Chick breathing funny

Question
Chick breathing funny: My 1 week old baby chick is breathing funny through its mouth and lying down I need help!

Answer
It’s possible it’s developed a respiratory infection, or has respiratory irritation from something in its environment. Droppings can build unhealthy ammonia fumes that make chick’s sick.

This one may benefit from a medicated chick start for a week or so. Feed stores carry a vitamin and electrolyte product for stressed chicks that may help this one recover and do well again. If you have other chicks, I would suggest giving that to them, too.

It’s rare for such young chicks to develop serious disease, unless exposed to other poultry or a poultry environment that carry disease.

Young chicks can be more at risk due to their immature immune system.

Their little lives are fragile, especially when sick, so it’s important to act quickly, and hopefully you will be able to save it.

It’s probably best to separate it from any others, just in case it has something contagious.

A sick chick is a breeding ground for bacteria and possibly virus that could spread through it’s breath or droppings.

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Respiratory illness caused by chickens

by Jill Taylor
(Indpls, In)

Question
Respiratory illnesses caused by chickens: Are there any lung or respiratory illness (in humans) that are caused by chicken poop?

Answer
Traces of chicken poop would have to enter the human body somehow. To cause respiratory illness, tiny air born particles might be inhaled and cause simple irritation, or if there is a communicable disease present, that could be spread.

Diseases are all different in how they are spread and many chicken diseases, including parasites, are “host specific” meaning they cannot live in/on humans.

Some people are highly allergic or sensitive to lung and other respiratory irritations, and this can happen even if no chicken disease is present in poop.

Intestinal diseases, including parasites, can be spread to humans through the mouth. A person would have to come in contact with infected poop, possibly not wash hands thoroughly, and ingest worm eggs, virus or bacteria.

Chickens processed for food, if conditions are unsanitary, can also spread disease, as well as eggs from chickens living if filthy conditions.

When cleaning out a chicken coop it’s a good idea to wear a dust mask, to prevent air born particles entering your respiratory system and causing irritations, allergies or infections.

It’s also a good idea to keep a chicken coop as clean and dry as possible to prevent the build up of bacteria and irritating ammonia fumes, which aren’t healthy for chickens or people.

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Poland hens

by Cheryl
(England)

Question:
I am in England and have 4 Poland hens of approx 20 weeks old
One seemed very lethargic and is stretching her neck upwards and gaping her beak.

The other 3 seem to have developed either sneezing or a rattling chest.
The 3 are lively, eating well and have no nasal discharge and I am treating them with an antibiotic for respiratory infection.

I have had Polands before from a different breeder and they also had respiratory problems. Do you think it is something to do with their breed and the stress of being moved to a new home has brought it on?

Answer:
I wouldn’t be able to tell you about Polands in your area. In the US, I have not noticed the breed (we call Polish) particularly prone to respiratory infections.

I have noticed that often respiratory infections are brought on by vitamin deficiency. The stress of being moved around, can suppress the immune system and deplete certain vitamins.

I would check the crop of all the birds. Sometimes, if you add antibiotics to the water, they don’t want to drink and the food in their crops can become dried out and solidly impacted, or the antibiotics can slow the natural break down of crop contents.

I would keep them warm by offering a heat lamp. This can give a boost to the immune system. Offer a good variety of foods, including greens, some fruit, whole grains and high quality feed.

Try to keep stress to a minimum as they settle in. I would finish the advised course of the antibiotics, since it is begun, but also find a good vitamin supplement for stress and give that as well.

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Sick Hens Eyes Crusty

Question
Sick Hens Eyes Crusty: Noticed I had what looked like a blind hen. When I picked her up her nose and eyes were crusty (Like she had pecked at an egg) I cleaned the area the nostrils are fine but her eyes have not cleared up. Will drink doesn't eat I have removed her from the coop.

Answer
The crust you see is most likely due to an upper respiratory infection. Try to keep eyes and nose cleaned of this material.

A veterinary eye ointment and antibiotics should be available at the feed store and I would suggest a vitamin electrolyte supplement for her and the whole flock.

Choose the antibiotics that best fit her symptoms and follow directions. It would be good to give her some extra warmth with a poultry heat lamp as you treat with antibiotics and until she is well enough to return to the flock.

The warmth, vitamins/electrolytes, and keeping her eyes clear will probably boost her appetite. As long as she fails to eat and drink enough on her own it would be good to baby her and offer moistened feed several times a day, even some fresh fruit to get her blood sugar up.

Often, the weakest chicken in a flock will show signs of illness first. This doesn’t mean there is a contagious disease, but possibly a situation in their environment that needs correction.

Keeping the coop clean and dry as possible, offering clean water and good quality feed is basic. You might find offering vitamins beneficial, as directed, to the whole flock, especially during winter months.

A build-up of ammonia fumes from droppings can irritate eyes and respiratory system, so if the chickens spend a lot of time inside, you might want to give the coop a thorough cleaning and lay down fresh shavings.

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Chicken weezing and coughing

Question
Chicken weezing and coughing: I have 5 chickens; three of them are being pecked by two others. One of them has no feathers missing and I am assuming that she is the dominant one.

One other has few feathers missing. The other three are almost bald on their chests and down their backs to their tail feathers. They do have tail feathers.

We have powdered them and their roosts with seven which was recommended by the feed store. I am wondering if I should put something called "rooster-booster" on them to stop the constant pecking on the three chickens.

I have another question, which is more of a concern to me. One of the chickens has a wheezing and a cough problem. What can I do and is it contagious? I am anxiously waiting for your response. Thank you.

Answer
Separate the two bullies for a couple of days. Allow the three that are being pecked to establish their own little flock.

Then you can introduce the others one at a time. This will make the aggressive hens lower on the totem pole, so to speak.

I am also very concerned with the hen’s coughing and wheezing. That one should be put into isolation immediately. Watch to see if she is eating and drinking.

Add some water soluble vitamins and broad spectrum antibiotics to the water. Kick up her protein with a bit of canned cat food. Some plain yogurt will be welcomed by your hen. All respiratory illnesses can be contagious.

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