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Written by Carole

This is a continuation from my last post where I shared with you pictures of my sick baby chickens. At the time I wasn’t sure what was wrong with them except that it was spreading through all of them. We started them on antibiotics in hopes it would turn the rapid spread around immediately. Well that did not happen.

We gave the sick chicken the antibiotics for three days and thought we might be seeing some improvement but yesterday it was evident that the chicken care was not working as we had hoped. I did a little research on the internet, along with a little help from my husband who is educated in raising animals, we have determined that the respiratory illness is a common illness in poultry called Coryza (coriza) or Infectious Coryza.

Coryza is essentially a respiratory illness that is common in flocks of chickens. It is predominately found in small noncommercial or hobby type flocks. Some of the signs of the illness are characterized by nasal discharge, facial swelling normally in the eye area, sneezing, labored breathing, and matted eyes. It is written that the course of the disease is 4 to 12 weeks as it works through the flock. So I have a longtime before it will be getting better; I’m only on week two!

Flock medication with a sulfonamide or antibiotic is recommended. We had already been giving an antibiotic so we changed over to Sulmet. It is a stronger type of sulfonamide and is given full strength for a couple of days and then cut the dose in half. We started the treatment of this drinking water solution yesterday.

This morning I am thinking I am seeing some improvement. Yesterday I had at least five baby chickens who were unable to see due to their eyes being matted shut. Today I only saw about three. Today is day two of the Sulmet treatment so I changed out the water and gave them more of the full strength. Tomorrow I am to cut the dose in half.  From what I read mortality rate is about 20% and so far I have lost none but I can tell some of the birds are not doing very well.

As I work through my chicken care with you, I hope that this information will be of benefit to those who are caring for chickens and might come across this common illness in the future.

Maybe as the chickens start improving a little I will post pictures. I turns my stomach just to look at them. Things out the ordinary make me a little queasy. I was not gifted with the skill of nursing but I am learning (my husband makes me do it). And if I want to keep expanding my flock and caring for chickens, I need learn how to deal with it.

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13 Responses to “Caring for Chickens with Coryza”

  1. Oh no!! Sorry you’re having such a hard time. I hope next post will better news- hopefully the new antibiotic will help.


  2. Me again- I just bought the “Extraordinary Chickens” 2009 calender from Allposters! Thanks for the link!

    Farm Chick Paulas last blog post..Pumpkin, anyone?


  3. I’m proud of you for keeping at it with the chicks. It must be difficult to do all you are doing and then see that you have to do more and something different. Yea for you and hubby!

    Keep us updated!

    dons last blog post..Snow Birds


  4. I am sorry to hear that your flock is not well. Stay positive and good luck with healing your flock.


  5. Thanks Paula, Don, and Barbara, for your well wishes. I am glad to report that today the baby chicks are looking much better. At Paula’s suggestion I am adding antibiotic to my other flock’s waterer just in case. If it spreads at least I know this Sulmet works almost overnight in easing the symptoms.


  6. Paula, Thanks for the purchase. The pictures look wonderful and I am planning on purchasing one myself. You can’t beat the price!


  7. I use LA200, inject high on the inner thigh and only repeat in 3 days if don’t see improvement. One injection usually knocks it out. Catch early in the birds or too late. The one’s that already have matted eyes I would unfortunately pout down.

    Joannas last blog post..Wed Nov 19


  8. Our chicks have experienced coryza last month. Since we haven’t gven our chickens any bacterin for coryza, and proper sanitation was probably compromised, coryza became our problem. Chicks were mostly blind, some were already blind (I thought). They were unable to open their eyes. Tried the product Vetracin Gold Capsule for 1 month old chicks with an everyday washing of the eyes with water. Within 7 days of giving the chicks with this capsule, I had no more problems with coryza.


  9. hello carole i also have had problems with this illness but in older birds i have found out that this problem can be transmitted through the drinking water and caused from wild birds contaminating there food or getting in with the fowls also there is a vac for this you can get from your vet dont worry every flok goes through illness it makes you more observant and it makes your flok stronger.


  10. oh sorry just yesterday i had the same problem of infectious coryza,but i used antbiotics,sulfur,and multvitamins and now i see some improvements


  11. Does this every happen to hen laying chickens and is it better to put down one chicken that has it instead of contaminating the others (35 in all)? I’m so concerned to cause more harm to the others. I isolated my chicken immediately and have not put her back in.

    Thank you.


  12. Hi, I am just now dealing with this. Has been going on for 2 weeks now, all my chickens have it. I have not given anyone anything as I never really get to see them much they free range 24 7. I do put viniger and garlic in there water. I am going to go get some meds for them. I was told it was just a bad cold and not to worry. Well I know its worse than that now. ALL of them are eating and drinking fine and very happy, but they have a strange smell from there heads and snot. Should I cull all my birds and start over? Or will they all be ok? Can I bring in more birds next year and will they be ok? I already have peeps ordered for next year. I love my girls. But if I can not ad to my flock and if they are gonna keep getting this for the rest of there lives I dont want to do that. Please help me with some info. Thanks


    tw Reply:

    Coryza as it was explained to me by an Avian Professor is like having a migraine with a nasty cold and conjunctivitis and the birds it affects will be carriers for life…the Good news is Keflex RX ONLY is a wonderful treatment for it, if you plan on eating the eggs (standard treatment is for 7 days then you can not eat the eggs for 21 days) If however you DONT plan on eating the eggs or the bird itself then Baytril 100 (for large animals) is your best bet…Let me say this again if you are BREEDERS NOT HOBBIEST and DONT EVER EAT THE EGGS OR THE BIRD INFECTED YOU CAN USE BAYTRIL MUST BE RX FROM VET (the problem with Baytril is that if you treat the bird you can never eat the bird or the eggs from the bird,because if you were to ever get food poisoning the Baytril can interfere with the treatment for food poisoning) So that is why you can never eat the bird or the eggs after Baytril treatment. The other good news is that it is not passed from hen to egg so protect your new flock by vaccination keep your newly vaccinated chicks away from all others for 2 weeks. Backyard Chickens has alot of info and so does alot of other sites.You can email your local University to see what they say…some will tell you to cull the flock the good ones will help you find some answers. One more thing Sulfa drugs can cause bleeding check out poultry pedia Medication chart for their recommendations.Also giving any antibiotic along with vitamins is not nesscisarily a good idea some of the antibiotics can actually bind to the vitamins rendering them both useless CHECK WITH YOUR VET.


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