|Our Brahma, Nancy Sinatra, the one who started it all!|
When I first notice the chicken is feeling ill (she stays on the roost after everyone else is off or kind of just stands around the chicken yard) I immediately get her and put her in a large tub lined with hay. If you have multiple chickens sick, you would need to isolate them in another coop or pen of some sort. I provide her with fresh water (I use distilled and put 5 drops of GSE in it, which is grapefruit seed extract if you didn't happen to read my previous post) and food (our food consists of laying crumble, scratch, sunflower seeds, wild bird food, diatomateous earth, kelp and green tea powder). At this point, they may or may not still be eating and drinking. I then begin dosing them with 3 droppers full of colloidal silver (I buy Silver Boost from Iherb, more about that at the end of the post) in the morning and evening. I also give them water with a couple drops of GSE a couple times a day (mid morning and late afternoon). If the chicken is no longer eating, it is absolutely essential to get something down her. I use almond milk or store brand ensure and add 1/2 t of my homemade drench. This is made from 2oz of hemp oil, 2 oz of molasses, 1 oz of corn syrup, 1/2 T of kelp and 1/2 T bee pollen which I smash with a mortar and pestle. I give about 2 T of this milk mixture twice a day. When you are administering this much this many times a day, it can get a bit time consuming so I would often skip the GSE in water and just add a few drops to the milk mixture. Obviously the more vigilant you are, the quicker your chicken will get better, but sometimes life happens and we just have to do the best we can.
I will also admit that during all this, I have thought, more than once, that it would be so much easier to just humanely end the chickens life and not have to deal with this anymore but unfortunately, I am not at a point where I can do that. All my chickens have names and distinct personalities. In the future, I do not plan to name chickens but this was our first go around and they are as much pets at this point as egg providers.
For the colloidal silver, I purchase mine from Iherb.com (use code CAN094 to save $5 off your first order). The Morningstar Minerals Silver Boost is a concentrated formula that you dilute yourself so you actually get several bottles from 1 bottle. They suggest you dilute down to 5ppm. I dilute down to a little more than 10ppm. I use an 8oz bottle (my old silver bottle), put in 1/2oz of Silver Boost and fill the rest with distilled water. I give my kids 1 teaspoon a day (usually) or when we are being exposed to people who are sick (best on an empty stomach) and it really helps keep everyone well. Also, on the subject of silver, I would advise against making your own as the only reports of anyone turning gray from its use came from people who made their own and took massive doses.
Anyways, I hope this helps anyone dealing with respiratory illnesses in chickens and if you have any questions, please feel free to post them!
UPDATE: As of June 2011, we have remained free of all illness. We are putting a dropperful of GSE in a gallon of water (total of 4 separate waterers) daily and everyone has remained well. We have had a couple of instances where someone sounded congested but they did not get sick and in both cases, by the next day, no longer sounded congested. Also, we have had chicks born from chickens who previously suffered from coryza and they have shown no signs of illness. I believe they are carriers and will never exhibit any signs of illness. I believe that the chickens we purchased from the farm are also carriers as they have never gotten sick and I believe that Nancy Sinatra was not born and raised on that farm. I think she came from somewhere else and when exposed to the carriers became ill. If you have chickens with this condition, it is imperative that you understand that you cannot bring in any new chickens and you cannot give chickens away to anyone who already has chickens. If you are going to keep them, you can only increase your flock by hatching out eggs from your infected chickens.
Update: As of January 2012, we are still free of illness. We now have an automatic waterer and are not as vigilant as we used to be about making sure they get the GSE everyday but even through the cold, we have not had one chicken get sick. We have also not had any of the chickens we hatched out show any signs of illness, however I am quite sure that they are carriers and will not get sick.
****Also, please see my post on MMS. Bathing in it is especially helpful when an animal (or human) is not taking anything by mouth. I've bathed all my sick chickens in it.