Chickens are sick

by Heather
(Spencer, OK)

Question
Chickens are sick : I noticed a few days ago that one of my older hens was holding her head in the air and gasping for air.

She looked pale in the face and her legs were like purple or grey looking. I didn't separate her and thought she was choking on a grape.

The next day she was still doing the same thing and I pulled her out of the hen house and separated her.

She died today and now I have two other chickens doing the same thing. What can I do to make sure no more die and treat the ones that are now sick.

The symptoms are coughing, wheezing, hold head high and gasping for air. They sound wheezy when they breathe and have diarrhea.

Any advice would be great. I bought a few hens from the swap meet and I'm not sure if I bought sick hens from there.

Answer
This sounds like a virus or respiratory infection. It’s possible you brought something in with the new hens.

Some chickens can carry disease and not show signs. So sorry this has happened.

Coughing and wheezing are probably due to mucous and fluids in airways and possibly lungs, especially if you hear rattling sounds; but there are mites that can infest the airways of poultry and other birds and cause coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties.

With mites mucous and congestion aren’t usually present. If it’s an infection antibiotics should help, if you can treat them fast enough. For mites I prefer to use Ivermectin.

It’s a broad spectrum antiparasitic product that works orally, topically and injected. Your veterinarian may be able to give you the proper dosing for your chickens or you can find info on line.

Your local feed store should carry the antibiotics and Ivermectin. You will want to support them with vitamins and possibly provide a heat lamp to help them through. I hope this helps.

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Chickens are sick

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Mar 18, 2011
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REPLY...
by: Anonymous

Thanks, I can't find a vet around here to treat them, but one did say put stuff in the water. I treated for mites a few weeks ago with Lime and water...painted all the boards in it and haven't seen any mites since.

I think I brought a sick hen home from the local swap meet and what ever it had is killing all my hens.

The little rooster and red sex link hen are getting worse with the antibiotics in the water.

I will go to Tractor supply tomorrow and see about buying a medicated feed too to help the rest along.

I think another Hen and my Big Rhode Island Red are sick now...just makes me so mad to think that someone sold me a sick chicken and now my whole hen house is dying. Thanks for your help

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