Vaccinating chickens in Arizona?


5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
Hi all. New chicken owner here. I purchased 6 13-week old chickens this Sunday 4/13/14. 2 Orpingtons, 2 Wyandottes, 2 Australorps from a private breeder in Queen Creek, AZ. They all seemed very healthy but as I observed them on Monday morning, I noticed the small Wyandotte was exhibited behavior different than the others. She was moving her head up and down and opening and closing her beak and her eyes were closed. This continued so I separated her with her own food and water.

To make a long story short, I purchased Teramyacin antibiotic and mixed 3/4 teaspoon per quart of water and gave to her when I got off work that day but she wasn't drinking. I brought her in the house last night and dripped the antibiotic water around her beak and she would drink a little but she was struggling to breath at this point. I was very careful but to late. I gave her more this morning but she died today. I called trying to find chicken vets this morning but the drive and stress I feared was too much to get to one and quite honestly I don't think I could afford one if I got there.

I made the antibiotic water for the other 5 chickens last night and hope I am in time to save them because it sounds like I hear an occasional sneeze. I have placed a bowl of water with electrolytes in addition to their waterer with the medicated water. I am upset of course. Is there anything else to do? I know to make new antibiotic water every 24 hours. Should I give probiotics during the antibiotic treatment phase or wait until after?

I texted the woman I purchased and asked if the chickens were vaccinated and she said no which made me start thinking, should I vaccinate and if so for what and how do I do it? Any help / advice would be greatly appreciated!
Are they on medicated feed? I've noticed that has helped my chicks that I get from people that don't use it. I'd keep them on the antibiotic for a while and try some scrambled egg or mealworms for protein
Medicated feed will do nothing for a respiratory disease, it has amprolium in it which only helps prevent coccidiosis.

To be honest, I would return all of those birds to the person you bought them from, this is not the way you want to start out with chickens. Respiratory diseases are not curable and probably not something you want to have to deal with off and on for the rest of these birds lives. Even if you treat them and they recover they will remain carriers which means they will occassionally have relapses as well as the ability to infect any new birds you get. If you can return these birds I would do so, then strip and thoroughly clean and disinfect your coop/run and leave it empty for a month or so at least...then start over. It may sound extreme but these diseases are a big pain in the backside once you have them in your flock.

Google poultry respiratory diseases to get an idea of what is out there and the difficulties involved in management.
Last edited:
Thank you, Cyan. They've been getting meal worms frequently as treats and good to know it is good for them. I truly appreciate your feedback.

My heart is heavy after reading your post. I have been doing research on chicken diseases since Monday and it is very disheartening. This is most certainly not the way we wanted to enter the world of chickens. We had just finished completion of the chicken coop and yard on Sunday and everything was clean and new. No paint on the inside of the building. Fresh new large pine shavings. Well vented inside and areas of shade outside. My fiancé and I built this for his 9 year old daughter per her request. She just moved out here to live full time and these are her first pets. Ugh.

They were purchased primarily to be pets but running a very close second was fly and pest control. I have 2 horses and for years friends with horses spoke of how they loved their chickens for the fly and pest control they provided. Eggs were just a bonus for the time the chickens laid. Once fully grown we were going to let them "free-range" the 1 acre property we live on and coop them at night.

I have been in text communication with the woman I purchased them from when the little Wyandotte acted differently on Monday, only to inquire about what I should do. She became very defensive and said they were all perfectly fine the day we picked them up and that she didn't sell sick chickens. She is the one who told me to start the other "healthy" chickens on the antibiotic when I texted that the little Wyandotte had died on Tuesday "to be safe". She did not offer to give me a replacement chicken. I have a neighbor who is getting the chickens for the same reasons as myself and while she purchased much younger chicks and from a different person, her breeder told her she would replace any chicks that died (if they did) but none have.

In summary, I do not know if returning the chickens is an option even if the owner would take them back and refund our money. I will investigate that route but I have my doubts after the communications mentioned above. And then even so, don't laugh, attachments have been made. If I can't return them then I am going to have do my best to get and keep them well.

It's late and I'm getting depressed about this whole thing. I have scheduled a house call with one of the few Avian vets I could find but he can't get here until April 29. I guess I will continue to treat these birds and hope for the best. I really don't know what other course of action to take.

Thank you so much for your input. I deeply appreciate it and if you think of anything else, please let me know.
So are any of the other birds showing any symptoms? Still hearing sneezing? Chickens do sneeze in response to environmental things like dust and pollen but a normal sneeze is usually just a soft pffft, nothing snotty sounding. If the bird that died had anything contagious you would most likely see symptoms in your other birds within a week. Hopefully there was just something going on with that one hen and the others will be fine.

The person who sold you the birds may have something in her flock and not even know it. It's always possible to have birds who are carriers of a disease and they don't show symptoms until stressed, such as moving to a new home. Then they have a relapse and show symptoms.

I understand where you are coming from re keeping and treating these birds. If you want to keep them you certainly can treat them and just see how it goes. Although I would only treat if you see actual symptoms. We had an outbreak here 2 1/2 years ago of infectious bronchitis. This was in my small hobby flock, also known as pets lol! We took a couple to my avian vet and treated them all with Baytril as they started to show symptoms and they all recovered. Only one bird has ever shown symtoms again one time since then and it was extremely mild. But some diseases are harder to manage and just keep coming back much more frequently. For that reason getting a diagnosis would help you a lot. If you have another bird die look into getting a necropsy done. Some state labs will do them for free, they will test for everything under the sun and will be able to tell you what's going on in your flock. If there is some disease there, knowing what it is will help you know what to expect and the best way to manage it. And it may not even come down to all that if none of your other birds get sick since we really don't know what was going on with the bird that died.

Good luck with them!
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom