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Hen with sudden breathing problems

SarahJSarahJ Junior Member
edited September 2010 in "Off Your Chest"

I am new to the forum and new to hen keeping. I have only 5 hens, 3 of which I was given by the previous owners of my house and I recently added 2 more.

The 2 new hens came via friends with a smallholding who buy them from an intensive farm. They are not ex battery as looked in good condition, but both came with the sneezes. I have got on the case and now give them poultry spice and respite and they have been laying daily and happily running around the garden when let loose.

Today I came home form work to let them out and one stayed put in the run. When I approached her I she was not bothered and she has a deeply rattling noise when she breaths. My vet has closed for the day, I have a separate run & little house to isolate her- but will she be warm enough without the others.
What should I do to make her comfortable?
I am trying to be less fussy about my hens as a farmer recently told me "hens are either dead or alive" but I do find myself rushing to the handbook I have as soon as something unusual happens!

please advise


  • Rachy89Rachy89 Member
    edited September 2010

    I am exactly the same if I think something is not right with my girls or boys! I panic or as my boyfriend would say I just fuss over nothing!

    Is there any discharge/mucus from her eyes or nose? I would definately isolate her to avoid spreading anything more. Although it could just be a cold, it does sound a bit like a respiratory infection, and if there is discharge I think it could possibly be that she has mycoplasma. It is very common in chickens but a right pain! In either case she will probably need antiobiotics from your vet. If he diagnoses mycoplasma it is generally a tylan injection as this is proven to be the most effective. He will probably also give you tylan soluble for her water and maybe to treat the other birds too. Another one he could give would be baytril.
    If it is mycoplasma the best way to prevent it, although alot of birds are carriers of it, is to avoid wild birds getting to their food or spreading their droppings in the girls area, though if your girls are outside it can be a seemingly impossible task!
    What I would do personally is ensure she tries to eat/drink, plenty of bedding and ventilation, and get her to the vet.
    Hope this is of some help!
    A fellow worrier!!! x
  • SarahJSarahJ Junior Member
    edited September 2010
    Thank you for the advice. She is still with us and is sounding better now. The other one of the new pair is showing symptoms but I :) am Tylan-ing the whole flock now!
  • Rachy89Rachy89 Member
    edited September 2010
    If others are showing symptoms in that space of time I would be pretty certain in saying it is mycoplasma. Once birds come out with the symptoms it will generally re-occur, especially in periods of stress, upset or illness. The symptoms will hopefully decrease each time so it doesn't become too much of a problem. Barr antibiotics there is nothing you can do now they have been sick with it so keep them healthy with supplements and so on to minimise the risk and effects of when it happens again!
    Hope all is well!
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