What to do with early signs of respiratory infection?


In the Brooder
Jul 30, 2019
A week ago I posted a question regarding a sick cockerel, who I suspect has a respiratory infection. To sum it up, I initially thought his symptoms were signs of potential cocci + young rooster fights. I began treatment for coccidiosis, moved the other boys to their own coop, left him with the girls, but within a few days realized I was wrong. He's since been isolated inside, given antibiotics, been to the state poultry center for care, but is still in bad shape.

I know my inaction definitely exposed my entire flock to whatever he has. Two days ago I noticed two chickens sneezing; one 5 month old hen, one 3 month old pullet from the sick boy's flock. (Two different age groups have separate coops/runs but only divided by wire.) Maybe twice in fifteen minutes. But I've seen each of them sneeze a few times since.

The older girl has been taking a lot of dust baths because of the heat, while the younger one has sneezed just walking around the run. Oddly, the sick cockerel hasn't sneezed once. If it was any other time I'd assume it's because we live where the soil is 90% red clay, without any rain for over a month. Very dusty. Definitely not this time, though.

I'm very grateful for the responses to my previous post, and any input on this would be appreciated just the same.

1) Should I immediately isolate both the chickens I've seen sneezing? Maybe just the younger pullet, who is the same breed & age?

2) Is there any medication recommended to fight early signs of respiratory issues? Would treating an entire flock with one antibiotic be foolish?
As you haven't gotten a response - it's always good to isolate any chicken looking to be sick, particularly respiratory.

Suggest you do a search for "respiratory medication" by casportpony and eggsessive, the resident folks with lots of medical flock-owning experience.

I personally would not ever treat an entire flock with antibiotic. But I have an organic flock so I am not that familiar with meds and have been lucky on communicative diseases.
Sneezing occasionally without other symptoms, such as watery, foamy eye, nasal drainage, crackles when breathing, or wheezing, may just be a reaction to dust or to the powder in feed. If the same bird sneezes often every few minutes, then that might be a virus called infectious bronchitis. If there are some of the other symptoms, then it might be a bacterial disease such as MG. There are a few others (coryza, ILT, or aspergillosisi) that you can read about here:

I would not medicate with antibiotics if you only see a sneeze, and if you do medicate, you would only treat a bird with symptoms. Tylan is an antibiotic for MG, and if more symptoms occur, you may find that in feed stores or online.
He's since been isolated inside, given antibiotics, been to the state poultry center for care, but is still in bad shape.
Did the state poultry center give you a diagnosis? Did they do testing? They would probably be the best ones to advise you on how contagious whatever your cockerel has might be. Without knowing what you are dealing with, it would not be wise to treat your whole flock. Can you isolate the sneezing birds without exposing them to the sick cockerel, so you can watch for more symptoms?

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