Respiratory illnesses are no fun, and some strains can not be treated. I’ve had a respiratory illness in my flock a few years ago, and every hen had to be put down. Some strains are highly contagious, even though I had vet prescribed medicine. It would keep coming back even when the hen seemed to be healed from the sickness. It’s no fun to deal with any illness in your flock, so here’s some tips on helping to prevent and treat a respiratory illness.
What is a Respiratory Illness?
Chickens have very sensitive respiratory systems and are very susceptible to getting a respiratory illness. Issues with a chicken’s respiratory system can be triggered from little things such as breathing an excessive amount of dust or breathing in fumes. Sometimes stress can bring out the underlying issue and cause the illness, which is what I think happened to my birds when they got sick.
Symptoms of any respiratory illness can differ, but here are the main ones associated with common illnesses:
- Infectious coryza: Swollen face or wattles, gunky eyes
- Infectious bronchitis: Decreased egg production
- Newcastle disease (minor strains): Difficulty breathing, swollen face, gunky eyes
- Mycoplasmosis: Foamy eye discharge
Of course, there’s so many of diseases, but these are some of the most common ones. If you see any of these signs in your chickens, try these natural remedies first, because sometimes it may be dust in their sinuses and it will clear up, but if these don’t work, antibiotics will be option number two.
- VetRX: VetRX is a natural antibiotic for chickens that helps prevent and treat respiratory illness. As soon as you suspect something is wrong, add the directed amount into drinking water for a few days. There’s no withdrawal period and is 100% natural. I always keep a bottle handy, just in case. Buy yours here!
- Oregano: As I’ve raved about before, oregano is being studied as another all natural antibiotic. I give it to my chickens fresh out of the herb garden, along with being mixed dried into their feed. It boosts their immune system and keeps them bright-eyed and healthy! Giving your chickens oregano tea is another good idea. Just boil some water, turn off the heat and let oregano leaves steep in the water for 10 minutes. Let cool before giving your chickens the tea. It’s good to give healthy birds along with sick birds. Oregano oil is also another good alternative, perfect for mixing into drinking water. Here’s where to purchase Oregano Oil.
- Probiotics and Electrolytes: While these won’t help your bird get rid of their illness, Electrolytes will help the sick chicken handle stress and give them a dose of vitamins , along with the probiotics to boost the number of good bacteria in their gut, making probiotics good to use after using antibiotics. These can be used together or separately, and here’s a few good brands that I use. Probios for probiotics or Save-a-Chick. For electrolytes I use Save-a-Chick or Rooster Booster Vitamins and Electrolytes.
- Cinnamon: Not only does it smell good, but cinnamon is thought to prevent respiratory issues and ease coughing and sneezing of sick birds. I like to add cinnamon to leftover oatmeal from breakfast along with turmeric, and ginger. Sometimes I like to add a little into their feed mix as well for an added health booster.
- Black Pepper: The other day I was looking through natural things for chickens (again), and I found an article on black pepper. Yep, straight up pepper. Turns out it’s really good at easing chicken respiratory issues like coughing, along with being a good anti-inflamitory and antioxidant and antibacterial.
I’ve read a lot about these natural remedies, and they seem to be very promising to help heal your chickens. I would defiantly go the natural route first, but if your chicken seems to be battling something serious, then a vet visit would be best, if you can find a vet. I hope this will help you tackle respiratory issues and help your sick birds get better, along with preventing any issues in their flock. Thanks for reading!
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Dancing with Chickens