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Chicken gaping, watery poos

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody.. i've been checking these threads for years and have finally decided to join!


I've had 7 chickens over the years all up, lost them all to various things (eaten cooper wire, gapeworm, rehoming rooster and his favourite chock..) now my 7th is feeling unwell.. she's had watery poos for the past 2-3 days. It has been hot, like 95 degrees and i put it down to the heat. The gaping mouth too!


She's eating well and drinking, but she does feel kinda skinny.. I brought her inside this afternoon in a box, in the air-conditioning. gave her scrambled eggs, bread soaked in oil and yoghurt (in case something is stuck and she needs lube).. she's been eating happily. But, although her couple of poos in the box are not firm, they are a lot less watery. However, she is gaping ALL the time now. she also looks a bit more listless, her tail is drooping, her wings are a bit droopy too.. maybe coz she's in a box??


I don't know what to do with her, i feel kinda heart broken.


I should mention, about 4 weeks ago i lost one chook to what we believe was gapeworm and this one (Lucy) was very unwell too - i took her to the vet who gave her antibiotics and a wormer.. and she recovered so beautifully, it was a little miracle. But now she's unwell again and sort of similar with the gaping mouth again, i don't know what it could be. she free ranges and is quite independent, so she definitely gets around the yard and may be eating snails and who knows what else. i did catch her eating my dogs poo once, before i had a chance to scoop it up in the morning!! :(


i want Lucy to get better like she did last time... i don't know if it's worth going to the vet again.. it's so expensive here in Australia.. cost me $200 last time.


any advice would be so appreciated..


thank you all

post #2 of 14

Welcome to BYC. How old is your hen? I will have hens who gape and hold their wings out away from their bodies when it is hot like that here. They tend to drink a lot more water and as a result, can have watery droppings. Do you have any agricultural stores that sell horse, goat, or cattle wormers? Gapeworm is pretty rare, but it is more common in tropical areas where chickens eat roaches or other critters that harbor the worms. Fenbendazole, albendazole, and levamisole are some of the ones that can treat gapes. Maybe you can purchase one from the vet without an office visit. Keep on giving some plain yogurt for probiotics, but skip the oil. 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi Eggcessive


Thank you for your post. But what concerns me is she has her beak open all the time.. i'd feel foolish if she was just trying to keep cool and i've locked her in a box.. ha! but very happy of course that she's ok. this morning her crop didn't seem to have digested.. I"ll have a look at an agricultural store for some gapeworm treatment. the vet didn't want to sell me the fenbendozale without seeing me, the fbd was only $17! i will give her yoghurt! we do live in a tropical part of australia and she probably does it roaches too.. the thing is we never saw any worms in her throat. 

post #4 of 14
As said gape worm is rare, not saying it's not gape worm but very similar 'gaping' symptoms appear when there is a bacterial chest/lung infection, even more likely a bacterial infection if you see any facial swelling, running nose or watery eyes... An antibiotic treatment would be advisable for a bacterial infection...
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your advice MeepBeep.. as mentioned, she gapes even when she's inside with the aircon on and it's not hot. so i think i can definitely rule the heat out? could an impacted crop be causing gaping? i am considering taking her to the vet after all.. i don't like the idea of giving her antibiotics again, what causes bacterial infections for them? 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

One more thing, she's unhappy about being in the box and she's doing this very croaky complaining sound.. her voice is croaky - so that could be another 'symptom'.. her poos are still quite liquid.. they're like diarrhoea rather than just water though.


she's very alert and she just laid an egg

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

another question.. could it be, if it is heat exhaustion, that she will continue to 'pant' and rapid breathe even when she's in aircon.. for up to, say a day?? i've made up some electrolyte solution for her to drink.. sorry i just don't want to leave anything important out!

post #8 of 14

The croakiness in her voice along with gaping could point to a respiratory infection, which can be viral, bacterial, or fungal in origin. Antibiotics  would only treat bacterial infections, and in a lot of countries are almost impossible to obtain for chickens. I would continue to watch her since she seems to be handling it okay. Viral diseases will eventually run their course. Fungal diseases such as aspergillosis from mold can cause gasping, rapid breathing, and increased thirst. To prevent this, avoid wet areas in the coop where mold can form.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

thank you, this advice is fantastic.. and isn't that just the thing, even medical general doctors prescribe us antibiotics for everything and anything, when in fact ,if it's a virus it will not make a difference - but it does seriously affect our bodies. vet told me strictly that we can't eat Lucy's eggs for 6 weeks!! that's how long they stay in the system.. and she convinced me to give her gapeworm, because i was going to treat her with fenbendanzole.. 


i've still got her in the box, but i've had her run outside when it got cooler in the afternoon.. she did 3 solid poops.. she's looking well overall--- BUT i saw her for the first time ever, about five times, do that thing with open beak and then lift her head and neck upwards.. i had alarm bells going off, but she hasn't done it since and she really seems quite ok, don't know what to make of it :( 

post #10 of 14

Hopefully, she was just adjusting her crop. Thank you for the update, and I hope she soon gets better.

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