Infectious bronchitis (IB) is considered the most the most contagious viral respiratory disease among chickens around the world and is caused by an avian coronavirus. The virus causes respiratory distress to chickens usually in winter or colder months. The mortality rate is low in uncomplicated cases but can reach 60 percent for complicated ones.
Birds are usually infected through direct contact and fluids of the infected ones such as saliva, eye and nasal secretions, and feces. Symptoms also include sneezing, coughing, and sinuses. This disease also affects young and adult birds. The severity of the disease mainly depends on the chicken’s age, diet, and immune system.
For infected egg-laying hens, egg production may drop to up to 70 percent. It can also affect the quality of eggs and may result in thin, wrinkled eggshells. Once treated, it may take up to 8 weeks before the egg production will be back to normal. Nevertheless, severe damage to oviducts can also cause hens to stop laying eggs.
How To Prevent or Cure Infectious Bronchitis in Chickens
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment yet for infectious bronchitis. However, giving antibiotics for 2 to 3 days can help prevent any secondary bacterial infections. For broody hens, raising the room temperature 5°F will help a lot in driving the symptoms go away. For prevention and control, sunlight and disinfectants are effective in killing the virus. Nevertheless, biosecurity is seen as the most effective technique.