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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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My bantam hen has sneezing,head shaking and rattles when

Customer Question

My bantam hen has sneezing,head shaking and rattles when breathing. She looks well otherwise her feathers are shiny, she is eating well, has a daily dust bath. I bring her inside at night to keep her warm and dry. I there something else I should be doing? I have another bantam hen. She has five week old chicks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Bob. I'm sorry to read of Dot's symptoms. Have you added any new birds to your flock in te past several weeks? (The chicks don't count!)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No I only have two bantam hens. The chicks were from fertilised eggs I purchased.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

Okay, thank you. Do you know if the eggs were treated to prevent the spread of disease?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No not sure.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. As you can probably guess, I'm looking for a possible source of infection, and the eggs could possibly be the culprit. Is Dot laying eggs regularly?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She was before she became clucky. She hatched one chick from the eggs I bought. I have since taken that chick from her.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

How long has she been "clucky"?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Nearly three weeks.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Have the symptoms worsened, stayed the same, or improved since you first noticed a problem?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She became clucky about 2weeks after my other bantam. I took one egg from the other bantam. They hatched a week later. The symptoms have stayed the same.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

Okay, thank you. Does she have any discharge from her eyes or nose?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A small amount of discharge from her nose.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think she may have been sick before I gave her the egg. Because when I would check on her, she would open her mouth in a gasping way. At first I thought this was her defending the eggs but she is still doing the same thing when not threatened.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

When she was still laying eggs did you notice any abnormalities like egg shells that were thin, oddly shaped, rough or ridged, or thin egg whites?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not that I noticed I think one egg may have and a ridge in it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I bought a dozen "fertilised" eggs. Only five hatched.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have to go out now. Will reply when I return. Are you in Australia? Just thinking of time differences.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. There are a number of different poultry disease states that all may look quite similar, but judging from what you're seeing, infectious bronchitis (IB) best fits the symptoms. Other possibilities include infectious laryngotracheitis (tends to have more severe symptoms), Newcastle disease (also usually more severe), Infectious coryza (very putrid odor is associated with the nasal and occular discharges as well as facial swelling), egg drop syndrome, and nutritional roup. You can google each of these conditions and decide for yourself which best describes the condition she's showing. The exact diagnosis of of any of these diseases is quite difficult without performing a post-mortem examination, so we taking our best guess, but infectious bronchitis fits the signs most closely. IB is a viral disease with a fairly low mortality rate in older birds, but the chicks may be more severely affected should they contract IB. IB is incredibly contagious, able to spread more than 1000 meters through the air. Things you can do to make he more comfortable and increase the chances of her survival are as follows. Put electrolytes in her drinking water (you should be able to purchase an electrolyte additive from your local farm or feed store), watch for secondary bacterial infection and use antibiotics if needed. If you can get it there, tylocin (Tylan 50) would be my first choice. Surviving birds have lifelong immunity, but are also lifelong carriers, so you should only add vaccinated birds to your flock in the future, or wait and clear out the old flock before adding new birds after thoroughly disinfecting your premises. Recovered hens usually return to egg production in 6 to 8 weeks, but unfortunately, the former rate of production may not resume, also, the eggs may be oddly shaped or have thin whites. This is probably the least serious of the possible poultry diseases, but its definitely bad enough. Hopefully, she'll get lucky and come through unscathed, but if you should have any more questions, please let me know.

Kind regards, *****

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