two new hens coughhing and sneezing and rattle when they breath

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8 Years
May 21, 2011
We got two cornish cross hens and a black giant last week....all seemed well uuntil a few days ago...the 2 cornish cross both sneeze and mmake rattly sounds when they breath and sometimes they pant when it's hot...they're still laying and eating drinking ok and have no discharge. I'm fairly new to chickens...any advice on what this could be or what I can do? All three came from my friend's farm and he's had no problems
Some of them get colds. Mine has a cold right now and i give them Tetracycline. It's a yellow powder and i sprinkle it in thier drinking water for seven days even if they sound better before the seven days. I always make sure all the birds get it because colds are very contagous in flocks. I sprinkle enough in the water to turn it yellow. Once in the morning and when i put the night water in the coop i repeat it then too to make sure it's fresh.The only problem is don't eat thier eggs when they are on the medicine. You can get it at your feed store. Hope this helps.
I have the exact same thing going around my flock. Sneezing, coughing, rattling (not as bad now), but no discharge. I'm taking a multi-step approach because I do not want to lose any of them and I have chicks to watch over. Here's what I'm doing.

1. Duramycin (tetracycline) added to their water. 1 tsp per gallon, but I only prepare 1/2 gallon at a time so I do 1/2 tsp. This must be changed every 24 hours as it's not good after that, and you can't eat the eggs for a month once you start them on this antibiotic. Continue it for 7 days.

2. Bleach solution in their drinking water to take care of any e.coli or other bacteria in their water. The recipe for the solution is 2 cups bleach in 1 gallon of water, label it SOLUTION, and put 1 tablespoon for well birds and 2 tablespoons for sick birds per gallon in their drinking water. You cannot use a metal or rubber waterer, only plastic

3. ISOLATION. I managed to keep 4 of my birds in the coop healthy by removing the sick ones immediately. They are housed separately until treated.

4. Oxine AH. I just ordered this stuff, but it's supposed to be excellent for disinfecting and curing respiratory infections. It is safe when inactivated (you activate it with citric acid) and reduces down to simple table salt. Use a fogger or a mister above the chicken's heads so they breathe in the mist, mist their housing, the feeders/waterers, you can add some in the water as well (but do NOT mix the bleach with the or the other!!!!)

That's what I'm doing for now. I might be purchasing the antibiotic Denagard if the antibiotic does not work on the sick chicks, but so far it's working for my two sick hens!
This is NOT a cold. It is respitory infection. Even if they stop showing signs of illness, it will come back (if they get stressed or the weather changes). Your chickens will also ALWAYS be carriers and WILL infect the rest of your flock or any additional chickens you add in the future
Yes, you have to weigh if it's worth risking the rest of your flock or not. My chickens are pets and will be treated as such. Since I will not be adding any more chickens and the new chicks have it now anyway it's worth it to take care of it now and manage it later if necessary. However, if you have a huge flock (I have a small backyard flock) you may just want to cull them and get rid of the illness altogether.
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