What is Mycoplasma in Chickens?

Mycoplasma Gallisepticum (MG) is a bacteria-like organism that causes respiratory disease primarily in chickens and turkeys but it can also infect gamebirds, pigeons, ducks, geese, peafowl and wild birds. MG infection in chickens is also known as Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD).

It sounds a lot more serious than it is, think of it is a chicken cold which is treatable with an antibiotic.

The mortality rate is fairly low if caught early enough, if left untreated it can make the bird very unwell and they can die.

What are the main symptoms of Mycoplasma in chickens?

  • Runny eyes, nose
  • Breathing problems, this can be a wheeze or cough and is more noticeable at night when the birds are settling down to sleep.
  • Sneezing, we call this the “snick”, it’s a short sharp sneeze that sounds almost like a wet cough.
  • Lethargy and hunching, if an infection really takes hold of your hens they can become very still, unmotivated and lethargic, this can cause them to stop eating and drinking. This is a bad sign, it means the infection has really taken hold and you may struggle to bring the birds back to health.

How to treat Mycoplasma?

Prevention is key.

Keeping your bird’s immune system strong is one of the best ways to keep a mycoplasma infection under control, using our Pipinchick multi vitamin daily will really help boost a weak immune system, our multi vitamin has been created with extra B12 vitamin which is essential for a well-functioning immune system and good brain cognitive function. The stronger they are the better they will fight an infection.

Buy birds that have had a mycoplasma vaccine, this is a live vaccine that we give all our hens, it is not a 100% vaccine but works much as a flu jab. This will mean your hens will already have a stronger immunity to the Mycoplasma bacteria.

Keep a clean environment, make sure you regularly clean and disinfect your coop using our Virkon 1 dose sachets and Poultry Cleaners. Ensure your litter is freshened every 2-3 weeks and don’t let poo and muck build up in your run or coop.

Effective Treatment.

The most common and effective treatment for Mycoplasma is an antibiotic called Tylan, you can buy this online mainly for pigeons but works very well for chickens as well or you will need to contact your local vet and as if they can supply you with some.

Tylan is a water-soluble antibiotic and a normal course would run for 7-10 days. Once your bird is on Tylan you should see improvement within 3 days, it is advisable to treat the entire flock.

If you birds have stopped eating or drinking it is important to get them back up and taking in nutrients, you can do this by syringing them some Tylan and vitamin water and use Nettex Nutri Boost, this is a great short-term solution to aid a lethargic chicken, the drops give the bird a boost of energy which encourages them to start eating and drinking by themselves.