Very poorly hens with runny noses


In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 12, 2012
We have just got back from being away for a few weeks on holiday. Our hens were being looked after while we were away, but the person looking after them had not looked after hens before. While we were away we kept receiving messages to say that one hen had died, then another and then another. We have been home for two days now and our hens are not at all well. Out of 22 birds 18 have got runny noses and two are coughing. All of them have got red mites. Some of the hens are lethargic and sit with their eyes closed. Some have pulled their feathers out and some have lost weight. most of them have stopped laying. It is really sad to see. They were so happy and beautiful before. Can any one offer any advice please?
It sounds like they have a respiratory disease. It may be viral, or bacterial. For now, give them electrolytes and probiotics, and make sure that they don't get too cold. This is all you can do with a viral disease. If the symptoms persist or get worse, try antibiotics. The best antibiotic for a respiratory disease is Tylan50. This antibiotic is sold for large livestock, and isn't too difficult to find. You'll need 20-22 gauge needles and 1cc syringes. The Tylan is injected into the breast muscle once daily for five days. Make sure to switch sides so that you don't irritate the muscle/skin too much. No matter what, Tylan will sting and irritate the bird somewhat, and will probably cause some muscle damage.

You need to treat your chickens for mites as well. Sevin dust (10% works better) is one of the items that you can use to kill mites. You can also get some mite sprays like Poultry Protector, or use Frontline for dogs and cats or Adams Flea and Tick shampoo. Dust/spray the bird's living areas as well, and replace the bedding if possible.

The feathers missing might have been pulled out, or they may be going into a molt. Chickens often molt in the fall, and stress (like what they've been experiencing) will cause a molt as well.

Hope this helps and your hens get better!

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