned. no breathing issues all seems fine. The following she does share:

    First the red had a lightening of the comb and waddles, like they are mildly dryer than she came here with initially.
    Just today I noticed a slight lightening on the Amber but very faint change. (Yes I am watching for pretty much any potential indicator that could possibly tell me more.)
    Both started the fade on one side with the other still being more vibrant. Tho I do notice this coming and going, sometimes it reverses and then reverses again.
    I have no idea why the waddles and combs would change, they get plenty of water the space is in a good temp range.

    Aside from this there is zero other signs of any other ailment that I scoured the internet and posts here on.
    No discharge, poop is normal and regular.
    Altho from a poop chart I noticed quite a wide range of "normals" that all their droppings seem to resemble.
    I do wonder how often to expect or accept as normal for the intestinal lining bits to come out with droppings?
    #8 image in normals here
    once in a while they have a close resemblance to 1st and 2nd under Ceacal.
    Seems to very closely resemble what I am mentioning except no black bits.
    And sometimes a watery one, but the temp in house never reaches over 70F and they eat and drink pretty often.
    I saw somewhere that one indicator of worms is a huge appetite, weight loss, common watery droppings and fecal matter stuck to eggs.
    This doesn't seem to fit and her eggs are spotless.

    Her appetite seems normal and maybe slightly higher than the Amber but not much if at all.
    They also regularly drink and have clean water all the time. I check it pretty much every other hour or so to make sure it is clean.

    Her tail is up like it should be, during the day the wings are sitting snug to their sides and they are alert and attentive to everything.
    Always talking and active. They lay eggs everyday and the eggs are perfect. They seem to lay the eggs within the same 6 hour window everyday so far.
    The red seems to be doing just fine passing food, her crop doesn't really have any issues at all emptying.
    I thought she might have an issue the other night when she started yawning a bit, so I massaged her crop for a while once I got her to let me.. (She relaxed and nearly went to sleep)
    Then it was fine for the most part. Only 1 yawn but a small one after that.

    From what I see on various disease/infection writeups is she is not showing enough signs to justify a vet visit. But the noise in her breathing does prompt my concern.
    I recently lost a hen in September that was very dear to me and I am a bit paranoid at this point (hence the name here).

    Am I justified paying so close attention and changing thoughts as I see new information and potential indications that come and go?
    Or should I just wait to see if this passes or develops any more obvious signs?

    I do not want to be a last min shopper and rely on the time it takes to get supplies for her life.
    I would like to know what I should be getting as far as emergency meds/treatments for "at the ready" use.
    But for on a limited budget. I can't just buy every known medication and be prepared for all potential outcomes at once.

    I won't do a skin injection for meds. I read horror stories on that. Not even going to attempt it.
    I am not afraid of the injection by mouth tho. But she may fight me quite a bit.

    If I think of anything else or see anything else I'll add to the thread.
  2. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    Hello ParanoidChicken, and [​IMG]

    First of all, and most importantly - DON'T PANIC! We all started out being first time chicken owners, and we all worried about the same things with our flock. It is perfectly normal, and the fact that you are so attuned to the health of your birds is a wonderful thing - it shows how much you care about their health and well-being.

    I would like to know if these are your only two birds, or are they additions to an existing flock?

    Assuming that they are your only birds, it is likely that a change of environment (bedding, grazing etc) could cause an allergic reaction, especially if their new environment is dustier than their previous home.

    So I have more questions - how long have you had them - where do they live - how much space do they have in their run (or do they free range) - and most importantly what bedding / nesting material / floor surface do they have in their accommodation?

    Also, how much confidence do you have in the person you bought them from? Some suppliers are very honest, and sell only healthy birds. Others will deny that their birds are sick, even when the evidence is undeniable. I bought 2 birds from a breeder who has won cups at a national level for birds she shows, and they were covered in lice and had a major respiratory infection (that required vetinary treatment and antibiotics), but when I phoned her to tell her about it she completely denied that they were affected when she sold them to me, even though they had started sneezing in the car on the way home, and had lice the size of soldier ants on them!

    When you handle your birds try to smell their breath - normally you should not be able to smell a chicken's breath, but if there is an infection you should notice an 'off' or 'bad' smell around their face. Look at their beaks and eyes as well - do you see a runny nose (a wet beak starting from the nostrils), or bubbles in the corners of their eyes?

