Does my chicken have Infectious Bronchitis?

Infectious Bronchitis in Chickens

Infectious Bronchitis is a viral respiratory illness among chickens. Infectious bronchitis is not limited to only the respiratory system, also affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Severity and mortality rate will depend on the chicken's age, diet, levels of stress and overall health at time of infection.

Symptoms of Infectious bronchitis in chickens

  • Cough, which can sound like a yelp, gasping.
  • Sneezing
  • Reduction in weight due to loss of appetite
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Tracheal rales
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing noises - particularly at night
  • Watery discharge from eyes
  • Wet droppings
  • Facial swelling which may indicate a sinus infection
  • Depression

Causes of Infectious Bronchitis

Infectious bronchitis is caused by the coronavirus. This virus spreads rapidly throughout the chicken coop via air, clothing and equipment and contact. Chickens who are older, or in poorer health will quickly succumb to infection. Chicken coops with low ventilation, or with a higher density have a higher rate of infection. Diagnosing infectious bronchitis can only be certainly done via pathology testing

  • Incubation period: 18-36 hours
  • Spreads by: air, fomites, contact, rodents and contact
  • Mortality: Up to 60% depending on conditions and strain

Treatment of Infectious Bronchitis:

As soon as your chicken shows symptoms it is important to isolate and treat the chicken with electrolytes. While there is no formal treatment, Infectious Bronchitis is sometimes treated with antibiotics to prevent secondary infection. Below is a plan for your chicken coop to combat this infection:

  • Isolate infected chickens if possible
  • Provide electrolytes to support kidneys
  • Clean coop, water drinkers and feeders with a suitable disinfectant, or Apple cider vinegar
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation in the coop
  • Keep the coop warm
  • Consider treating with antibiotics to prevent secondary infection
  • Reduce the risk of rodents by reconsidering feeders and waterers
  • To prevent Infectious bronchitis, chicks can be immunised.

Infectious bronchitis in chickens, signs and symptoms