Just like with people, chickens can get sinusitis: a sinus infection creating inflammation of the air cavities in the passages of their nostrils, which in birds are called nares.
When your chicken has a sinus infection they can’t blow their nose. Instead, the normally hollow areas may become filled with mucus, pus, abscessed material, cellular debris and liquid which are unable to drain. The inflammation in the sinus located close to a chicken’s eyes, often causes facial swelling and the onset of conjunctivitis.
Sunshine, Golden Sebright Hen, 18 months old
Chastity bought 2 hens and a rooster at an auction in July 2019. Two weeks later, one of the hens died unexpectedly of unknown causes. Less than five months later the second hen got sick.
Week 1: Chastity only realized something was wrong when she noticed a hard lump on Sunshine’s nostril, which she thought was a piece of corn stuck on her beak. When Chastity removed it the nare started bleeding. Realizing something else was going on she brought her into the house for observation. A trip to the veterinarian didn’t yield much: no diagnosis, just a cortisone shot and advice to flush her eyes.
Week 6: Sunshine was still sick. Chastity had continued to clean her nares and treated her with a variety of remedies: VetRx, Vetericyn, API General Cure, injections of the antibiotic Oxytetracycline (LA 200) and removed the crusted discharge in her nostrils.
After she was on antibiotics it looked like she had recovered so Chastity put her back with the flock. Two weeks later, she relapsed and the build up in her nares continued.
Week 8: A visit to a second, more experienced veterinarian proved to be more fruitful. He diagnosed sinusitis, flushed her nares, cleaned her eyes and prescribed 1.5ml Metacam, Trioptic P Ointment and Tetroxy HCA-1400. The good news was despite her ongoing issues she went from weighing only 1 lb. on her visit vet visit to almost 2 lbs. at her next appointment.
After many weeks she still had discharge in her nares. Lab work confirmed the presence of E.coli and she was diagnosed with Colibacillosis, which is often associated with respiratory infections. The antibiotics she was first given were not working so her medications were changed. Fortunately the bacteria responded to the second antibiotics.
Sunshine seems to have fully recovered. The only lasting reminder of her illness is her comb has turned a blackish colour.
The vet advised that her illness and relapses could be triggered by stress so Chastity hasn’t returned her to the flock. Sunshine has been living in a pen beside the house and at night she comes into the house and socializes with the dogs and talks to the turkeys in their crates, so she gets to interact with other animals. She also gets to sleep inside each night.
Many thanks to Chastity Ayers for her story and photos, used with permission.