chicken flock health question
I am in a period of chicken flock transition and need advice. We currently have two adult laying hens, who are great layers and feel like pets to us. One of these became very sick a year ago with a terrible respiratory issue that led me to take her to the vet. They could not determine the specific illness but we tried antibiotics, which had great results, clearing up all symptoms with the exception of gurgling when breathing and occasional sneezing. These symptoms have never gone away but otherwise she seems very healthy and happy, full energy, eating and drinking habits and egg laying. They have an excellent coop, well ventilated. Our other chicken has never shown any symptoms at all. We are preparing to introduce new young birds that we are raising from chicks to the flock when they are old enough and are considering culling our poor Lucille who shows the symptoms to prevent any of our new ladies from catching anything. We know that we have to cleanse the coop and remove her some time ahead to get things as sanitized as possible. What I wonder is whether we can keep our other lady Myrna, who has never shown any signs of illness, or if she most likely can transmit whatever it is to the new girls as well despite not having symptoms? We really want to keep her as she is a seemingly perfectly healthy, lovely gal who lays great eggs, but don't want to risk all of our new chickens becoming sick as well. Suggestions?
Multnomah County Oregon
The safest rule in chicken flocks is all out and all in. She is probably fine, but there is the possibility she is a disease carrier. It is a hard decision only you can make.