Apr 20, 2018
Austin, Texas
i have a Sussex chick that’s about 7 weeks old. I got her with a group of other chicks and one of them was sick with respiratory issues and eventually developed swollen eyes. The Sussex doesn’t have the respiratory issues like the other bird but she’s been lethargic for a week and all of the sudden her eye looks like this. I’m so overwhelmed. I now have three chicks with eyes just like this and severe lethargy. They’re all still eating and drinking but I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions? I don’t really want to cull them but I also have a flock of 12 adults outside that I have to think of. One of the three sick ones is one from the outside girls that I’ve had in my house now for almost two weeks trying to nurse her back to health. I’m thinking fowl pox as two of the birds (not the Sussex...yet) have the signature sores on their faces. Please help!
I cannot see any typical scabs of fowl pox in the photos, but the eye looks like a respiratory disease such as mycoplasma (MG) or coryza. Does she smell bad? That can be a sign of coryza. With so many sick, your existing flock will eventually become carriers if you introduce these birds. The sick one inside the house may already be exposed if they are near each other. Hand washing and keeping these chickens apart is very important.

I would want to get some testing to see what disease I was dealing with. You can get a PCR test for both MG and coryza if you contact a poultry lab that does this from a swab. You can sacrifice one, and also get a sick bird tested during a necropsy (autopsy) by your state vet. MG is fairly common in backyard flocks, but coryza is a more serious disease. Thick foul smelling nasal mucus, pus in eyes, coughing, wheezing, and rales may be common. The pus needs to be removed from the eye, and it can be thick and hard to get out without squeezing and probing. Antibiotic ointment such as Terramycin ointment can be used twice a day after pus is removed.

MG symptoms may improve with Tylan 50 injectable given orally, but it won’t cure them or make them not be carriers. Dosage is 0.25 ml per pound 3 times a day orally, for 5 days.

If you have fowl pox going around, it can weaken the chicks, so pay attention to how much they are eating and drinking. Do not disturb scabs, since that can spread the disease, and fallen scabs are infectious to others.

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