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Out of breath rooster

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone

I have a rooster who seems to have breathing problems. The problem has been going on for almost a month now. First he lost his crow and seemed to breathe with his beak open. His breath smelt a bit odd too ....I thought maybe it was crop related....

Now his crow is back but he seems to get out of breath and sound like he is struggling to breathe.....when he is standing still he is fine

It seems to get worse when the weather is cooler

other than the weird breathing he is fine......seems happy scratching with his hens

None of the other chickens are sick so I am guessing its not contagious ?


I have no idea what is wrong with him .....I have been thinking maybe he inhaled something that has done damage to his lungs or that he has a cold of some sort ?

post #2 of 9

It's possible that he could aspergillosis, an infection from mold that can cause fungal disease throughout the body, and silent gasping. Or he may have one of the other respiratory diseases from bacteria or viruses, such as MG or others. I would look inside his beak and throat with a flashlight for any yellow or grey patches that shouldn't be there. Also look for a foreign body. How is his crop now? Is it emptying by early morning, and is he eating and drinking? Does he have any nasal or eye drainage, or rattly breathing? Some worms can affect breathing, so I would worm him with fenbendazole (Safeguard Liquid Goat Wormer or Panacur) 1/4 cc or ml per pound for 5 straight days. That would be 2ml for an 8lb rooster, and would treat capillary worms or gapeworm.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply! :)

I will look inside his beak and down his throat when I get home and see what I can find

His crop appears to be normal but I will keep an eye on it and yes he is eating and drinking normally

I have noticed a slight runny nose a few days ago but that seems to have cleared up ....also his comb seems like it may have a very slight purple colour to it at times

I will worm him and will give the rest of the flock a treatment too just to be safe

they have never been treated for there a rule to how often they should be treated?

We have had a bit of a problem with rats getting into the coop lately also.....I don't know if they carry any diseases transferrable to chickens ?

post #4 of 9
Rats can carry certain diseases such as fowl cholera and salmonella I believe. You may not find fenbendazole in Australia, but levamisole and Wormout Gel might be found. If you can get an antibiotic such as tylosin or oxytetracycline, they might be helpful in treating his respiratory problem.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Eggcessive :)


I am yet to get the wormer for the chickens but am planning on getting it within the next few days

I had a look down the rooster throat yesterday and noticed some lumps...I wasn't sure if it was food stuck to his throat or what

I have a feeling he may had aspergillosis which can cause lesions in the trachea and other areas....I have heard there is no treatment for this but I may take him to a vet for a professional opinion

Does anyone know if he needs to isolated from  rest f the flock ? none of the others have become ill in any way including the young pullets that were introduced a month ago which has led me to believe that it is a non-contagious disease such as aspergillosis


The coop I keep them in  is getting a bit run down so I think I will give the coop a bit of an upgrade and a good clean .....It has been quite dusty and this could have caused the problems with my rooster....

post #6 of 9

There are some different diseases that can cause lesions in the throat, crop, esophagus, and trachea. Wet or diphtheretic pox and canker (histomoniasis) can cause yellow lesions in those places. Canker can also be on the beak. Pox is a virus which antibiotics won't treat, but canker is treated with metronidazole (Flagyl, Fish Zole.) I think a vet would be a good idea. Let us know what happens.


Wet Pox     HCD-Digestive-Problems-4-Small.jpg

Wet Pox lesions in trachea                                                                                            Canker

Edited by Eggcessive - 2/23/16 at 6:30am
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all


I thought I would give an update on the rooster


He seemed to be making a recovery but went down hill again unfortunately :(

I thought he may have gape worm or may be immunocompromised due a worm/lice infestation

I checked through his feathers and sure enough there were lice

I have treated him and the rest of the flock for lice, mites and worms now


He still seems very unwell and worse than the first time he started to get sick

He makes a gasping noise when he breathes and extends his neck in a weird way, he sounds very congested

he also seems to be turning purple in the face and has lost a lot of condition

He is still eating and drinking which is a positive


The rest of the flock have shown no signs of illness and are all very healthy, apart for one hen having a minor prolapse which I don't think would be linked to any of this

It has been going on for a while so I assume it must not be contagious unless it is asymptomatic in the others

A friend came over a few days ago and said she has a few chickens that had the same problem with the same symptoms and she treated them with a antibiotic powder in the water apparently (she got this from a vet)


I will separate the rooster from the flock and treat him with this

post #8 of 9
It wouldn't hurt to treat him with tylosin, oxytetracycline, or tiamulin if you can get one of those locally. Do you have to get antibiotics from a vet in Australia? Respiratory diseases can be chronic, and come back whenever a chicken is stressed. You can always treat him for gape worm with levamisole or fenbendazole, but they must be given on several consecutive days.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all you help eggcessive :)

I had him on a broad spectrum antibiotic the past week and had him separate from the flock for the past two days

Unfortunately he passed away yesterday afternoon :(

I feel so terrible ...I wish I could have done more to help him


The rest of the flock have shown known signs of illness, so I think he may have had aspergillosis and potentially got pneumonia secondarily

The problem went on for almost two months so I would think the others would be unwell by now

I have now been working on making the chook coop as clean as possible to prevent aspergillosis and I thinking of changing the bedding to a less dusty one

Any ideas on what the best bedding to use is? I currently use a pea straw but I think it may be too dusty

I have also concreted the coop floors to keep the rats out and am planning on waterproofing the cages also

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