    There are three main possibilites for your girls:
    1. This is a simple reaction to a change in environment - more dust / a different environment has caused a reaction that will settle down in a few days.
    2. The bedding that you are using is not suitable and needs to be changed
    3. They have an underlying respiratory infection that you may or may not be able to manage (some respiratory conditions are treatable but not curable, and some are fatal). Sometimes birds will contract an infection that causes symptoms then seems to resolve itself, but it is never cured - in stressful situations (such as a change of environment) it can reappear.

    I know you gave us a lot of information about your girls, but if you could answer the questions I have asked it would help us give you a more precise answer that will enable you to help them the best you can.
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    If you have an existing flock that you intend to add these birds to then you are wise to be concerned. It's always dicey bringing in new adult birds to a flock. Even with a 30 day quarantine you can still introduce some respiratory junk into your flock and once it's there it's there, sometimes with devastating results. If the one bird is indeed a carrier of something it will also be very easy for you to carry it to your other birds even with these in quarantine.

    How to proceed depends on what you want to do. Back when I used to bring in new adult birds now and then I would quarantine 30 days, deworm and dust for mites/lice whether I saw anything or not, just a standard protocol for all newbies. However, since you already have a questionable bird who does show some respiratory issues, if it were me, I'd return them if possible. We've been down the respiratory disease road here so it's not something I take lightly at all.

    As far as seeing shed intestinal lining? I've been keeping chickens for years and I've seen this exactly once. Otherwise I consider blood in the stool as either potential coccidiosis or parasites, depending on which is more likely in any given situation. Better safe then sorry on that count.
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    With regard to the shed intestinal lining, it is important to note that coccidiosis is not confined to young chicks, as many people think. There are several strains of cocci (I think it is 9, but don't quote me on that - I haven't checked it online!), and any given environment only has a few of them.

    Therefore an adult bird moving from one home to another could well be exposed to a strain of cocci that they have never been exposed to before, and therefore have no immunity to - it would not be a bad thing to treat your girls with Corid as a preventative.

    I have 14 birds, and I see shed intestinal lining once or twice a week (maximum), but in very small quantities. If you are seeing it more regularly in your girls I would treat them as a precaution.

    Please note that there is a difference between bloody poops and shed lining. A small amount of a coral-coloured lining in poop is normal, but large quantities of bright red blood in the poop is not. Also, caecal poops are pretty frequent - they are sticky, dark, smelly as hell, horrible to clean up, but perfectly normal. An average chicken will have at least two caecal poops per day - in my experience usually at night, in the most awkard place to clean them up, and they will promptly tread in them before they leave the coop, thus spreading the stickiness as far as possible.

    (As a side note: It is part of Murphy's law that you will pick a chicken up just after it has stepped in a caecal poop, thus ensuring that it is spread onto your hand and clothing, and that the chicken will promptly panick and run up your arm / onto your shoulder / over your head, providing maximum distribution of said caecal poop, and prompting a hasty retreat to the shower! [​IMG])
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  5. ParanoidChicken

    ParanoidChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2015
    Ocean Park WA.
    Lots of questions to start with.
    I'll do my best to answer.

    We have only had them about 4 days. Sneezing and gowly breathing started on day one.
    These are our only 2 and don't plan on any more as we do the indoor chicken thing.
    They have free roam of the livingroom and dining room and both are fake hardwood floors.
    I plan to build a chicken tractor once I can get a few more pennies and the weather cooperates. Been rainy all the time here lately.
    Then I'll have them in and out of the house, primarily in at night. As I don't trust the predatory situation here.
    The air should be relatively low dust as I run a computer server with an air filter at the intake and various other computers that pull in dust/air.
    We use a large dog crate with the door open and nesting areas near it. For now it has been sheet material that I keep clean. Until I can get a More suitable setup.
    They also seem to like to sleep on the back of the couch the most (leather couch).
    I will be setting up a Sand and DE bath box, but not totally sure about nesting and sleeping area. I have not seen a whole lot of examples to work off of for indoor only chickens.
    But I know they exist and seen a following back when we had our first bird. I just never seen setup info that gave more details.

