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Probably the most common of all the respiratory diseases, bronchitis virulence will depend upon the ate of the bird, prior vaccinations or maternal immunity in young birds, the strain of the bronchitis, and any byproduct infections such as mycoplasma, E. coli, or Newcastle disease.
Between half and one hundred percent of the flock will catch the disease and the mortality rate will run between zero and twenty five percent. It is caused by a virus that has a high mutation rate. Infection occurs through contact, sneezing, and coughing, with an incubation rate of eighteen to thirty six hours. Birds can be carriers for up to one year and the virus can survive for up to four weeks without a host. Poor ventilation and crowded conditions increase the risk of infections. The virus can be killed using solvents, heat, alkalis, and disinfectants.
The symptoms are huddling, listlessness, loss of appetite, coughing, gasping, wet liter, diarrhea,
Treatments include Sodium salicylate 1gm/litre (acute phase) and antibiotics to control secondary infections. Soluble Tylan for mycoplasma infections is a good idea. There are live vaccines, maternal immunity will protect chicks for two to three weeks and immunity will begin ten to fourteen weeks after vaccination.
Past the above treatments simply keeping the birds clean, warm, and dry is about all you can do other than giving the coop a good disinfecting. As wild birds will spread the disease we come back again to the value of a good bird proof/rat proof treadle feeder to prevent diseases.