What to do if meaties have cold?

lsv313

Chirping
9 Years
Jul 23, 2010
110
1
99
Everett, WA
I'm not sure if it's a cold or something else, but a couple of my meaties are making a gurgling sound when they breathe (sounds almost like a coffee percolator). One of them keeps opening and closing its beak like it's struggling to breathe. They are eating and drinking and acting normal, just sounds like something respiratory. They are 6 weeks old and free range around my backyard, and are in an outside tractor coop under a heat lamp at night. I have a total of 25. I am giving them apple cider vinegar and electrolytes. I'm not sure what else to do. I've read several of the other threads on treating colds and many recommend antibiotics, but since I'm eating these, I'm not sure if I should treat them differently.
 

CMV

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
6,770
197
281
I would process the sick ones now. They may have a respiratory infection, but they also may be showing the first signs of heart failure. Wet lungs are one of the signs that the heart is not pumping sufficiently/efficiently. Culling the ailing birds now may mean the difference between getting a small carcass or no carcass at all when they drop dead from heart failure. It also may mean that you could stop the spread of a disease before it infects the whole group. I'm not entirely certain you have a disease, though. Meaties are notorious for having weak hearts.

Good luck.
 

lsv313

Chirping
9 Years
Jul 23, 2010
110
1
99
Everett, WA
Thanks for the info- it never even crossed my mind that it might be heart related! (this is my first time with meaties - or pretty much any chickens for that matter!) Since I don't know how to tell for sure, will it still be ok to eat them if they might be sick?
 

ChIck3n

Chirping
9 Years
Apr 12, 2010
102
0
99
Texas A&M
As stated above, go ahead and process the sick ones now. Before you eat them, I recommend doing a simple necropsy to look for signs of infection. This may sound weird, but it's quite simple. After killing them, cut down the side of the mouth/neck to expose the trachea (big round hard tube thing). Cut this open and look for any signs of infection (blood, yellow or greenish pus, lesions, etc). You may want to follow this down and look at the lungs, they should be a bright pink color and easy to spot once you remove the other organs (liver, heart, intestines). Observing the lungs would require removing the breast, but you can still save the meat and I would recommend doing this on at least 1 bird. You could probably post images here for us to look at.

It would depend on the disease, but I personally would not eat sick birds.
 
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Brunty_Farms

Songster
12 Years
Apr 29, 2007
2,305
36
221
Ohio
More than likely it's just MG... which in short is "chronic respiratory disease" If the birds have contact with wild birds it is more than likely to hit your flock, especially in any type of stress. Let them just weather it out, it will slow their growth but they will be normal other than the occasional puffy nose or watery eye. Their eye may even swell shut, if it does go that far, I would cull. However most meaties can overcome this in about 2-4 weeks. By processing time, you will be good to go. Just keep the electrolytes in their water until you see signs of improvement.


If it's heart failure you're going to know it, heads will turn purple/blue right before they die. If their combs are bright red I wouldn't worry to much about it, especially if you're not feeding them at night.... example: 12 on 12 off feeding schedule.

Good luck, personally, I would wait it out.
 
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Chickenaddict

Songster
11 Years
May 19, 2008
3,691
63
223
East Bethel MN
If it is MG or CRD I have read ALOT of horror stories about people having that run thru their flocks and having to CULL all birds! It is a highly contagious disease and can be passed to other peoples birds via your clothes or shoes ect. It's not something that should be waited out in my opinion. Chickens don't get colds they get diseases. Now I have no experience with meaties but I have had experiences with CRD. Some birds I bought had it but because they were in quarentine and I washed up and changed clothes before handling my other birds no harm was done. The sick birds were culled. I would research poultry diseases and see if you can diagnose the problem, if treatable then treat if not I would cull and not eat the bird.
 

jaku

Songster
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
2,134
7
191
Howard City, Michigan
Quote:
I agree with Jeff. Wait it out and if they're sick, let them either get over it or die. Personally, I wouldn't care to weed through my young birds to pick out and eat the sick ones. You may lose some, you may not, but when you go to process them, you'll be eating healthy birds. Don't worry about the sick ones infecting your other birds- they've all already been exposed to it already. Birds aren't known for long, drawn out illnesses, so the problem should take care of itself either way within a couple of weeks.
 

lsv313

Chirping
9 Years
Jul 23, 2010
110
1
99
Everett, WA
I just got home from work, and it has spread - many more are sneezing now - although I still only have the one making the gurgling noise and one opening and closing it's beak to breathe. Still eating and drinking alot, although they haven't ventured out as far into the yard today. I think I am going to wait it out at this point, because they've obviously all been exposed, and if I butchered the ones showing symptoms - that be a huge percentage. At least by waiting I'll have a chance at them recovering and being able to eat them. If they don't make it, it's not a loss to me because I wouldn't be able to eat them anyways. If they appeared to be suffering alot, then I would cull them, but like I said- they seem otherwise fine - just sneezy.
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I'm continuing the vitamins/electrolytes for now. I have been doing the 12 on/12 off feed schedule. If anyone has any other suggestions for helping them recover better/sooner, please let me know!
 

Brunty_Farms

Songster
12 Years
Apr 29, 2007
2,305
36
221
Ohio
This is why it's pointless to process them or cull them just because one or two get sick... because like Jaku said... they are all effected. Definitely sounds like MG.... What you can do... which is totally up to you, is go to your local TSC and get some Tylan 50 injectable. Inject 1/2 cc per bird in the breast three days in a row. This along with vitamins will help them overcome their CRD/ MG outbreak. Wait about three weeks before you process.


Should take about 5 days before you notice the sneezing subside but birds will act better right away.

Nasty disease that doesn't really kill the birds just severely hinders their growth and production. More than likely if you have layers, the disease was transferred from them by probably your clothes or shoes. If the birds are able to roam together than more than likely it was a direct contact that spread it.

Any new birds? This is why it's extremely important to always buy eggs or chicks from good sources (even though MG is transferred through egg as well). Never buy started birds for any reason from anyone. That's just the way I do things here because the risk are too great. If possible purchase from hatcheries that are MG monitored and this will greatly reduce your risk of your birds getting it. Do keep in mind that wild birds do carry this disease too so keep all feeders and waters inside and keep contact to a minimum. Sparrows and starlings are the worst..... wish those birds would have stayed in Europe!

If you have anymore questions on the Tylan 50 I can help you if needed.

Good luck.
 

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