    The person I got them from seemed very knowledgeable and friendly, She is in the neighborhood. Tho I don't know her, she was quite helpful, mentioned this site. As well as gave me many tips on where to get feed and such local. It also seemed as tho she would sell me the feed they have always eaten. I asked her this, she didn't push it. So to be honest, I am unsure. It did seem she would take them back if we had issues, she said something to this effect towards the end of our meeting. But with the holidays I think she may have been busy when I messaged her about the bird sneezing. The first time she suggested it may be the new environment. Second message when I was getting a little bit more concerned as to if she knew or not. (I was thinking of all the birds, not just the ones I have, but the ones at her place and any others she may have sold). I didn't go into that concern detail, but I reiterated that it seems more than a passing reaction maybe. But got no reply.

    Considering how attached we are to them and them to us now. I would have a hard time giving them back. But I would not turn down some assistance in the treatment if indeed it originated at her place. So far I have been unsure what the underlying issue is, and how long something that would be the issue takes to go from catching to incubation to showing these signs. So I can't be sure where/why it started.

    The lining I saw maybe once per bird, otherwise its been a small amount of blood per bird nothing bright and more than a bit coating the poo, I had to mash it in toilet paper to notice it. This happened maybe a hand full of times.

    Only the red is showing any respiratory signs. I don't really smell anything other than what they just ate.
    Earlier today the red sneezed and a clear drop flew. I am unsure if that was just from water that she recently had or not.
    I looked down her mouth and everything looked right, no lesions, spots, visible worms, no build up of mucus or anything.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Given your situation I think you would be fine to simply keep an eye on the sneezer and see how things go. If she is otherwise bright, active, eating/drinking then I'd just watch and listen. The stress of moving to a new home can bring on symptoms in a carrier bird. If it progresses into coughing and rattling breathing or wheezing then you will need to treat her.
  7. ParanoidChicken

    ParanoidChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2015
    Ocean Park WA.
    She isn't wheezing yet, but there is rattling.
    What is best to treat her if it isn't an allergy?
  8. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    My vet recently prescribed Baytril for a respiratory infection in my flock, but only after she had seen the worst affected bird, checked her over and taken her temperature to verify that she had a fever. (If you do that yourself then don't forget that a chicken's temperature is higher than a human's - normally around 40 - 41°c)

    Although in some circumstances there is no real alternative to treating with antibiotics, I am very reluctant to use them on either my flock or myself unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are not certain exactly what you are treating then you could actually do more harm than good to your birds by giving antibiotics. As long as your girl is eating and drinking well and is not showing any other symptoms I would hold off treating her. However, should the symptoms get worse (wheezy breathing, bubbles in the corners of her eyes etc) then I would suggest taking her to a local vet if possible, and only self-prescribing antibiotics as a last resort.
  9. ParanoidChicken

    ParanoidChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2015
    Ocean Park WA.
    I really appreciate all the replies. Very informative and helps put me at ease a bit.
    My last reply may have sounded too short and like I didn't read a suggestion now that I look back on it.
    I have been pretty tired and such watching over her and then her sister had a slight egg bind issue which we just resolved this morning.
    She has been all over me like she is thanking me for helping her feel better :)

    My reply before about asking what I should use, I could have expanded on.
    I noticed quite a few different types of Corid, and dose suggestions.
    But also as you said KayTee I did notice quite often that if treating with something that is not needed or wrong, could make something worse.
    Guess maybe I had a touch of info overload for a moment and tiredness.

    She has not looked any worse, and is very active. Infact she is a food bully :-( She hardly lets Becky near any food, and there are multiple food and water options out.
    So her energy level is no where near effected.
    For now I think I'll opt for the wait and see if things clear up or anything pointed develops.

    I did a small test lastnight and had her sleep away from a source of potential irritant, she still sneezed but no where near as much.
    (We both smoke, and discovered that Goldie may just be sensitive to even residual smoke on the cloths.)
    Guess its a great reason to quit.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Corid is for treating coccidiosis, it won't do a thing for a respiratory disease. And if it's a viral disease, which many of them are, antibiotic's won't cure it either. However, the danger with any respiratory disease is how quickly it can morph into secondary bacterial infections and pneumonia. That's why most people will treat when they start hearing wheezing or rattling breathing. It's those complications that most often kill the bird rather then the disease itself. If you can prevent that they usually recover.

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