Have Bird Questions? Ask a Bird Specialist.
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!)
Okay, thank you. Do you know if the eggs were treated to prevent the spread of disease?
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?
How long has she been "clucky"?
Thank you. Have the symptoms worsened, stayed the same, or improved since you first noticed a problem?
Okay, thank you. Does she have any discharge from her eyes or nose?
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?
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, *****