Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Can chickens get colds?

A few days ago I went downstairs to my basement barn/garage and my pet Easter Egger, Eastie, wouldn't come to me. She always comes running to me as soon as I open the door. I've had her 2 years and she has never come to me before. She just sat there and fluffed up her feathers.
The day before was a sunny "warm" day. It got up to about 50 degrees so I walked the girls out to the real coop and run. I hate having to keep them penned up, but these coyotes around here are crazy. I walked them out there and left them out for a few hours. It was wet out, but still, I figured that the best thing for them was to get them out as much as possible. The back garage isn't heated at all and it still gets cold enough for the water to freeze if it's really cold, so they aren't being totally pampered. I know that I'll have to get them reaccoustemed to being out, but at 50 degrees I would have never thought they'd get sick. Maybe it's the hay on the ground of the run??
After I went over and got Eastie I saw that her mouth was a bit open and she was "gurgling". She sneezed and snot came out of her nostrils. This seemed like a cold to me. I saw on the boards that chicken don't get colds. Maybe they meant that they don't catch them from us?? I wrapped her in a towel and brought her into the house to find information on the computer. My husband kind of looked at me funny when he noticed I had Easter wrapped up like a baby on my lap. He gets it though:) The man is just glad that I have my chickens to keep me happier living up here. It's the only benefit I see to living up here in the "Arctic Wasteland". I found some posts that mentioned an antibiotic. I needed something now and with 4 kids I can't take her to an expensive vet. We have a shortage of vets up here in the first place.
 I've had parakeets most of my life and when we had one get sick a few years ago with respiratory issues I got her some Ornacycline from Pet Smart for like $7. The package says "safe to use with all species of birds." Chickens are indeed birds, though they don't seem to be sometimes.  I kept her in the heated basement in a dog kennel for 2 days to keep her warm and to keep her away from the other 4 girls. Her breathing got totally better after a few good snot blow outs:P I had to give her the medicated water with a dropper to get it down her throat. 
I went down first thing this morning to bring treats to all of them and now they are all gurgling. I put treatment in the water and just gave a days worth to them so I can keep it fresh and add more in the morning tomorrow. It says to treat for 5 days. I have to look up how long to dispose of the eggs if they lay any. I should have known something was up when I didn't get any eggs at all yesterday. It breaks my heart. I have to get down there and totally clean out all the hay but I can't with 2 feet of snow on the ground. I saw so many people say that hay was good, but now I see more that says not to use it. From now on I will only use the pine shavings. I am really hoping this week will warm up so I can clear out everything and start fresh.
Please Spring....I'm waiting........