Chickens often catch colds. However, what humans consider cold may not mean the same thing as chicken cold. Your poultry cannot get colds from humans. It is also important to know when they are sick so that proper care is given to them in good time.
The common causes of the signs of a chicken cold are IBV (Avian Infectious Bronchitis) and ILT (Infectious Laryngotracheitis). A chicken will have upper respiratory discomfort if it has cold or cold-like symptoms.
Respiratory diseases in chickens may be caused by extreme temperatures, introducing new chickens to a flock, a dusty environment, and poor coop ventilation.
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Signs of chicken Cold
Signs of chicken cold in hens may include:
- Coughing. If your bird produces a nasty-sounding or raspy cough, it suffers from chronic respiratory disease (CRD). Generally, about 80% of chickens with signs of a respiratory infection have CRD
- A transparent, sticky nasal discharge
- Sneezing that indicates an issue is hindering the normal working of the respiratory system
- Appetite loss. Like humans, chickens with colds or sickness will eat less or refuse to eat. Appetite loss may lead to the slow growth of your poultry since appropriate and sufficient nutrients are not consumed
- Reduction in egg production. When it is not winter season and your flock is not shedding, yet there is less egg produced, the cause may be health-related. Additionally, the eggs produced can be smaller, irregularly shaped, and have soft/thin shells
- Stretching out of the neck
- Labored breathing
- Poor wattle/comb color
However, if your poultry only has breathing difficulty and no other signs and symptoms of cold, it may have a red worm or gapeworm.
In most cases, chickens get attacked by various viruses, bacteria, and parasites. An attack by some pathogens may even cause the death of your birds. Thus, calling the infections chicken cold is not entirely accurate.
Can a chicken recover from a cold?
A chicken often recovers from a cold. However, remember that some types of respiratory infections may cause the death of your chicken, especially when they are not identified and treated earlier.
How long does a chicken cold last?
A chicken cold often lasts around 3-4 weeks. Still, for example, since an ILT can last about 2 months in nesting materials, ensure the beddings are cleaned, and litter is discarded accordingly.
How to care for a chicken with cold
Home remedies for chicken with cold may include Oregano oil, Cinnamon, and Garlic. As natural solutions, they not only give your sick poultry some relief but also afford you sufficient time to seek an appropriate treatment solution from your chicken vet.
Natural antibiotics can treat minor chicken colds and safeguard your poultry from other diseases.
1. Oregano oil
According to various studies, it is more powerful than its dried or fresh form as one of the most effective natural antibiotics. The antibiotic can safeguard your chicken against different forms of pathogens. The remedy works successfully as a disinfectant to cure ear, nose, throat, and respiratory infections.
Add a couple of the oil drops to the water or feed your sick chicken every day until it regains its health.
2. Cider/white vinegar
Relying on its ingredient of acetic acid, vinegar is a powerful home remedy for reducing the level of acidity. It can kill some bad bacteria types, relieve the chicken of throat mucous, and enhance feed utilization.
Mix about 2ml of 10% vinegar with 2 liter water. Give the chicken the solution for 2 to 3 days consecutively every month.
Avoid using undiluted vinegar as it can corrode your chicken’s throat and digestive system.
The spice has excellent antibiotic properties for treating chicken colds. Add some cinnamon to the chicken feed twice a week to prevent and treat infections.
The natural antibiotic can be added as whole cloves to your chickens’ drinking water. Replenish the drinking water after every 2 or 3 days.
Dry granules of garlic can also be added to the chicken feed, about ¼ tsp for every chicken daily, to prevent colds.
Can you eat a cooked chicken that had a cold?
You can eat a cooked chicken that has a cold. Understand that the causes of the chicken cold cannot be transferred to humans; hence, you will not be affected healthwise.
However, a chicken with a cold may have suffered from various physiological changes, making its cooked meat not tasty and less desirable to consume.
How to prevent chickens from catching a cold
To prevent chickens from catching a cold:
- Routinely give them fresh herbs, supplements, or natural antibiotics such as oregano, thyme, turmeric, and garlic. The fresh herbs can deliver exceptional health improvement for your poultry. Also, provide your birds with Pumpkin seeds as they are great for discouraging the occurrence of worms in the digestive tract.
- Ensure the living areas do not pose any health and safety hazards to your flock. Always get rid of chicken waste, provide clean bedding, and properly ventilate the chicken coop.
- Provide a healthy diet. If possible, avoid giving your chickens GMO feeds and make sure the feeds supply all the vital nutrients.
- Avoid sharing your chicken coop tools and equipment like drinking fountains and feeders with your neighbor to safeguard against the potential spreading of infections.
If you fail to prevent your chickens from catching a cold, the immediate step is to undertake treatment. The steps for treating chicken respiratory infections involve isolating sick birds, caring for the sick chickens, treating the infection, and reducing the potential re-emergence of the disease.
Remember, Chronic Respiratory Disease can trigger a re-occurrence of chicken health issues. Consequently, your poultry becomes even more prone to common diseases such as Infectious bronchitis, Avian influenza, and Newcastle disease.
Furthermore, in the wild, chickens used to rely on hiding their deteriorating health to avoid being preyed on and improve survival chances. Thus, your poultry may exhibit a resilient character even at home until the health situation worsens.
In conclusion, always strive to monitor your flock regularly to identify health issues early and take necessary precautions.