Alongside prevention, early treatment is necessary when approaching chicken health. One such poultry illness that requires immediate treatment is Chicken Respiratory Disease (CRD).
How do I know if my chicken has a respiratory infection?
Chicken Respiratory Infection will first present itself with ‘cold symptoms’. However, chickens do not get colds, so if your hens present with the symptoms below, then your should seek out treatment immediately and instigate isolation procedures.
Symptoms of Chicken Respiratory Disease (CRD)
- Sneezing. Sneezing can be pretty normal, particularly if there is dust in the air. Prolonged sneezing is not normal. Sneezing may sound like a little squeaky toy.
- Coughing. A Chicken coughing will sound like they have something stuck in their throat
- Wheezing. This sound will vary between each hen, it can sounds like a rattle as she breathes, or even a whistling sound with each intake and exhale of breath.
- Nasal and eye discharge
- Swollen nasal passages/ sinuses
- Decreased vitality. You may notice that your hen’s behaviou is off, and they aren’t their usual spritely self. Lethargy is a symptom of illness
- Poor appetite. Your hen isn’t up to eating
- Not producing as many eggs, or egg production has stopped
What is the treatment for Chicken Respiratory Disease
Chicken Respiratory Disease is an illness that does require medical intervention in the form of antiobiotics. If your hen is not treated they will ultimately succumb to the disease – even if they were in otherwise healthy condition. The following intevention steps will help improve chance of recovery and reduce risk of transmission within your flock
How to treat CRD
- Isolate sick hens
Chicken respiratory disease is highly contagious, posing a risk to your entire flock. It is best chicken-keeping practice to isolate any poultry with symptoms of illness even if you have no idea what is wrong with them. When isolating hens, you should provide them with their own source of clean drinking water and feed.
- Treat the illness
CRD is caused by a bacteria (Microplasma gallisepticum) and therefore antibiotics must be used in the treatment plan. Broad-spectrum antibiotics for chickens are available over the counter, and do not require a visit to the vet.
If you have caught this infection early it may be possible to treat with VetRx Poultry Remedy.
- Care for your sick hen
Your hen will require a little extra attention to help her recover from this infection. You can help her by ensuring she takes her medication, adding a probiotic to her diet and an electrolyte solution if required. If your chicken is too unwell to drink, you will need to administer her medication through a dropper
- Look towards prevention
Coop management can go a long way in the prevention. Environmental triggers that put your chicken’s under stress can lower their immune system making them more susceptible to succumbing to the bacterial illness.
Other illnesses with similar symptoms
When looking to diagnose your chicken with Respiratory Disease it is also important to rule out other illnesses with similar symptoms. For instance, a chicken with gapeworm will present with symptoms of coughing, wheezing and reduced vitality.